Sony in its heyday released devices that were simply unlike anything else on the market. These devices defined the niche of odd concepts, and became a part of Sony’s identity.
However, in recent years, Sony has been focusing more on traditional product categories, such as Mobiles, Laptops and of course, Gaming Consoles. But now, with its laptop business sold off, and its mobile business not doing so well, Sony is looking to experiment more, and get back to being a company that is defined by its out of the box ideas.
It has already started doing so with a Bluetooth Speaker in a Bulb, and that is more Sony than anything it has released in recent years. But it is looking to make its wacky products more successful, and so it is resorting to crowdfunding.
It is launching First Flight, its own Kickstarter-esque crowdfunding platform. Right now, there are only three products: A DIY Kit and an E-Ink smartwatch ($249) and the HUIS Remote Controller. The first two already have reached their funding goals, and the FES E-Ink Smartwatch actually popped up on another crowdfunding site a few months earlier.
Like Kickstarter, the basics revolve around the campaign managers trying to persuade the public into funding their campaign by using text, images and videos, and once the funding pool matches or exceeds a pre-set goal, production begins and the funders are the first to get the devices.
Sony isn’t in it for the money. While Sony’s revenue sources may seem to be shrinking (With the exception of its Video-Game Business, of course, which still remains profitable), it still is a large company with a lot of money on its hands.
No, it resorted to crowdfunding because there’s no better publicity than a crowdfunding campaign. In fact, some companies, notably Pebble, have been launching crowdfunding campaigns solely for promoting their products, simply because it attracts more eye-balls.
Secondly, it helps gauge demand. Funding a project is essentially pre-ordering it, and Sony can now see which projects should reach the market and which ones should be dropped.
It is exclusive to Japan, however, with no news of a global launch. However, if it is successful in Japan, there is no reason for Sony to not launch the platform in other countries.
What do you think? Is it right to use Crowdfunding, which was originally meant for Startups, for promoting products made by big, well-funding companies?