SONY Acquires Beyond Sport as it Plans a Tilt to Metaverse Technology
The Japanese giant has declared its interest in maximizing the potential of the metaverse in business and the acquisition is a strong statement of intent.
The business side of metaverse technology is buzzing with new entrants, even as several leading brands jostle to grab a significant market share in the field. This comes as entertainment and technology giant Sony completed a full acquisition of Beyond Sports. As the global company looks to dominate in sports as it does in movies, music, and games, which are core aspects of its entertainment business, making strategic investments towards a homegrown virtual reality builder is a great idea.
Sony announced that it recently acquired all outstanding shares of Dutch startup Beyond Sports, which uses three-dimensional animation to generate content using football match data or footage. Reports suggest that Sony sealed the deal for a figure between ¥5 billion to ¥10 billion, putting the value between $35.36 million to $70.72 million.
The purchase was finalized by the famous Hawk-Eye Innovations, a company based in the UK that develops camera systems to track ball movements at sporting events. An earlier acquisition in 2011 brought Hawk-Eye Innovations into the Sony family. The move was wise, seeing how the UK company has become invaluable in the sports industry.
Hawk-Eye’s technology has become invaluable to the sports world. Across over 20,000 sports games, events, and matches yearly, Hawk-Eye camera systems stand tall, with influence in over ninety countries. Already, its technology has replaced line judges at tennis matches and is used to analyze pitches and batted balls in baseball.
While the Hawk-Eye innovations are legendary, they have certain limitations when producing 3D-animated video content with multi-view support. This explains the rationale behind Sony’s Beyond Sports purchase, with the startup offering a powerful technology to create 3D-animated content out of incomplete match data. Already, it has been used to great success in the NFL and NHL.
With an entire group of sport technology companies under its umbrella, Sony looks to be building a virtual sports platform. Hawk-Eye cameras will supply game data, Beyond Sports 3D content creator will turn the data into immersive, animated content, and Pulselive, another company in Sony’s sports technology division, will take the content live on its websites. Thus, Sony will start building a Metaverse-based sports platform.
Sony has not shied away from investing in the Metaverse in recent years. In 2021, the company teamed up with Premier League champions Manchester City FC in an experiment to recreate the club’s stadium and players in the Metaverse. Now, it looks to build a sports metaverse world by mirroring data from real sporting events and recreating them in a virtual environment.
According to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, the Metaverse is a live space where people can share time and space, and entertainment is meaningless when it is not live. The emphasis on live sports in a virtual environment explains the rationale behind its latest acquisition. If the project is successful, Sony will have created a new source of entertainment revenue by leveraging fan enthusiasm and the role of the metaverse in delivering live, realistic experiences, even in sports.