Nintendo's new social app Miitomo reached over one million downloads in Japan in less than a week. Those are some pretty solid numbers, though we don't yet know how many of those users are making in-app purchases.
Either way, Nintendo entering the mobile market has been big news, and that may be why Sony decided to share some of its own mobile plans yesterday. Specifically, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc (a name-change from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc) announced that it intents to bring some of its PlayStation properties to mobile devices (in Japan only, at this juncture).
According to the press release Sony distributed about its plans, a team called "ForwardWorks" was assembled specifically to work on Sony's mobile projects, and will "aim to deliver users with opportunity to casually enjoy full-fledged game titles in the new filed [sic] of the smart device market."
It's not yet clear if these plans include new games developed specifically for mobile using "mascots" from the PlayStation era (e.g. Ratchet & Clank, Little Big Planet), or if ports of actual PlayStation games are coming to your iPad. As Polygon points out, Sony mascots already have a presence on the digital marketplace. However, most of those titles are simple free-to-play auto-runners, like Ratchet & Clank: Before the Nexus and Run Sackboy! Run!
On the flipside, we already know it's feasible to port classic PlayStation games to mobile. Final Fantasy VII is currently available, as is Final Fantasy IX.
ForwardWorks may even be working on both options: Ports of classic PlayStation games that, in turn, get us excited about new games starring old IP. And those new games might be full-fledged action games or RPGs, not simply auto-runners and bubble-poppers with Ratchet's face on them.
But as was suggested in the linked write-up about Final Fantasy IX mobile's launch, PlayStation game ports require higher-end devices in order to run properly. Then there's the endless discussion over touch screen-based controls, and the effectiveness thereof.
Regardless of whether ForwardWorks is porting classic PlayStation games, or constructing new experiences with old IP, or both, how does it intend to tackle mobile's limitations as a piece of gaming hardware? The pushback against digital d-pads would be particularly strong with ports of old games, since we've already committed the PlayStation's action game library to muscle memory.
Still, the idea of storing and playing PlayStation games on our phones is weirdly futuristic. Even though it's been done several times over by now, just thinking about it is still enough to induce dizziness. It's going to be exciting to watch ForwardWorks' plans unfold.
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