We may not have seen the last of Sony’s attempts at portable gaming. The new PlayStation head John Kodera has signaled that the company is looking into the portable market and considering its options, a notable change of course from the previous PlayStation boss, Andrew House.
“In my opinion, rather than separating portable gaming from consoles, it’s necessary to continue thinking of it (portable gaming) as one method to deliver more gaming experiences and exploring what our customers want from portable,” Kodera said at a roundtable in Tokyo (via Bloomberg). “We want to think about many options.”
Kodera was cagey about just what he meant by this, however. He reportedly hinted that the next console will be integrated with mobile, but said it’s “not yet the right stage to discuss specific hardware plans,” and declined to comment on the hybrid approach taken by Nintendo Switch. Instead, he pointed to Sony’s PlayLink project as an example of an experiment in the mobile space. PlayLink games let players use their smartphones as input devices.
Sony first entered the handheld gaming space with the PlayStation Portable, and then followed it up with the PlayStation Vita. Both were moderate successes but struggled against the handheld sales dominance of Nintendo. In September, House admitted they didn’t see “huge demand” for handheld systems outside of Asia. Shortly after, he stepped down and Kodera took over the post.
Nintendo’s latest system, the Switch, is a hybrid console and portable device, but the company has also pursued a strategy of using its recognizable franchises for new smartphone games. The success of that system may be making Sony rethink its position, but we may not see the results for a while. Kodera has hinted this strategy could be tied to the PlayStation 5, which he said is still about three years away.