Sony is reportedly working on porting 10 PlayStation games to smartphone formats. The titles are presently being worked on, and up to six Sony PlayStation games will be made available on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems. Reported by Reuters, the move is presently being seen as an attempt to replicate the success that Nintendo enjoyed by introducing Pokemon GO - a mobile version of its popular animated franchise, earlier this year. Made by Niantic under character license from Nintendo, the Augmented Reality-integrated game based on Nintendo’s Pokemon characters went viral, significantly boosting Nintendo’s equity value.
Smartphone gaming is being seen as a rapidly expanding segment among gamers, especially in Japan - the third largest market of gamers in the world. While Sony has reaped significant benefits with its PlayStation 4 console, selling more than double units than Microsoft’s Xbox One, the rise of mobile gaming is being seen by Sony as a threat to its gaming empire. As a result, the company has opted to port select PlayStation games to mobile platforms to retain users within its gaming ecosystem.
As part of the effort, Sony will reportedly unveil six mobile games ported from the PlayStation stable by April 2017, and more will follow. While heavyweight titles are not part of the initial plans, the list does include some popular PlayStation games like Everybody’s Golf, along with a few lesser known games that premiered way back, during PlayStation 1 era. Other games being ported include PaRappa The Rapper and Arc The Lad.
In the handheld gaming market, Sony has seen dwindling sales of the PlayStation Vita, while Nintendo has not seen much encouragement in terms of the Wii U console. Reading into the signs, Nintendo has been focusing on switching popular titles to mobile platforms, with none other than Super Mario Bros. ready to launch on iOS in the coming days. Nintendo is also set to launch the Switch - a hybrid gaming platform that can flit between being set up with a television, or as a handheld console. The Nintendo Switch will be launched in March 2017, and has already received warm response from analysts and enthusiasts alike. Its commercial success and viability remain to be tested, but from initial response, this has also been a definite acknowledgement from Nintendo that mobile gaming is possibly the next biggest platform.
PC-grade gaming on mobile devices may also not be too far away, with Qualcomm officially announcing support for desktop-grade Windows OS on its future Snapdragon-based mobile devices. While gaming abilities on such devices may not become available by 2017, the announcement has also included the prospect of PC games running on mobile devices. This can make for an interesting three-way battle between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in the race for taking over the mobile gaming market.
Incidentally, a number of third party emulators were already available on mobile platforms to facilitate playing older generation games on phones. With Sony’s official launches, the gameplay should be smoother, although it remains to be seen how the move is accepted by gamers and enthusiasts. Sony’s mobile games will be premiered in April 2017 in Japan, followed soon by the Asian markets, and universal launches will follow soon.