Following up from my blog I posted in December ‘20 Years of PlayStation – My Top 20 PlayStation Games and The Nostalgia Opportunity For Sony’, last week Sony announced that they will be launching a new company called ForwardWorks who will focus on launching PlayStation titles. Although I’m positive this will feature revamped rereleases, I was more interested to learn that new PlayStation titles will be developed in an attempt to enter the iOS and Android markets.
The worldwide digital gaming market
This should not come as a surprise considering that despite being the games console market leader with Sony’s PS4 heavily outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, Sony are operating within the smallest digital games market. Perhaps Sony believes that their market dominance for this generation’s console war is already won and reinforced by the recent announcement of releasing a ‘PlayStation 4K’, and now feel the time is right to enter the mobile games market, which is vastly larger and therefore an opportunity for more profit.
The combination of PC and Xbox gaming
Microsoft’s presence in the PC market who although are already the major leader for operating systems with Windows being the main preference for PC gamers, appear to be finally taking PC gaming serious. This follows the news that Microsoft are aiming to develop a PC gaming presence, and those of you who have been tricked into upgrading to Windows 10 might be aware that there is a built-in app store which although does feature plenty of App games for Windows phones, it will become the distribution channel for many PC games. Some PC games are already featured such as Tomb Raider, Gears of War, and there are plans for Xbox games to be made available to PC users and also streaming from Xbox to PC and vice versa, which will definitely be lucrative strategies for Microsoft.
Perhaps Sony are feeling threatened by Microsoft’s ambitious approach of developing their PC gaming presence which many industry experts are concerned for a monopolistic market, which could be an accurate indicator that they will be successful. So despite the mobile gaming market being a revenue stream for Sony, I think it could be an attempt to differentiate from their competitor and build a presence elsewhere.
Growth of the mobile gaming market
The statistics definitely indicate that entering the mobile gaming market could be profitable to Sony, with the prediction that mobile gaming is predicted to overtake the console and PC gaming this year, which correlates with the continued market growth which is predicted to be reaching maturity.
The official launch will be on 1st April and geographically limited to Asia which are the most lucrative markets.
How will it make money?
Despite ForwardWorks not carrying the Sony branding, leads me to think that these games could be categorised into two categories:
- Ported Playstation titles – both revamped ports from PS1, PS2 and PS3 to capitalise upon the nostalgia, but also games which are based on current generation PS4 titles. These could be synced up to the user’s PSN accounts to unlock new features on their console versions in addition to being able to progress whilst on the go. Some games are already utilising this feature such as FIfa Ultimate Team and Mortal Kombat X.
- Original ForwardWorks titles – unaffiliated from the PlayStation brand.
In terms of pricing, it will be interesting to see what business model will be adapted considering that so much of the successful growth in mobile gaming has been attributed to the free-to-play model and developers generating revenue via in app add-on purchases for added features e.g. extra levels, weapons etc. or advertisements. Sony are no strangers to giving content away for free, having given away DC Universe Online in the past, so perhaps it will be the PlayStation themed games which will be for purchase at a low price due to the demand for nostalgia, while the original ForwardWorks titles would feature a combination of paid elements and free.
What do you guys think about Sony entering the mobile phone market, and what direction do you think they will take?