But they have their work cut out for them.
With the release of Miitomo and especially Pokemon GO, Nintendo have firmly made their mark in the mobile market. And with the upcoming launch of Super Mario Run, which is being pushed by the combined might of Apple and Nintendo, it looks like Nintendo’s fortunes in the mobile game market are only set to get better.
Sony, of course, are unwilling to sit by idly and let Nintendo claim this new market all for themselves. That is why Sony are planning on launching five new mobile games for iOS and Android devices, before March 2018. At first, it seems Sony will focus on Japan ad the Asian markets, where mobile games have far more cachet than they do in the west.
“Japan is a market where Sony and other console makers are struggling to sell units. Sony had to react. People are consuming smartphone games like there is no tomorrow,” said Serkan Toto, CEO of Japanese gaming consultant and advisory group Kantan Games, in an interview with CNBC.
That said, Toto did confirm that Sony would have a harder time of it in the mobile market than Nintendo did, citing, primarily, the strength of Nintendo’s IP- which is something that Sony lacks.
“Sony doesn’t have the same power as the Nintendo IP. There is nothing that comes even close to Mario,” Toto said.
“If the first couple of games from that company just don’t work, I think the smartphone game business will see the same fate as the portable game business. Nobody talks about the [PS] Vita anymore.”
This is all too true. Nintendo are the only company in the world with brands as powerful as Mario, Pokemon, or Zelda– these are the brands that gave Nintendo a running headstart in the mobile market (and which have helped them dominate the handheld games market for 30 years). Sony are going to need to come up with a different way to counter Nintendo, because none of their brands, especially not the ones that are actually suited to mobile, come close to having that kind of recognition or power.