Sony is “aggressively getting into mobile gaming”, CEO Kazuo Hirai said, adding that “it’s quite a shift from being just a console-based business to being on mobile phones as well”.
According to the Financial Times, on the sidelines of IFA 2016 in Berlin, Hirai said “we’ve created a wholly-owned subsidiary that’s completely dedicated to mobile gaming. They’ll be coming out with titles.”
He was referring to ForwardWorks, which was launched in March but which has yet to release any games.
He described augmented reality (AR) game Pokemon Go as a “real game-changer” with the potential “to really change the way people move, literally”, and said AR is a “great innovative idea that’s going to lift all boats for the video game industry”.
He added that he wants to add AR capabilities to Sony’s games.
The FT report quoted analyst Steve Bailey from IHS as saying that “Sony and Nintendo own their platforms and want to retain control and make as much money as possible from them. But the landscape has now changed considerably. The threat from mobile is so big, they can no longer ignore it”.
ForwardWorks launched with the intention of leveraging the intellectual property of PlayStation games and characters as well as its “knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise” to create apps “optimised for smart devices including smartphones”.
With the PlayStation VR headset ready to roll out next month, Hirai said “VR launches us into a new realm that promises limitless possibilities, starting with games but expanding soon across our entire Sony group”.
Meanwhile, AR on Pokemon Go has left gamers wanting similar mobile apps that enable interaction with characters in real life situations, according to a new study.