Sony to release mobile games from new ForwardWorks studio
Thu 24 Mar 2016
After pulling its PlayStation Mobile service last year, Sony is launching a new game development studio called ForwardWorks which will bring existing PlayStation content to iOS and Android devices.
Based in Tokyo, the new ForwardWorks ‘will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation dedicated software titles and its gaming characters,’ according to an English translation of the official statement. It will also bring ‘the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise… to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones…’
The release further noted: ‘The company will aim to deliver users with opportunity to casually enjoy full-fledged game titles in the… smart device market.’
Sony seems to be taking a similar approach to mobile gaming as Nintendo, which is planning to create smartphone games based on its top franchises and most popular characters. Its first effort, Miitomo, launched in Japan earlier this month and generated over a million downloads in just three days.
Some fans have however reported disappointment at the new Nintendo offering, with many complaining it focuses too heavily on character creation, in-app payments and social networking.
PlayStation Mobile, an experiment which shut down entirely last year, offered developers an SDK for building games across mobile devices. The initiative came under President Kazuo Hirai’s ‘One Sony’ plans to unify the separate branches of the business. The technology did not catch on and was particularly hampered by its Android exclusivity.
While further information on the new ForwardWorks unit is limited, it is understood that the project will initially focus on the Japanese and wider Asian market before expanding into other regions.
The studio will be led by Sony Japan’s Atsushi Morita, and Andrew House, current president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, will sit as a member of the board. The company will start to release games when it begins operations from 1 April.