Soeda San

Sony released its PlayStation4 (simplified Chinese version) in Shanghai on 21 March. This gentleman— Takehito Soeda (添田武人) caught my attention. He is the Vice President of China Business Strategy department of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia. As a Japanese, he speaks very fluent Beijing-style mandarin and seems to be very confident dealing with Chinese media in this interview and many others.

According to this report from WPDang based on Global Manager. Soeda san has lived in Beijing since he was a child, and holds a B.A in Literature from Peking University. He also completed an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management as an “aged senior student”, which makes his education background more “global”. He has worked in companies like DELL, AT Kearney, Baidu Japan and is apparently experienced with cross-cultural marketing and management.

A quote from him: “When you communicate with someone, you should approach the topic on the same level and from the same perspective as the person, and also communicate in a way that can be understood by the person.”

Given that there are only 13 games available on PS4 for mainland Chinese users. Soeda san seems have done a good job in keeping the release of this new device a hot topic among the Chinese game players. Seen on various Chinese social media, he actively interacts with his team at Sony Entertainment China, as well as PlayStation users online. He has a nick name “Uncle Wu ten er”(五仁儿叔) and his fans has recently discovered that he was a special guest actor in Feng Xiaogang’s 2001 movie Big Shot’s Funeral.

Here are some screenshots of the film. Soeda san’s name can be seen on the cast list (top). He plays a Japanese film producer in this movie (bottom, man with glasses).

Takehito_1Takehito_2
Images: http://www.weibo.com/a9vg#_rnd1427109341244

I think this kind of “celebrity strategy” works well for Sony PlayStation in China. Soeda san represents a very friendly, competent, and unharmful Japanese senior businessman figure, which easily surpasses many political awkwardness and subsequently shortens the distance between the developer and its targeted consumers in China.

Maybe Sony Film should be considering applying the same strategy when they would like to expand its market in North Korea one day.

Tokyo SOWN 2009

My friend was invited to attend this event called “Sense of Wonder Night” (SOWN). This event was a part of 2009 Tokyo Game Show, and she described it as “amazing and inspiring”. Personally I’m not a fan of video games, but I went to check the website of this event and found it pretty interesting.

Basically, “Sense of Wonder Night” was started in 2008, according to its official website, it aims to

  • To introduce games with a game design and ideas that are experimental and creative, and that cannot be called conventional or traditional
  • To heighten awareness of the importance of creating a game that gives people a “sense of wonder”, a sense that something will change in their world, and to invigorate the game industry
  • To offer people creating experimental games opportunities for the future
  • To create new domains in the game industry

Having watched some presentations regarding the video games that won awards in SOWN, I think this event is a very good chance for people to dig what is behind the production of innovative video games, and gain an idea of the game developers’ brainstorming process. Not only did this event reveal these production concepts embedded in these awesome video games to the audience, it also brought the discussion to the next level by exploring the possible potential of these concepts in shaping people’s thoughts and perceptions within many other cultural areas such as architectural, music, advertising industries.

Here is a game titled Hazard — The Journey Of Life  developed by Alexander Bruce from Australia.
Check out the presentation of this game:

& the Trailor of the game: