Millions play mobile games, but you may not. Nearly half of the world’s population—three billion people—uses their smartphones for interactive content. It’s not hard to see why Sony would want to enter the market, given that staggering statistic.
The Japanese giant’s Gacha Fate/Grand Order, a hit turn-based RPG published by Sony Music’s Aniplex, is already in the lucrative sector. The company has made some forgettable attempts to bring its PS5 and PS4 brands to Google Play and the App Store, but never a convincing one.
While fun, Run Sackboy Run and Ultimate Sackboy have failed to stand out in a market full of popular endless runners. Even the outsourced idle spin-off WipEout Rush never received coordinated marketing from the platform holder and has since disappeared from mobile storefronts.
Sony appears to be taking the initiative seriously after its previous failures. Its new mobile gaming division has had turbulence—Nicola Sebastiani, the Apple Arcade executive it hired, left before it deployed a single title—but there are signs it’s doing things right this time.
Most importantly, it’s appointing experts to lead. Savage Game Studios, the German mobile studio it acquired and rebranded as Neon Koi, makes smartphone software, but we haven’t seen anything from it. It doesn’t drain the company’s resources.
Its new partnership with NCSOFT shows its seriousness. The Seoul-based MMO giant is rumored to be adapting Guerrilla’s stunning Horizon franchise into an epic online game for smartphones, PCs, and consoles.
Sony’s push into smartphone gaming may make sense because the gap between mobile devices and stationary consoles has closed. Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, two of the biggest games on the planet, support crossplay across multiple devices. Snake on a Nokia is gone.
PlayStation will be eyeing the insane revenues these experiences drive, but it will also be looking for ways to expand its brand appeal. The console maker is diversifying and making its biggest franchises accessible to everyone. This includes the PC release and turning The Last of Us into a hit TV show.
Many people don’t own a PlayStation, but by bringing those brands outside its ecosystem, it can profit from them and boost their appeal. This ensures the franchises’ profitability and may even sway non-owners to buy a PS5 or PS6. It strengthens the company.
As mentioned above, it maintains the status quo. Guerrilla is working on Horizon’s next single-player epic while NCSOFT turns it into an MMO. This level of investment may practically secure the franchise’s future.
Sony has obvious growth opportunities, but many believe it should focus on its single-player games and not disrupt the market. If it can succeed with its mobile strategy—and that’s a big if—it can reach a new audience with titles that can span multiple platforms, which will boost the popularity of its blockbuster games.