Sony's PlayStation brand cannot live on consoles and handhelds alone, the company says.
Sony just launched PlayStation Mobile days ago on the PlayStation Vita and across a limited number of Android devices. The mobile offering is undoubtedly PlayStation-like in a visual sense, but the platform itself currently offers a mixture of 1st-party casual titles and games offered by independent developers. What Sony fans won't see are classic titles from the original PlayStation console.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Sony UK boss Fergal Gara said that the new mobile platform is an attempt to keep the PlayStation brand relevant in a mobile world. He points out that smartphones and tablets have become gaming platforms, thus the gaming habits of consumers young and old are evolving at a rapid pace – faster than ever before, he said.
In other words, Sony is losing ground to Apple and Google. The company is facing a market where consumers already own a smartphone that can play Angry Birds, Uno, Farmville (iOS) and other casual games. The more beefier phones can handle near-console quality titles for a fraction of the cost of a PlayStation Vita game. Given Android's lead in the smartphone market and its open-source nature, Google's platform is a perfect fit for Sony's mobile entry.
"We want the PlayStation brand to be where consumers are," he said. "So we're going to have to evolve our business models. We're going to have to reach out beyond the traditional narrow world of: we do consoles underneath tellies (TVs) full stop. We're taking our brand out, whether it be through PlayStation Mobile or through cloud techniques or acquisitions. That's the goal. We want PlayStation to be a brand that serves consumers well by being where they want to be."
He goes on to admit that the PlayStation brand cannot live on console and handheld hardware alone. "Do we want to be relevant in the future to the world of gaming? Absolutely," he said. "Of course we do. Do we have a great strength in handheld and home consoles? Yes we do. But will that be enough on its own? Well no, not necessarily. So we'd like to be as relevant as we possibly can be. PlayStation is a great gaming brand, but it can't become irrelevant by only doing things one way when consumers do things many ways."
Despite previous reports, he said PSone Classics may land on PlayStation Mobile anyway (probably not here in the States as we've already seen), and there's a possibility minis may make an appearance as well. For the uninitiated, minis are Sony's answer to apps, sold in the PlayStation Store opposite to full-blown game downloads for the PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation Vita.
"The minis program keeps going," he said. "They're not included in PS Mobile yet. Could they be and what content would be loaded in? That will continue to evolve over time."
To read the full interview, head here.