With one eye on Nintendo’s successful move into mobile gaming and its then-popular Miitomo app, Sony announced back in March that it was forming a new business unit dedicated solely to making mobile titles based on PlayStation games and IPs. Now, following the almost worldwide success of Pokémon Go, company boss Kaz Hirai has spoken about Sony's smartphone plans.
In an interview with the Financial Times at Berlin’s IFA event, Hirai said: "[Mobile gaming] is something we are aggressively getting into.” He cited the Niantic title directly, adding: “It's quite a shift from being just a console-based business to being on mobile phones as well. Pokémon Go is a real game-changer. I'm very interested in the fact that it has the potential to really change the way people move, literally."
The augmented reality element in Pokémon Go has always been its main draw, and it's an area that Hirai wants Sony to explore in the mobile titles from ForwardWorks Corporation, which has yet to release a game since its inception. The CEO called AR a "great innovative idea that's going to lift all boats for the video game industry."
The ForwardWorks games are planned for release only in Japan and Asia but, like Miitomo, they’re likely to expand across the globe if they prove successful in these launch regions.
The number of daily Pokémon Go players may now be declining, but the game has brought in an estimated $440 million since launching in July. According to app analysis firm SensorTower, the title has been more financially successful than summer movies such as Warcraft, Independence Day, and Star Trek Beyond – it’s no surprise that Sony wants in on the action.