Sony has announced its intention to invest 300 billion yen ($2.13 billion) into the field of ‘extended reality’ by the end of March 2024, helping to bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds, reports Nikkei Asia. This will account for 40% of the company’s 760 billion yen ($5.5 billion) research and development budget for the year, surpassing spending on electronics and semiconductors.
The total also surpasses the 271.1 billion yen ($1.96 billion) total spent on game R&D in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
Sony has been taking more and more steps into live service games and streaming in recent years, perhaps best highlighted by the implementation of game streaming on its PlayStation Plus service. As part of this move, the company has ramped up the development of its mobile arm, making several key hires for its PlayStation Mobile division and acquiring its first mobile developer, Savage Game Studios, in 2022.
Additionally, rumours began circling earlier this year that Sony is considering an acquisition of Zynga's parent company Take-Two Interactive, potentially bringing one of the world’s most recognisable mobile developers into the fold.
Bold steps forward
The news also follows the announcement of both Backbone One - a mobile peripheral that users can connect to their phones to play PS4 and PS5 games - and Project Q, the company’s latest handheld hardware, which allows players to stream games from their PS5 consoles over WiFi.
Additionally, the company recently released the PSVR 2, highlighting its commitment to virtual reality... So, is augmented reality next?
Apple recently made waves with the announcement of the Vision Pro, a new AR headset which comes with a hefty price tag. It’s not out of the question that some of Sony's $2 billion research and development budget will go towards an AR headset of its own. After all, with the company putting such a strong emphasis on growing its mobile business, bringing a version of its VR headset along for the ride is hardly out of the question.
Of course, as of right now it's Nintendo who's closer to the AR gaming crown thanks not to a headset but the mobile game Pokémon Go, which celebrated its seventh anniversary last week.
Recently, it was reported that PlayStation’s Horizon franchise will be coming to mobile devices.