Mobile continues to be one of the biggest growth opportunities for video game publishers, as evidenced by Take-Two Interactive’s recent $12.7 billion deal for Zynga. High-profile companies such as Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, and Tencent are thriving on mobile, in part because the user base is vastly bigger than the console market. As successful as Sony’s PlayStation business has been, the group understands that expansion necessitates a better presence in the mobile gaming sphere. The company explained recently that it’s aiming for half of its games to be on mobile and PC by 2025, with its mobile slate more than doubling in that time to about 20% of its total output.
Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan commented that the combination of mobile, PC, and more live-service games (with the help of newly acquired studio Bungie) will transform the PlayStation business “from a situation of being present in a very narrow segment of the overall gaming software market, to being present pretty much everywhere.” He added that the result over the long-term will be “significant growth in the number of people who play our games, the number of people who enjoy our games, and the number of people who spend money on our games.”
This is not the first time that Sony has talked about making a big push into mobile, as the firm made its intentions known over a year ago. That said, Sony’s mobile gaming releases have been few and far between. There’s been a runner based on its Sackboy franchise, a God of War spinoff, and a few other apps, but the firm has plenty of room for growth. In fact, last fall it was reported that Sony Interactive Entertainment hired eight-year Apple veteran Nicola Sebastiani to lead PlayStation’s mobile gaming efforts. Sebastiani had been managing the games business for Apple’s App Store and most recently was the head of content for the company’s game subscription service Apple Arcade.
Interpret’s New Media Measure® reveals why Sony’s decision to get more aggressive in mobile gaming is sound. In the US alone, PlayStation console owners are spending more time weekly playing games on their smartphones or tablets than on their PlayStation – 4.1 hours vs. 3.6. The data also shows that time spent playing on PC (2.9 hours) isn’t far behind, while PlayStation owners also over index on mobile play time when compared to the general population. If Jim Ryan’s plan is executed well, the PlayStation business will become far more effective in reaching its audience where they’re playing.