Sony is forming a new company, ForwardWorks, that will be focused on providing gamers with "full-fledged game titles" on their smartphone (via The Verge). ForwardWorks will begin operations on April 1, the same day that Sony has announced of all of its various PlayStation arms are set to be joined under the unified umbrella brand Sony Interactive Entertainment.
The new company plans to create gaming experiences for users in Japan and Asia, but the company has hinted that there's a possibility for expansion into other territories after initial launches in those countries. While ForwardWorks has yet to confirm the specific smartphone operating systems it will be launching games on, it did tease the content of the upcoming mobile experiences, which will "leverage the intellectual property" of Sony's vast catalogue of well-known characters and franchises to use in each title.
ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation® dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation® business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones* to users in Japan and Asia. The company will aim to deliver users with opportunity to casually enjoy full-fledged game titles in the new field of the smart device market.
The exact franchises in question that the Tokyo-based company plans to focus on have yet to be confirmed, but the terminology of the announcement suggests that ForwardWorks will be going a more traditional gaming route in transplanting its characters onto mobile than Nintendo has. Sony has tried to break into the smartphone game space before, specifically on Android, but the focus of its past initiative was more of a cross-platform synergy with the company's game-ready PlayStation Vita handheld.
A shift to smartphone-only games is interesting, especially considering the library of classic franchises ForwardWorks could employ in clever ways to make up for the lack of tactile controller inputs. Nintendo has made a similar promise recently regarding the use of its most popular characters in upcoming mobile games, but its first game, Miitomo, has left most fans disappointed due to its sole focus on character creation and social network-skewing gameplay.