Sony CEO Says Pokemon Go Is a "Game-Changer," Talks Company's Own Plans for Mobile

Kaz Hirai says Sony plans to "aggressively" get into mobile gaming; report also says PS4 Neo may launch this week.

127 Comments

Following its formation of a wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to making mobile games in March, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has now spoken up to talk more about the PlayStation company's plans for smartphone games.

Hirai told the Financial Times (via Polygon) that Sony plans to "aggressively" get into mobile gaming. "It's quite a shift from being just a console-based business to being on mobile phones as well," he said.

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In talking about Sony's plans for mobile, the executive specifically cited Pokemon Go, which has been a breakout hit since its release in July.

"Pokemon Go is a real game-changer," Hirai added. "I'm very interested in the fact that it has the potential to really change the way people move, literally."

Hirai went on to say that Pokemon Go's implementation of augmented reality to make it look like Pokemon creatures are in the real world is a "great innovative idea that's going to lift all boats for the video game industry." He added that Sony would like to see AR components added to its games.

Sony announced its new mobile game division, ForwardWorks Corporation, in March and opened it on April 1. It was not an April Fools' joke. No specific games were announced, but in a statement, Sony said ForwardWorks will leverage PlayStation franchises and characters for this new effort. Right now, these games are planned for release in Japan and Asia only on iOS and Android devices; it's possible they'll be extended to the west in the future, but this was not announced. Hirai didn't share any new information in the Financial Times interview, only saying, "They'll be coming out with titles."

The report also mentioned that Sony is "expected" to launch its new, more powerful PS4 Neo this coming week. We hadn't previously heard about a release date for the system, which many expect will be officially announced during the PlayStation news briefing this coming Wednesday, September 7. A slimmed-down PS4 could also be announced during this event.

Read the full Financial Times story here. Keep checking back with GameSpot for more PlayStation news in the days ahead.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for Chaz456
Chaz456

I'd be shocked if the PS4 Neo came out this week. Most of these interviews end up being "miss-translated" I'm sure what Kaz actually said was something along the lines of Sony planned to unveil the PS4 Neo this week and that somehow got translated into it was being released this week.

Avatar image for Scarf0
Scarf0

There is NO WAY in heck the PS4 Neo is launching this week! If it's launching this year, more than likely it will be in November. However, I'm pretty certain it's launching in 2017. We'll all know for sure tomorrow afternoon (3pm EST).

Avatar image for sev2010
sev2010

Brace for another wave of insanity to hit the industry!

Man I'm sick of these stupid ideas coming from these corporations. Of course I also blame those who support such insanities.

Avatar image for variable21
variable21

breaking: PS4 NEO quickly rebranded as "next gen mobile device" comes with backpack, and "uncharted go"

Avatar image for thespicychiken
TheSpicyChiken

There's a bright idea sony.......

Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

Don't chase the bubble...

Avatar image for TimmyDKJR
TimmyDKJR

Use the earnings from mobile gamers to give the rest of your fans more value in their games? :D

Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@TimmyDKJR: That never happens.

Avatar image for TimmyDKJR
TimmyDKJR

@ArabrockermanX: A guy can dream :(

Avatar image for deactivated-58319077a6477

This coming week?? ah No, I mean if that is true then we should have seen a leak how the console looks like by now. Granted the Slim was leaked and that has yet to have a firm release date so if the Neo is scheduled for released the upcoming week then someone should have posted something about it already.

Well I think Sony will release it alongside the PSVVR.

Avatar image for ditronus
Ditronus

Let's remember that Pokemon go was based off a franchise 20 years in the making. Right, Sony? Right? Calm down nah.

Avatar image for JackNief
JackNief

Didn't Pokemon Go come out within a few months ago? Aren't they already reporting a massive loss in player base?

Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@JackNief: Welcome to mobile games, where you make a billion dollars in about a years time before your game dies and everyone moves onto the next Angry Birds...

Avatar image for pops4657
Pops4657

heard they where launching around the time nx launches

Avatar image for luis2113
luis2113

One of the worst games, I have ever seen and the worst pokemon game,is a game changer? Removable batteries in the dual shock controller. That would be a game changer.

Avatar image for scooby_dooo
Scooby_Dooo

This is complete BS about the Neo maybe launching next week....I haven't read anywhere else on the internet about an imminent launch. Most sites think October or November.

Avatar image for luis2113
luis2113

@scooby_dooo: it's been so secret that they could launch it for online sale only until stock can be delivered to retailers. Anything is possible if it can be conceived by the mind.

Avatar image for scooby_dooo
Scooby_Dooo

@luis2113: Of course, anything is possible. They could even be really nice and mail all of their PSN account holders, Neo's for free. At least tomorrow we should know for sure. If it turns out to launch in October or November (even December), I'll come back here and upvote myself lol

Avatar image for olddadgamer
OldDadGamer

@luis2113: That's some deep comment, man.

Moderator
Avatar image for prnjsn
prnjsn

Pokemon Go was super popular when it first came out, but none of my friends who are very in to Pokemon still actually play it. I'm sure many people still play it, but many people's interest in it is going down already after just a couple of months.

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

tearaway go - it already used ar .........

gravity rush go - follow the black things tap the weak spots - collect the gems for kat/ raven special move - she appears as a finisher move

go man sky - tap that rock

Avatar image for CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

I'm more interested in the reveal of NEO, i'm so curious about how it looks and the tech under the hood, it will be awesome if they release it this week.

Avatar image for derceto
derceto

lol Right. Just another disaster in the making for Sony. Nothing to see here.

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

:(

Avatar image for olddadgamer
OldDadGamer

@bdrtfm: Now, now. Be not sad.

I'm ok with this. Mobile games are a good bet. Fail, they lose little money (lots less than a AAA game). Succeed, they mint money, and that money lets Sony take gambles on other interesting AAA games.

I mean, I hear people mope about Madden being successful, and say "Silly EA, making Madden when they could be making more (whatever)." Well, there's no way that EA takes a big risk like Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect 1 or Titanfall unless they have the safety net of Madden.

So if this gives Sony the safety net to take real artistic, interesting, new IP risks? Bring it. I'm perfectly fine letting mobile finance my AAA habit.

Moderator
Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

PLEASE people..... Nintendo was not the first for most things and they copied much of what they did, just like every company, if someone comes up with something that works well you can emulate it.

To set the record straight SONY'S EYE toy came A FEW YEARS ahead of Nintendo's Wand! It is still not important as Nintendo's belief in the concept propelled Sony to revamp their work on motion controls.

Also Sony has already used AR a few years ago. So is Nintendo copying Sony AGAIN? no, just like every company they saw something that would work well and decided to use it.

Now that Sony and other companies see that AR can be profitable there will be more games that use it. And if another company just happened to be first with AR Nintendo would have still come out with Pokemon after.

but this is the internet filled with adolescent fanboys......... its to be expected.

Avatar image for macaque12
macaque12

Ah f*ck it. Can't wait for the day mobile games will crawl into a hole and burn forever.

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

@macaque12: the same day when hell freezes over and keeps them there........

Avatar image for fanboyman
FanboyMan

Sony copying Nintendo again?

Avatar image for pops4657
Pops4657

@fanboyman: japanesse monkey see jananesse monkey do and gets more credit for it.then they call it innovation

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

@fanboyman: sony has ar games on the vita ......... which came out how many years ago now ...... google

Avatar image for fanboyman
FanboyMan

@Flyin3lvl: I'm not trying to say Nintendo invented AR but Sony's CEO said Pokémon Go was the inspiration for this move, if that's not copying what is it?

Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

@fanboyman: i know, you didnt clam that - im just saying based on your original comment sony copy Nintendo well sony has ar games already - further point on sony phones there is a build in ar app called ""AR effect"" when taking photos can add dinos-comic style captions- ocean animals, masks and well the list does go on - the best way to describe it is the exact same when taking a picture with a pokemon but replace pikacu with the dino etc

so sony had ar for a long time- i just get the impression pokemon go pushed it more mainstream - but yes this time they are copying nintanic by going back into mobile phone games. one could say - they ""copied"" sony for ar - sony taking there ar and now ""copy"" nintanic or what ever that company that makes the ""game"" is called ......

Avatar image for CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

@fanboyman: Call it whatever you want but this is nothing new, this is how the industry push the envelope further, this is not restricted to Sony or the video games industry either.

EDIT: As an example Nintendo was basically the first to implement analog sticks on controllers, so by your logic Sony and MS should have never done the same? Same thing (but way less important) with the humble feature in controllers, etc...

Avatar image for Xristophoros
Xristophoros

this is the worst sony pr comment i have seen in a very long time. everything i hate about the industry -- mobile games and pokemon go -- rolled up into one sentence. yuck. a terrible direction for sony to go in. what a waste of resources which could otherwise go into real games. sorry, but mobile games will never count as real games with such an incompetent touch control scheme. if sony or anyone for that matter manages to create some sort of controller shell add on for phones, then maybe i would take mobile gaming a bit more seriously. until then... not interested.

Avatar image for olddadgamer
OldDadGamer

@Xristophoros: Disagree. See comment above. I don't think this will take away resources from AAA. I think it'll give Sony a safety net of easy money with which to have a safety net for AAA. See above, Madden, that sort of thing. Really smart comment of mine above.

Moderator
Avatar image for CaptainBerserk
CaptainBerserk

@Xristophoros: agree

Avatar image for kokakee
kokakee

Make a vita phone Sony.. and make PS1 -PS3 catalog available on your whatever phone store u want to call,,

I have the xperia play and the vita.. merge them together and it will work

Avatar image for fanboyman
FanboyMan

@kokakee: No it won't (maybe you're too young to remember the N-gage?) not enough people want a dedicated gaming phone for the foreseeable future to justify R&D cost.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

Hirai went on to say that Pokemon Go's implementation of augmented reality to make it look like Pokemon creatures are in the real world is a "great innovative idea that's going to lift all boats for the video game industry."

Question: Mr.Hirai...you have already a gaming device with a augment reality cam and function,the PS Vita!
Will you make new games for it?
Hirai : Whut? Vita what? Never heard of it!

Avatar image for asnakeneverdies
ASnakeNeverDies

"The report also mentioned that Sony is 'expected' to launch its new, more powerful PS4 Neo this coming week." I didn't understand this last part, should I be expecting the PS4 Neo to go on sale this week?

Avatar image for pokemongotr
pokemongotr

thaaaaank you so much for this www.pokemongotr.gen.tr

Avatar image for sakaixx
sakaiXx

Pokemon go only lives because of the nostalgia and brand value and its losing its player base rapidly. Hope sony can create a more sustainable player base when it goes mobile.

Avatar image for wtf_666
wtf_666

sigh.... Pukeman Go to Hell, and all other garbage mobile "games". Sony and M$ please stay focused on consoles. Don't fail for the Nintendo trap. Oops fall. ;-)

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@wtf_666: To be fair to Microsoft they have their own Mobile operating system and they do produce mobile games for it. But that's obviously not going to be a massive focus as Windows Mobile is an absolute failure.