Announced last week at CES 2023, Sony and Honda’s new smart car prototype seems to be taking a page from Elon Musk’s Tesla, letting folks boot up PlayStation 4 and 5 games via its interior screens. But Sony may also be planning to use the car as a way to advertise shit on the outside of it while you drive around. Welcome to the future. It sucks.
The Afeela, Sony and Honda’s new smart EV (electric vehicle), is a joint venture between the two large companies designed to leverage both Sony’s advanced tech and Honda’s decades of car manufacturing. The result is a new, super-fancy, and technology-packed prototype EV that Sony claims will be hitting the streets in a few years. And when it does, apparently, you’ll be able to use it to play PS5 games.
Now to be clear, you won’t be able to just pop a PS5 disc into the car as Afeela will utilize cloud streaming to let owners and passengers play PS5 and PS4 games on the go, provided you have a decent signal or internet connection. You’ll also be able to watch movies and TV via the various screens inside the car.
But the Afeela doesn’t just have screens on the interior. No, like a weird future episode of a Pimp My Ride reboot, the Afeela also features an exterior widescreen display. Sony call’s this the car’s “Media Bar” and says it will let owners display a variety of data including the current weather and battery level of the car. It can also be used to display different colors or images, too. Yasuhide Mizuno, CEO of Sony Honda Mobility, says with the media bar, owners can “express” themselves “by sharing various types of information to people around [the car].”
Sony also has some less cool plans for this new media bar. During its CES showcase, Sony briefly displayed an ad for Spider-Man: No Way Home on the outside screen. Not much more was said about this brief moment from the event, beyond Mizuno suggesting Sony was talking to partners about how they can create “fun and exciting” interactions using the media bar. That sounds a lot like Sony wants Afeelas to be mobile advertising billboards.
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Of course, all of this is still a few years away as Sony and Honda say the Afeela isn’t coming out until 2026. But as a tease of what to expect from future smart cars, it’s not looking good. Considering how ad-riddled smart TVs already are in 2023, I’m not looking forward to cars getting covered in screens and ads, too. I guess I’ll barely notice as I play a laggy PS5 game via the cloud in the backseat of the Afeela. Anyway, I thought the future would be cooler.