Q&A: Sony Mobile Category Head Natalia Degtyareva on redefining mobile gaming

Mobile Marketing Magazine interviews Natalia Degtyareva, Sony’s Mobile Category Head, to explore the innovative features Sony brings to mobile gaming, how the brand leverages social media to boost brand awareness and the strategies employed to keep users engaged with their devices.

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With the increased popularity of mobile gaming, how does Sony plan to capitalise on this trend,  and what unique features does it offer to enhance the mobile gaming experience? 

“At Sony, we recognise the importance of multi-functional mobile devices, and we know that gaming is a function that is becoming ever-present in consumer needs. As such, Sony tends to this with exceptional features for gaming experiences implemented into various models of our Xperia mobile phones.  

“In May this year, Sony launched two new Xperia phones. The Xperia 1 VI and the Xperia 10 VI. The Xperia 1 VI combines functions to ensure the ultimate gaming experience on the go. In this device,  Sony uses Qualcomm’s ultra-intelligent Snapdragon® 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform to unleash a new era of possibilities. This powerful processor enhances the Xperia 1 VI’s AI capabilities, offering unrivalled camera, audio, gaming, and display performance.  

“The new Game Enhancer:FPS Optimiserfeature, which dynamically optimises CPU usage and frame rate based on the gaming environment.

“Touch input has been refined, offering three tracking speeds and two levels of tap accuracy, ensuring an unparalleled gaming experience for gameplay and live streaming where the swiftest of reactions are a must. Snapdragon® 8 Gen3 Mobile and its Snapdragon Elite Gaming supports fast and smooth gameplay and video viewing.  

“The new Xperia phones are optimised for gaming, with long-lasting battery and efficient performance meaning users can game longer. The Xperia 1 VI has an impressive speaker, which has undergone significant enhancements. Through the reduction of distortion at high volumes and optimisation of low-frequency output, there’s been a marked increase in the sound pressure level, which heightens sounds such as footsteps or gunshots so you can hear your opponent’s coming and react before they do, and our line-up is gamer-ready.”

How has Sony observed changes in consumer behaviour regarding mobile content consumption, and how does the brand cater to these evolving habits? 

“Sony has evolved our Xperia range to fit current mobile content consumption as we know screen quality is important to watching content, across a range of multimedia app options. As such we have optimised screen display and offer a wealth of options of apps to watch content via each Xperia device. 

“Entertainment is pushed to the next level with Xperia™ 1 VI’s display being enhanced using AI image adjustment technologyPowered by BRAVIA®that reproduces the image quality of Sony’s TV BRAVIA on its display, whilst the speakers have been upgraded for superior quality. 

“For ease of watching in bright conditions, the new display is 1.5 times brighter than the previous model.

“Furthermore, the new Sunlight Vision delivers improved visibility in outdoor environments, not only brightening the image but also performing AI image processing to prevent overexposed highlights by analysing the frames and the environmental brightness in real time. 

“Our previous generation devices were focused on giving consumers the best cinema view experience with a 21:9 screen aspect ratio. Based on consumer viewing trends, our new Xperia 1 VI features a 19.5:9  screen aspect ratio for the best entertainment experience when viewing social media content posted with a 16:9 aspect ratio.”

With users seamlessly transitioning between various devices, how does Sony ensure a cohesive and integrated marketing experience across its mobile devices and other Sony products? 

“As a business, our ethos isOne Sonyand therefore we ensure a cohesive and integrated marketing experience. That might be customers who already own Sony’s headphones and consider  purchasing an Xperia to enjoy a similar Sony experience.

“When customers purchase and register their new Sony product at My Sony they will receive CRM with information about new Sony products and offers across the consumer electronics range.”

What unique selling points does Sony focus on in its marketing strategies to stand out among competitors? 

“Sony is consistently evolving, learning, and growing as a business, as we embrace both local and global marketing activations. We know that we have strong credentials in providing premium camera quality to smartphone users, and this is an area we have proven to excel in. As such, we use our work with content creators to shine a light on the pure device capabilities. 

“In terms of wider marketing activations, the Sony business launched global campaigns last year with exciting ambassadors in the audio category.For the Musicis a new audio brand platform which launched with music artist, Miguel.  

“Sony also recently partnered with international star Olivia Rodrigo to release a limited-edition Olivia  Rodrigo x LinkBuds S, which includes two custom EQ modes that are optimised for each of Rodrigo’s albums, Sour and Guts.”

Are there any notable collaborations or partnerships in the pipeline for Sony, especially those aimed at enhancing the mobile marketing industry? 

“Xperia 1 VI is the official partner of Call of Duty Warzone, and the game is pre-loaded on the device. 

“To highlight the innovations of the recently launched Xperia 1 VI, Sony collaborated with professional photographer, Oscar Lindsey (@thevisuallife), who tested the Xperia 1 VI’s telephoto zoom lens around the city of London and showcased the phone’s portrait capabilities on his Instagram by taking photos of a model in front of iconic London sites.”

How does Sony leverage platforms like Instagram, and TikTok, to connect with its audience and drive brand awareness? 

“At Sony, we work with several photography-based content creators who curate content for their social channels using our devices. We ensure that TikTok and Instagram are utilised to showcase the best of our devices, along with partnering with culturally relevant talent, and Sony products to drive brand awareness.  

“We also utilise the Sony UK social channels to create collaborations with key retail partners to promote new launches as well as promotional activity. Recent campaigns have seen us partner with various contemporary influencers to grow product awareness, and result in powerful content.”

What strategies or features does Sony employ to keep users actively using their devices? 

“We listen to consumer feedback, such as retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack, which users appreciate. Our Xperia phones feature the BRAVIA CORE or SONY PICTURES CORE apps, offering the latest releases and classics in 4K HDR and IMAX® Enhanced formats.

“The Xperia 1 VI includes pre-installed games like Call of Duty Warzone, with optimized CPU usage and touch input for an unparalleled gaming experience. Additionally, the device’s packaging is environmentally friendly, using materials like Sony’s Original Blended Material and recycled resins.”

With growing concerns about data privacy, how does Sony address these issues in its marketing messages, assuring users of a secure and private mobile experience? 

“We comply with all legal requirements to ensure that all customer data is protected and work with reliable partners who also comply with all legal requirements.”

Can Sony provide insights into its future roadmap for the brand in terms of mobile technology, marketing initiatives, and potential areas of expansion or innovation? 

“We are incredibly excited about what Sony has in store for 2024 and continue to look for new and interesting ways to promote Sony technology.”