Sony Computer Entertainment, to be known as Sony Interactive Entertainment from next week, has announced the formation of a new company called ForwardWorks that will focus on smartphone games. In a statement, Sony says it will produce “full-fledged game titles” that make use of PlayStation characters and IP as well as Sony’s own experience in the video game market.
There’s no indication of when we’re likely to see the first titles from ForwardWorks, but Sony says the company will focus on users in Japan and Asia. 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 company will be incorporated from April 1st, the same day SCE’s transformation into SIE will take effect.
A SHIFT IN STRATEGY FROM PLAYSTATION MOBILE
The announcement has shades of Nintendo’s move into the mobile market, although the focus on “full-fledged” titles makes it sound like Sony’s efforts may be more traditional. Nintendo launched its first mobile app, the social-focused Miitomo, last week, and although it plans to release games in the coming year, all indications are that they’ll be smaller experiences designed to attract players to Nintendo’s dedicated gaming consoles.
ForwardWorks also marks a shift in strategy from the failed PlayStation Mobile initiative, which shut down last year. That platform aimed to bridge the gap between indie mobile games and the PlayStation Vita handheld, allowing the former to run on the latter while bringing older PS1 games to Sony’s Xperia phones and certain other devices. The new approach could well be more focused, using PlayStation IP in ways that make sense on mobile rather than just attempting to add dubious value to Sony’s own products.