Reaching fans across more devices
In 1993, Sony Group founded Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., which was later renamed Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), to handle its video game business. SIE oversees the planning, development, and sales of PlayStation products. The PlayStation brand leads the gaming industry, recording top sales worldwide for home gaming devices from 2013 to 2014.
SIE began operating under the name Sony Interactive Entertainment in April 2016, when Sony Computer Entertainment combined with Sony Network Entertainment International. At this time, SIE reorganized to better handle the global nature of its business. Headquarters were transferred to the United States, with Japan focusing on development and manufacturing, and Europe focusing on core marketing operations.
SIE is constantly pushing the envelope to find new ways to entertain customers. Since the first PlayStation device went on sale in 1994, SIE has developed several generations of its home gaming device through PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. SIE also helped customers enjoy games outside of the home with the mobile gaming devices PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita. In October 2016, SIE started bringing virtual reality to customers through PlayStation VR.
According Takehiro Akiba from Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia (SIEJA), as gaming devices and technologies continue to evolve, the ways that consumers enjoy games also change.
“Previously, most people would buy a game and simply play it until they reached the end,” says Akiba. “But now, people can play online with other players and download more content, so people have more ways to enjoy their games. We’re no longer just providing hardware and software. We need to clearly communicate to customers the many ways to play games through network services.”
SIEJA delivers many types of information through its website, email newsletters, and mobile apps. But the most important way for SIEJA to share information is through the PlayStation official website. New games are constantly released, and to keep customers up to date on the latest releases and provide information before other outlets, the PlayStation official website needed to be updated frequently. But that was not always easy.
First, SIEJA found itself needing to update the website for a growing number of devices. Starting with the PlayStation 3 in 2006, customers can access websites directly through their gaming devices. The number of visitors from gaming devices surged in 2011 after the release of the PlayStation Vita. To handle more devices, SIEJA developed an original content management system and created separate websites for desktop computers and gaming devices. In recent years, the number of visitors from smartphones and tablets has also exploded.
“Previously, we just had to check whether websites were displaying properly on computer and PlayStation browsers,” says Akiba. “But now we have to check all models of mobile devices as well. This process takes a lot of time and effort. It also increased the burden on content management, and it makes it harder to deliver updates in a timely manner.”
Another issue arose around the website’s organization. Under the previous content management system, adding a new section required help from outside developers. Therefore, even the smallest changes could take at least a month, and a full-scale site redesign could take close to a year. There was no easy way to quickly apply customer and industry trends to the website. SIEJA decided that it needed to change processes to keep customer satisfaction and website appeal high.