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With Funimation Sony Will Help Bring Anime to a Wider Audience

first_img Finally, Ash Ketchum Is A Pokemon Master‘One Punch Man’ Get A Video Game, Probably Has More Punches Stay on target Earlier this week, Sony Pictures Television Networks announced it will purchase Funimation for $143 million. When everything is finalized, Sony will effectively hold the rights to distribute popular anime like Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, My Hero Academia, and more around the world. This move will also put Sony in direct competition with the likes of Netflix and Hulu and other streaming TV services, who also distribute anime.Sony’s purchase of Funimation may not seem like a big deal on the surface. After all, PlayStation systems (PS3 and PS4 specifically) have had the Crunchyroll anime app for years. Even the Funimation Now app has been available on PS4 since early 2017. Anime is readily available to PlayStation owners, so how does this deal benefit them? How does it help anime overall? At the moment, it doesn’t. Moving forward, however, Sony’s acquisition of Funimation will bear fruit. In fact, I believe Sony has the potential of making anime even more popular than it is because of this deal.One of the problems with Crunchyroll is that most of its anime is subtitled. I understand that a large portion of anime fans prefer to watch shows this way because they feel it is a more authentic experience. While that has some validity to it, there are a great deal of folks who get turned off anime because they’re not dubbed into English.While Funimation does have its fair share of subtitled anime (particularly shows it simulcasts directly from Japan), its true specialty is in dubbed anime. This has been the case since the company’s inception 23 years ago. Now that Sony will own Funimation, PS4 owners who log into their systems will no doubt see top-tier anime presented to them on the PlayStation Store. If they want to try out a show, they won’t immediately be met with a ton of text on the bottom of the screen. Since Funimation’s forte is dubbed anime, Sony can more easily market shows to a wider audience.Anime is arguably bigger now than it has ever been. However, it’s also a very insular and restrictive hobby. Companies that distribute anime in the West do very little to entice viewers to watch these shows. Most of the time, the anime sections of Netflix and Hulu just feel tossed in without much thought (or care). Sony can put Funimation front and center on PS4 to make it easy to find.One of Sony’s biggest weapons is its PlayStation Plus subscription service. Each month, subscribers are treated to a number of free games on PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. Why not toss some anime into the mix? Free stuff is always nice, and folks who normally wouldn’t watch anime could be convinced to try out a show since it isn’t costing them extra (outside of the PS+ subscription price). Subscribers are introduced to games they may not have otherwise played because they got them through PS+. There is no reason to believe the same couldn’t also apply to anime.This partnership will also help Funimation acquire even more of the hottest anime in Japan. Even as I write this, places like Netflix are directly making deals with Japanese studios for their shows. With Sony’s backing, Funimation has a better shot of having first dibs on programs, thus ensuring the company will continue to have the most talked about anime.There’s also another interesting side to all of this. Sony owns Aniplex, and it stands to reason the company will use Funimation to distribute anime from this production studio. The Funimation app is available on mobile devices and even on Xbox One. Sony can now promote its own content on devices outside of the PlayStation ecosystem. It’s crazy to imagine going into the Xbox store and seeing a Sony-produced show being advertised, but this is something that could potentially happen.As a fan of anime, I’m eager to see where this all goes. My hope is that Sony promotes Funimation on PS4 specifically at audiences who aren’t already anime fans. There are roughly 63 million PS4s out in the wild so the potential audience is huge. Crunchyroll and Funimation’s partnership still stands (for the moment) so PS4 owners will definitely get the best of both worlds when it comes to anime. It’s hard to say where things will go in the future, but I think this deal will help bring anime to a whole new audience.Subscribe to Funimation NowLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more