Sony Turnaround Plan: We see 3-D as a pillar of our strategy

Sony is still working very hard to turn a profit. To do so, the company is betting on (stereo) 3D, among other things, to charge a premium, in a bid to increase its margins. This was largely visible during our recent trip to CEATEC in Japan: stereo 3D was everywhere, in TVs, but also in the PS3 graphics driver itself. With it, Sony can turn the PS3 (an Uber10) user interface and most games into “3D Stereo” games. So what’s in it for Sony? Sell more expensive TVs, for one.

It is not surprising to see Hollywood and TV makers are pushing (stereo) “3D”. While customers have sometimes been willing to pay an extra to go from 60Hz to 120HZ, I doubt that the same is true for 240Hz. Thinness is also worth only so much: when it comes down to it, customers aren’t willing to pay twice the price to get half the thickness. Instead most will patiently wait until the prices fall into the 1500-2000 range.

So, stereo 3D is seen as a savior by the industry. Hollywood has been able to squeeze some extra margins out of it – now everybody wants in. For content producers, this is a good deal. Stereo 3D content only costs a bit more to build. With content on the rise, Sony and others “hope” that end user demand will rise along with prices and margins. I say “hope” because I think that 3D won’t help the bottom-line that much. On PC, games have been working in Stereo for a while, thanks to special drivers. That didn’t turn out to be a massive success. In the living room, what if a family member doesn’t want to wear special glasses? Stereo will end up like 240Hz: it will make its way into the living room, but as a “freebie”, not as an added-value that generates big bucks.

Other initiatives like cost-cutting and operational efficiency will help Sony much more than “3D” ever will, there’s much work that needs to be done on that side.

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