Sony Sets Sights On PlayStation Mobile Gaming, Plans Huge Investment For PlayStation Now
Sony is selling PlayStation 5 consoles faster than it can manufacturer them, which is a combination of rabid demand (truly next-gen game systems don't come out super often) and a global shortage of silicon. But as successful as the PS5 has been so far, it is not Sony's sole focus. It plans on bolstering its presence in the mobile gaming sector, and is hoping to significantly grow its PlayStation Now service.
As part of its strategy to grow different segments, Sony said it plans to spend 2 trillion Japanese yen (equivalent to nearly $18.4 billion in US currency) over the next three years on strategic investments. A major part of the goal is to massive increase the number of customers connected to its services to 1 billion, up more than sixfold from 160 million currently.
Massaging its PlayStation Now service will play a big role in that effort.
"Sony will aim to increase the engagement of users of the PlayStation Network as the Sony Group’s largest DTC service and community by strengthening the PlayStation Now cloud streaming game service," Sony said. "Sony intends to continue investing in or partnering with external studios in addition to investing in its in-house studios to enhance its software offering."
As it stands now, Sony's cloud game streaming service is home to over 800 PS4, PS3, and PS2 games, including Borderlands 3, Streets or Rage 4, World War Z, and many others. A subscription runs $10 per month, with discounted rates for three-month ($25) and annual ($60) subs. And as Sony points out, for people who game on PC, the service is the only way to access exclusive titles like Bloodborne and the Uncharted series.
Sony also wants to make a bigger push in both mobile and social sectors, a directive that comes straight from the top.
"In addition to what we do in the services space around anime and games, what we do in the mobile and social spaces will be crucial to expanding the world of people to whom we deliver Kando. I believe this is indispensable to the development of the PlayStation Community," Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida said.
The plan for now is to continue actively releasing mobile games based on anime-related assets. However, Yoshida noted Sony will "further focus on deploying Sony's proprietary IP to mobile" too, so we'll have to wait and see what comes of that.
On the social side, Yoshida touted the importance of facilitating direct connections between creators and users.
"One of the next big challenges for Sony is to make the PlayStation more social. Our efforts in the services, mobile and social arenas are crucial to expanding the world that Sony will fill with emotion, and that is especially the case for PlayStation," Yoshida added.
Incidentally, a recent job posting for someone to take serve as Head of Mobile mentioned "adapting PlayStation's most popular franchises for mobile." Sony has kept specifics close to the vest, but it is not hard to imagine the company leveraging popular characters and franchises like Ratchet & Clank and God of War for mobile.
That's just speculation, though. Nothing specific has been announced. The massive investment Sony is making, however, pretty much leaves all possibilities open.