Sony has a secret weapon for making PS5. A production plant where the protagonists are not games or even humans, but a series of intelligent robots that currently complete the assembly of a PS4 in just 30 seconds in an almost fully automated way.
The PlayStation brand It has added hundreds of millions of followers worldwide since the original console’s launch in 1994, but few of them know how much of the console’s success can be attributed to a large white building towering above a suburban landscape on the outskirts. from Kisarazu across the bay from Tokyo. Nikkei Asia Review He has had the opportunity to visit it and it is key to the ambitions of the Japanese firm in video games because it will be where the PS5, its new generation of consoles, is manufactured.
The Kisarazu plant is operated by Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations, or SGMO, the group’s manufacturing arm. The department has been working with Sony Interactive Entertainment video game unit to bring state-of-the-art technologies to the facility. The last update was completed in 2018 and the main area is a 31 meter assembly line where 32 robots supplied by Mitsubishi Electric work.
The work is done exclusively by those robots, completing the assembly of a PS4 in just 30 seconds. It only takes four additional humans, two to feed the line to motherboards and two others to package the consoles once finished.
One of the most important achievements of the plant is the use of robots to bond cables, tapes and other flexible parts of the consoles. 26 of the 32 robots at the Kisarazu plant are dedicated to that task. And it is not easy. For example, to connect the flexible flat cable, a ribbon-shaped electrical cable, you need a robot arm to hold the cable and another to twist it. After, The cable must be connected in a specific direction using the proper pressure.
The task may seem simple to a human being, but it’s an extremely complex maneuver for a robot. “There is probably no other place where robots handle flexible parts in this way,” explains one of the plant managers. “The combination of robotic and human workforce is painstakingly optimized with a return on investment priority”.
It is known that when a console nears the end of its marketing time and when a new generation is on the launch pad, the model will inevitably fall victim to declining sales and heightened price competition. A good way to maintain profitability is to perform constant improvements in the production line.
The PlayStation 4, released in November 2013, has sold more than 100 million units so far and has led – by far – sales of the current generation of consoles. Sony aims to repeat successes with the next one. The manufacture of PS5 is about to begin, it will be carried out in this factory and from what they say in the visit Sony has perfectly controlled the production section.
And it is key next to the sale price or the quantity of exclusive games (and its expected high cost) that Sony can offer at a time when the future of the video game industry seems to focus on digital, cloud gaming and / or streaming, with less relevance for the machines themselves. run the games.
The same challenge awaits the competition. An Xbox Series X from Microsoft that promises similar power and price and also a number of exclusive ones. In this regard, yesterday information came to light that talks about Microsoft conversations with AT&T to buy WB Games Studios and get a good number of studios and franchises:
- Avalanche Software
- Monolith Productions
- NetherRealm Studios
- Rocksteady Studios
- TT Games and five subsidiaries
- WB Games Boston; Montreal; New York; San Diego; San Francisco
In any case, Microsoft will not have it easy. Analysts have positioned themselves in favor of PS5, with a sales forecast that will double the Xbox Series X. They are initial reports and may not be fulfilled. Simply after seeing the final pricing for the two consoles as it happened at the launch of PS4 and Xbox One.