Geek Out

Gizmodo Australia Goes Inside Sony's Secretive Tokyo Product Centre

Sony’s Tokyo HQ houses a floor that’s just for product demos. Very cool product demos. For their own strange reasons, Sony’s happy for me to write about it — but wouldn’t let me take photos, or even tell you what they name it.

Sony’s Tokyo headquarters is where all the serious Sony work gets done, but what do you do once you’ve done the serious work, built the products and need somewhere to demonstrate them? You build a custom floor purely for demonstrating your cool new technology.

When you’re Sony, that also includes music, video, security applications and movies. Yesterday, the veil was lifted, and I got a guided tour through Sony’s best and brightest. I’d love to show you it. But I can’t. Sony insisted no cameras could be brought along. None at all. In fact, the veil of secrecy goes as far as this; I can mention that the floor exists. I can talk about what’s on it. But I can’t tell you the name that Sony gives it internally, even though they’ve given me a group photo with the name logo heavily embossed upon it. The official reason is that it’s not open to the public at all, and they don’t want folks turning up requesting a tour. I think it’s safe for me to say that they’ve spent a lot of money on branding this area that almost nobody will ever see. Truly weird.

So what did I see with my eyes that I can’t take photos or video of? As I walk in, I’m pretty much assaulted by a 19m-long display screen — technically four panels together — that houses a rear projection 4K display. That’s image quality that more or less tears your eyes off. It’s blindingly good. It makes me weep that I’ll never be able to afford to replace the walls of my house with such a thing.

Sony showed off 4K 3D projectors — including the trailer for The Amazing Spiderman, which looks OK, although 3D in this case still makes me want to toss my sushi up — in a custom-built cinema space. There’s demos of Sony’s contactless FeliCa system — used in this robot and this remote control for access to a virtual sports stadium and security room. A demonstration of filming 3D sports, which marks the very first time that 3D hasn’t made my head spin — although the camera was fixed with no panning, which may well have made a significant difference.

Not everything is brand new; I also got to see Owen Hoogvliet of the Sony (X) Australia fan group demolish a virtual ping-pong opponent in PS3 Move Sports Champions. The exploded, clear body Playstation 3 just nearby was nice to look at. As was the room filled to the brim with props from the Spider-Man movies. Can you say you’ve touched one of the Daily Bugle front pages from Spider-Man 2? I can.

It’s frustrating and odd; Sony’s got a lot of good technology to display, and it’s damn annoying that I can’t really illustrate it for you.

second image: SMJPP
Alex Kidman travelled to Tokyo as a guest of Sony