Sony Interactive Entertainment forms mobile-oriented ForwardWorks

Sony has been reshuffling its properties and businesses these past years in an effort to rein in its losses and regain its footing in its multiple product areas. For example, it sold off its VAIO PC business and was even rumored to have planned on doing the same for mobile. The latter has mostly been refuted, especially now with Sony's new focus with the Xperia brand. Another business that's getting refocused, however is gaming. Sony has the formation of a new ForwardWorks Corporation to focus on "smart device" game development under the new Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.

If that latter sounds familiar, that's because it's really just a renamed Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., perhaps more popular withing gaming circles as SCE. That's the part of the Sony group that has been responsible for its gaming products, from the PlayStation console to the games themselves. The name, however, might no longer reflect the reality of the business. While the word "computer" can be loosely used for almost any device that has a processor, memory, and input/output capabilities, using it in the context of gaming might be a tad limited.

"Interactive" Entertainment, on the other hand, is more forward-looking. It also embraces more than just computer/console-based gaming. Heck, it theoretically embraces more than just gaming. To be even more precise, it embraces virtual reality, whether for gaming, entertainment, or serious applications. Given how Sony just recently put the focus on the PlayStation VR, the name change is definitely timely.

Another forward-looking action that Sony just did was to form the ForwardWorks Corporation under the newly renamed SIE. Now this one might have been named rather oddly. It sounds almost like an R&D thrust, but Sony already has that in its Future Lab. ForwardWorks is instead intended to "to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones." In short mobile gaming.

Now this does open up a lot of possibilities and questions, none of which Sony is explicitly answering. "Aimed to deploy new services" hints that ForwardWorks won't just be creating games, but related services as well, which can be anything from a game store to a social network to even game streaming. "Leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation® dedicated software titles and its gaming characters" does clearly state that Sony will be bringing its hit titles and characters to mobile, unlike some other Japanese gaming companies like, say, Nintendo. "Casually enjoy full-fledged game titles" is mysterious and ambiguous. Does Sony mean that the mobile games are full-fledged titles in themselves or is it hinting at some sort of game streaming capability?

In any case, Sony's rather quiet rebranding and forming of a new company is unambiguously a strong step towards mobile gaming. It affirms the grow ing allure of mobile gaming even for giants like Sony and perhaps gives hope that the mobile gaming market won't be saturated just with clones and money grabbers in the near future.