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Sony CEO says AI should not replace creatives

Kenichiro Yoshida, Chair and CEO of Sony Group gave a candid interview to Norges Investment Bank’s Nicolai Tangen, speaking openly about Sony’s approach to subscription gaming and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the creative process.

AI and game development

When asked about the role AI plays in the future of gaming and the process of development, Yoshida was starkly honest about his perspective, saying “The convergence of computing and entertainment is a mega trend and AI is also born out of computing, so we can’t get in the way of technology.”

A longstanding fear is that creatives will be washed out of the entertainment business by procedurally generated content. The looming impact of AI is yet to fully dominate the gaming industry, but it has become a massive talking point across 2024 already.

”The content that forms the basis of entertainment is creator generated and copyrighted.” Yoshida said, pulling no punches in regards to Sony’s stance on AI and creatives.

“Creator involvement is essential, so Sony positions AI as a technology that supports creators. AI should not replace them.”

”Games are computer software, it is made by programming language, LMM (Large Language Models), they will help streamline game development, allowing creators to focus more on creativity.”

Creativity and Kanjō

“Entertainment has become our purpose,” said Yoshida. “So the most important decision for us was to shift our focus to creativity, in other words, our pursuit of Kanjō.”

Kanjō is the Japanese word for emotion and is a centrepiece for the creative purpose according to the Japanese business executive.

Subscription models

When quizzed about individual Sony business lines and the future of gaming, Yoshida said “gamers will be able to find a place to play in different spaces, whilst PlayStation will remain our core product we will expand our gaming experiences to PC, mobile and cloud.”

Sony currently offers three tiers of Playstation monthly subscriptions with different layers of access to titles. Sony’s subscription has long been overshadowed by the Xbox Game Pass, which was revealed in a series of ransomware leaks in the recent Rysidia hack.

“We (Sony) currently do subscription business models, but at the same time, people usually only play one game at a time” stated Yoshida.

“It (subscription models) may not be so valuable compared to video streaming services, so we have balanced our hybrid-subscription service on Playstation Network with subscription, as well as paid-for-content.”

“Are you a gamer?”

Tangen asked the Sony executive “are you a gamer?”, to which Yoshida remarked, “ The reality is I don’t have much time to play games, but I am personally looking forward to playing Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.”

Spider-Man 2 was developed by Insomniac Games, a Sony-owned studio and in October 2023 became the highest-grossing studio-developed title for the Japanese gaming giant.

When asked his thoughts on how the link up between Microsoft-Activision will change the business landscape, Yoshida said “healthy competition is necessary for the game industry to grow and at Sony we believe it is important to provide gamers with different options to play.”

He smartly dodged the question before wrapping up the interview with some humble and deeply personal stories, which make him a rarity in the executive world.

Tangen admits, “you are one of the most curious CEOs.”

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Brian-Damien Morgan
Features Writer

Brian-Damien Morgan is an award-winning journalist and features writer. He was lucky enough to work in the print sector for many UK newspapers before embarking on a successful career as a digital broadcaster and specialist. His work has spanned the public and private media sectors of the United Kingdom for almost two decades. Since 2007, Brian has continued to add to a long list of publications and institutions, most notably as Editor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning multiple awards for his writing and digital broadcasting efforts. Brian would then go on to be integral to the Legacy 2014,…

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