Sony is creating a new company called ForwardWorks which will deliver its PlayStation games to smartphones, allowing the company to gain a footing in mobile gaming market.
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), which will be known as Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) come 1 April, announced that ForwardWorks will produce “full-fledged game titles” for its PlayStation IP’s and characters.
According to reports in Verge, the new company’s focus will be on Japan and the rest of Asia which is unsurprising given the popularity of handheld gaming in the region, which far outweighs its western markets.
Atsushi Morita, the head of SCE in Japan and Asia, will be president of the new unit, while the incoming boss of SIE overall, Andrew House, will be a member of the board.
The announcement follows on from similar moves made by Nintendo, which has long dominated the handheld gaming market, into investing in mobile platforms in order to monetise its brand outside of consoles.
On the face of it ForwardWorks looks to be a more in-depth effort to gaining a foothold in smartphone gaming than Nintendo's given the promise of “full-fledged game titles” although little is known as to what this incorporates.
Nintendo’s Miitomo smartphone app has taken a more social approach, utilising the avatars that operate on the Nintendo handheld and console systems. The company has promised games will soon follow however indications suggest these will be smaller experiences intended to drive players to its own dedicated handheld devices and consoles.
The creation of ForwardWorks hints that Sony is giving up on supporting and developing its own dedicated handheld gaming devices such as the PlayStation Vita which looks increasingly unlikely to have a successor. The dominance of mobile gaming has unquestionably hurt Sony handheld and earlier attempts such as its PlayStation Mobile initiative, have failed in their attempts to bridge the gap with the Vita so ForwardWorks looks to be a more serious investment form the brand.