Sony set to bring PlayStation games to smartphones

Sony Corporation is looking to extend its lead in video games by pushing into smartphones with titles derived from its top-selling PlayStation consoles.

The electronics and entertainment conglomerate is creating a new unit called ForwardWorks Corp., which will develop and sell applications and content for smartphone users in Japan and Asia, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement on Thursday.

Sony is seeking to lure back users who are turning to smartphones to play games, especially in Asia where mobile games and puzzle apps have become an important driver of industry growth. While Sony has an advantage with 36 million users and the current PlayStation generation outselling consoles from Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co., it’s going to face plenty of competition.

Last week, Nintendo unveiled a new mobile app called Miitomo that will bring hits like Super Mario Bros. to smartphones and it quickly topped download charts.

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“The mobile market has grown in size to rival that for traditional game machines,” said Masaki Tsukakoshi, a spokesman at Sony’s games unit. “We are looking to create an opportunity for more users to easily try fully-fledged game titles that emphasize playability.”

ForwardWorks will begin operations on April 1st and be based in Tokyo, Sony said.

Sony is also looking to build on its strong base of PlayStation fans with the introduction of virtual-reality headset and expansion of online content. Earlier this month, Sony said its PlayStation VR goggles will go on sale in October for $399 (£282) making it $200 cheaper than Facebook’s rival, Oculus Rift and $400 less than HTC’s Vive. Although the PlayStation VR is seen as being less advanced than its two rivals, many experts think it will outsell them.

The Japanese company also revealed that it expects more than 50 games tailored to its headset will be available at its launch.

The company is adding Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, ABC and kids networks to its PlayStation Vue TV-streaming service, and also cut the price of the cable-TV alternative by 20 percent to $40 a month.
Sony has revealed that its virtual reality headset will cost $399 (£282). That makes it $200 cheaper than Facebook’s rival, Oculus Rift and $400 less than HTC’s Vive.
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