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Portable gaming shouldn't be separate from consoles - PlayStation head

Newly appointed John Kodera says company is considering portable gaming options, signalling a change from previous management's thinking

The Vita may be dead, but Sony thinks the portable gaming market has life left in it yet. According to a Bloomberg report, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera said in a roundtable interview in Tokyo today that the company is considering a number of paths forward in the field.

"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. "We want to think about many options."

That suggests an about-face from the position of Kodera's predecessor, Andrew House. Last September, House dismissed suggestions that the success of the Nintendo Switch had changed the company's thinking on the portable market , saying, "We have not seen [handheld gaming outside of Japan] as being a huge market opportunity."

Sony's portable strategy of late has largely revolved around smartphones. Last year, the company introduced PlayLink, a line of PS4 games that let players interact with them using their phones, and its ForwardWorks division has been creating mobile games since its inception two years ago.

While Kodera's comments could be interpreted as interest in having the next PlayStation console reproduce the hybrid handheld functionality of the Switch, Kodera said that it was "not yet the right stage to discuss specific hardware plans."

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Latest comments (6)

James Butterworth SuperGeek - IT Hardware & Software A month ago
Let me guess, Sony are going to shamelessly copy the Switch. They're so predictable.
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Richard Browne VP Production, Leyou TechnologiesA month ago
I don't see Sony copying the Switch ; the power you'd have to give up to make it work in handheld mode isn't worth it. If there's a PS5 people will want top end visual and sound quality. Much more likely Sony continues down the streaming path I would think and allows you to access your library via a phone/ipad. Besides as of today the Switch isn't even close to the PS4 in terms of success so why would they shift?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Browne on 24th May 2018 12:04am

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Ethan Einhorn Senior Product Marketing Manager, NVIDIAA month ago
I can't wait to see what this turns out to be. I think that God of War is an incredible accomplishment and a high water mark for the industry... but I've gotten many more hours into the recently released "Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition", simply due to accessibility. Playing PS4 (or PS5) games as conveniently as I can play Switch games would be a game-changer.
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Alex Bullock Content Marketing Manager, Gooey DigitalA month ago
Sony's primary issue with handhelds has always been that they assume people want console experiences, rather than portable ones. Most people don't want to play an inferior version of Uncharted or God of War when they leave the house - they want something that's built from the ground up for mobile. Now that the Switch has pivoted more towards the big screen, there is an opportunity there for Sony to deliver those mobile-specific experiences on a more DS equivalent device - but only if they invest some serious money in taking the format seriously.
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Richard Browne VP Production, Leyou TechnologiesA month ago
And it would still be easier for Nintendo to thump them upside the head by launching a new DS . . .which I assume is not off the table.
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Jordan Lund Columnist A month ago
If they choose to enter the portable market again, they're going to have to go a long way to convince people to buy in after the way they dropped the Vita after 1 year.

Things they will have to do:

Non Proprietary Memory: microSD cards, or even regular SD cards. You can't make people pay through the nose for custom cards. Even the PSP used the Memory Stick Pro Duo.

If you want a digital only platform, that's fine, but you have to make the games visible at retail. Sell game specific code cards so that people go to buy the hardware and go "Wow, look at all the games!" instead of "Wow! Where are all the games?"

HDMI out on the first generation. It arrived too late on the PSP and was only ever a mystery port on the Vita. A new device needs to have HDMI out on the first iteration.

The platform needs support. Porting a bunch of Indie games that are available literally everywhere else DOES NOT COUNT. If you can't bring the device to E3 every year of it's lifespan and have new A-list games every year of it's lifespan then don't bother. Seriously, look at the products you showed at E3 then claimed you didn't have the time for Vita. Wonderbook? How did that one work out for you? The Powers TV show on your streaming service?

Speaking of support, show you can do more than one platform at a time. What's up with PSVR currently? It's been a while since I've heard anything major. Hopefully there will be something for it at E3 this year. If it gets dropped from E3 the way the Vita did after 1 year, you can expect that platform to die quickly as well and then you'll have two dead platforms bearing down on anything new you want to announce.
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