To Accelerate Mobile Drive, Sony Plans to Release Six Smartphone Games

In the hope that its own gaming franchises can replicate the success of console rival Nintendo Co’s Pokemon GO, Japan’s Sony Corp will release as many as six smartphone games in the next financial year.

Some of Sony’s popular gaming franchises would be freed up to make them available on Apple Inc’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile platforms from from PlayStation consoles by the upcoming titles.

In recent years, following an overhaul of the group’s consumer electronics business, Sony’s games unit has emerged as the group’s largest profit contributor and therefore an aggressive push into the rapidly growing segment is seen as a necessity for Sony and its profitability and sustainability.

Some of the games that were released by Sony in the financial year starting in April were included in the list of a total of 10 mobile gaming titles that Sony claimed it is working on, the company revealed on Wednesday. PaRappa the Rapper and Arc The Lad are included the 10 titles list.

Tomoki Kawaguchi, executive director of Sony’s mobile gaming unit, told reporters that the new games will be available initially in Japan and eventually in other Asian countries.

It expected that Nintendo would debut its game franchise Super Mario Bros on Apple’s iPhone next week and the announcement by Sony comes barely a week before that event.

Noting almost double the sales of Microsoft Corp’s XBox One, Sony has been a decisive winner in console gaming with over 40 million PlayStation 4 sales. On the other hand, Nintendo was helped into being pushed into mobile gaming by disappointing sales of its Wii U consoles.

According to games research firm Newzoo, Japan is the world’s third largest game market where mobile gaming accounts for more than half of the $12.4 billion market and it is in this market that Sony is facing the increasing threat from mobile as well in similar countries.

Sony has failed to fully introduce mobile gaming to its PlayStation business even though it has launched some games for smartphones through its music entertainment.

Citing a lack of powerful characters like Nintendo’s Super Mario and Donkey Kong, which have achieved widespread appeal globally, analysts doubt Sony’s chances of major success in mobile gaming.

“Sony, unlike Nintendo, has failed to invest consistently in its intellectual property, due partly to the company’s recent focus on profits,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.

He said that many of the franchises Sony plans to launch on mobile platforms are old and outdated.

“Even if those mobile games successfully attract users, the same franchises cannot be played on current PlayStation consoles. There will be little synergy between mobile and console gaming within Sony,” he added.

(Adapted from Reuters)

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