Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    
Blog - User Editorial   

Chatting with a Sony Dude

On 03/31/2012 at 10:32 AM by jjindie

See More From This User »

The title for this blog series used to be Chatting with Japanese Gamers but since I haven't actually spoken to any gamers for the last month I'll just post about my latest chat with one of my students.  It's currently Spring Break here in Japan and most of the students that I usually teach aren't going to school, even for private English lessons.  But Chatting with Japanese Gamers will return...someday!

that's probably not even the factory, just the dormitory

 Mr. Tsuchiya (pronounced tsu-chee-yah!)

Sunny + sound = Sony...

...according to Mr. Tsuchiya.  He's a veteran of the Sony Tagajo R&D factory near Sendai, Japan.  He's one of the engineers in charge of developing the next generation of optical data discs, or whatever comes next after Blu-ray.  He's also had a hand in developing Sony's line of 3D televisions, which he now considers to be an abject failure.  Not just Sony's brand, but all brands.  Before attempting to pry out some secret insider info from the R&D labs at Sony, I chatted with Mr. Tsuchiya about his latest business trip to a Foxconn factory in China.

Mr. Tsuchiya says his field refers to the Foxconn plants as an EMS - an Electronics Manufacturing Service.  They're the new breed of giant, city-like gigdet and gadget makers that are redefining the problem of outsourcing  Foxconn has become the single largest private employer in China and now manufactures most of our favourite toys: iPad, iPhone, Kindle, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.  As much as we'd like to believe that Apple is an American company and Sony is a Japanese company, most of the tech they develop and perhpas create prototypes for are then manufactured and assembled entirely in China.

Mr. Tsuchiya says there are several Foxconn plants all over China, some the size of a small city or even a large one!  Each factory is entirely devoted to just one production contract with just one company.  In other words there is an X-box-town where all the 360s are made.  And, of course, an iPod-City, a Playstation-ville, the Kindleshire, and the Wii Wigwam Village.  (note: not official factory designations!)

Mr. Tsuchiya said he visited a plant just outside of Shanghai (though I can't seem to find that location listed on Wikipedia) which had an employee population of 80,000 workers.  And population is the correct word as the workers are housed in highrise dormitories within the factory complex, with full city-like services available including schools and hospitals.  Despite what some popular and perhaps inaccurate documentaries may claim, Mr. Tsuchiya says every employee is given a small, private apartment and pays a modest rent.  After twelve years of seniority with the company the apartment is then given to the worker and they no longer have to pay any rent.  This is all according to Mr. Tsuchiya and it would be rather hard to verify this kind of information.  Even the employee populations he told me about don't seem to match up with Wikipedia.  The plant Mr. Tsuchiya visited supposedly had 80,000 workers and he said the biggest had as many as 800,000 workers.  That's about the same size as the city we're both living in, Sendai!  Though, to be fair, even Wikipedia states that employee population counts vary greatly.  None of this should be taken as fact.  Just a chat.  And to be double fair, Mr. Tsuchiya said he didn't actually stay in one of these dormitory apartments, he stayed in a rather cheap yet stylish private hotel room in the city, the REAL city.

At the end of the lesson I managed to squeeze out some more future tech Nostradamusing as well as introduce him to a few of the more wilder rumours about Playstation 4.  A recent report, or tabloid, has reported the PS4, code-named 'Orbis' will be capable of processing and rendering displays in Super HD, up to 4096x2160 pixels.  Mr. Tsuchiya calls it 4k resolution but he says that Super or Ultra HD displays will only be for giant billboards or superscreens at sports stadiums or the downtown shopping arcades like Shibuya, Tokyo. 4k resolution won't really be meant for home use, at least according to Mr. Tsuchiya.


 Play! Game! - but not at home with a PS4 on this beast of a screen!

I told him all about the latin circle of life nonsense that is 'Orbis' and 'Vita' but he just kind of smirked and thought it was clever.  He's not the Playstation dude, but he is the next gen Blu-ray man, or whatever it might be called.  He's still sitting on that secret, and short of getting him drunk and making him break his confidentiality agreement, I won't be getting access to that sort of insider information.  

I'm still convinced that his current project will probably be the format that Playstation 4 uses for movies and video games, assuming there is at least one more generation of physical media in gaming consoles. Perhaps next gen or next next gen will indeed go 100% digital but we're already 100% relying on the Chinese to fill up our toy boxes with things we may or may not need.

Imagine if we outsourced all our internet services to China as well.  That would make trying to access the Playstation Network or Xbox Live a whole lotta fun!




Joaquim Mira Media Manager

03/31/2012 at 04:05 PM

You need some truth serum to pull out his secrets. I will be waiting for your next mission report, Bond.

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.

Game Collection


Friend Codes