Sony follows Pokémon Go phenomenon into mobile gaming sector

Pokemon Go
Editor's CornerDan Kobialka

Pokémon Go has transformed many mobile developers' perceptions of augmented reality (AR). Apparently, the mobile title has changed the way Sony CEO Kaz Hirai feels about the mobile gaming segment as well.

Hirai told the Financial Times that his company plans to "aggressively" pursue mobile gaming opportunities, noting AR represents a "great innovative idea that's going to lift all boats for the video game industry."

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

Sony, which has sold more than 40 million PlayStation 4 video game consoles, likely recognizes AR's potential. And given the massive success of Pokémon Go, perhaps it's easy to understand why Sony now has chosen to enter the mobile gaming sector.

To date, Pokémon Go has been downloaded more than 500 million times. The mobile title has helped developer Niantic extend its global reach, along with showcasing the true potential of AR to Sony and thousands of mobile developers worldwide.

Since Sony appears ready to make the plunge into the mobile gaming sector, many mobile developers may follow the company's lead. By doing so, these developers could capitalize on the rapidly expanding mobile gaming segment.

Games, e-sports and mobile intelligence firm Newzoo estimated that mobile gaming revenues will reach $52.5 billion in 2016 – more than half of all gaming revenues for the year. Furthermore, the success of Pokémon Go may lead many mobile developers to consider AR – something that could transform the mobile gaming sector.

AR and virtual reality (VR) advisor Digi-Capital pointed out the AR/VR market is expected to be worth $120 billion by 2020. Meanwhile, mobile developers who explore AR and/or VR development now could be ready to pounce as interest in these new technologies grows.

Clearly, Sony's CEO understands the importance of Pokémon Go and its impact on the mobile gaming sector, and mobile developers who learn the ins and outs of AR and VR now could be better equipped to create innovative mobile titles that meet gamers' needs for years to come. - Dan@FierceDeveloper