PlayStation’s mobile games must bring us back to PS Vita and PSP

Whether it’s the PSP or Playstation Vita, the history of PlayStation is deeply rooted in mobile gaming. Sure, the Vita wasn’t particularly successful, and the system suffered an unfortunate lack of support soon after launch, but it would be a shame if Sony avoided the handheld scene due to recent shortcomings. And for those who have actually used the Vita, it’s hard to deny that it was great.

But there is no need to be afraid; Sony still believes in mobile gaming. However, the company is looking for a new path in this world through a smart path, which could save the company (and consumers) tons of money on hardware. How, you ask me? With our phones, of course!

PlayStation is investing heavily in mobile games, with Sony recently announcing the acquisition of Wild Game Studios. The company has been hard at work on a AAA live service action game, but we won’t learn more about it. Sony also released the spine onean iOS game controller that connects to your iPhone and allows you to comfortably play mobile games.

You may be wondering, “What is the problem? Mobile gaming is everywhere, and Sony sneaking into the scene just means more predatory microtransactions and low-effort garbage, right? Well, think of it like this: if we can expect PlayStation-quality games on mobile, Sony could change this industry forever. After all, the BackBone One doesn’t exist for playing Clash of Clans or Candy Crush.

The future of PlayStation in portable games

smartphones are surprisingly powerful. We’ve seen a gradual evolution of portable gaming and what it’s capable of over the past decade. And every year, more advanced titles are available: Genshin Impact and Diablo: Immortal are prime examples of this, as they are visually advanced and graphically demanding.

These aren’t just casual titles, either. These are fleshed out RPGs with deep mechanics and tons to do. Genshin Impact in particular is impressive, as it is also available on computer, PS5 and Xbox series X|S. It’s clear that putting a big budget behind mobile games can deliver some pretty compelling results, and Sony would benefit from not underestimating the potential of mobile’s player base.

Genshin Impact

(Image credit: miHoYo)

To be perfectly clear, we’re not 100% sure that PlayStation’s foray into mobile gaming will be that good. It’s entirely possible that Sony’s plans are no different from those of most other mobile developers, offering free predatory systems coupled with shoddy gameplay that just siphons money from wallets.

But if we’re a bit more optimistic, Sony could deliver the same level of quality expected from the PSP and PS Vita, except on our smartphones. This has many benefits, including the fact that new PlayStation hardware would no longer be needed and could save consumers and the company tons of money. The Backbone One controller is probably going to be recommended to pair with your smartphone. But it’s only $99.99, nowhere near as expensive as paying for a full console.

We already know that Savage Game Studios’ first project is a live service, which probably means it will be free. However, I hope Sony takes more risks with its mobile initiative and isn’t afraid to put some money into its next mobile titles.

Sony mobile games shouldn’t be free

Two plausible futures exist when Sony declares “PlayStation is coming to mobile”. The former isn’t much different from games like Genshin Impact or Diablo: Immortal. We’d get quality free titles swamped with microtransactions and potentially steep progression systems. That would be nice, but that’s what I expected from the mobile world, and frankly, it’s not exciting.

Gravity Rush

(Image credit: Japan Studio)

The other timeline is that PlayStation is continuing the legacy of the PSP and PS Vita on mobile phones. That means expecting AAA and independent titles in the palm of our hands. We need games with high production values ​​and moderate entry prices, ideally without in-app purchases. After all, the biggest PS Vita games launched at $49.99 and therefore a certain level of quality was expected and often delivered.

Why should mobile gaming be any different? Yes, it will be difficult to convince a market accustomed to playing games for free that they should spend between $10 and $50 to access a new PlayStation game. But with great publicity and trailers that showcase high-quality work, it could change the landscape forever and turn mobile gaming into more than just a hotbed of mindless, life-sucking addiction.

PlayStation could return to weirder games via mobile

There is no doubt that the resources required to develop a PS5 exclusive are far greater than what is required to launch a game on mobile devices. Intrinsically, this means that the style of play that can be released on PS5 is going to be quite limited. They should be modern graphics, appeal to common tastes, and feature specific systems that the company knows will work.

Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut

(Image credit: Sucker Punch Productions)

Have you ever wondered why PlayStation exclusives are often third-person action adventure games with a heavy emphasis on cutscenes, and often (especially lately) feature light RPG mechanics? That we talk The last of us, Unexplored, God of the war, Forbidden Horizon West, Days gone, Marvel’s Spiderman, Ratchet & ClankWhere Ghost of Tsushimaeach of these games checks several similar boxes.

It’s rare for Sony to greenlight a game that doesn’t adhere to a formula the company knows will work. I love PlayStation games, but at the end of the day, it’s business, and risks can’t be taken often, especially with the time and money it becomes to make games.

Question open world games

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

Mobile has a unique opportunity to change that. For example, Gravity Rush would never be viable as a PS5 exclusive. This was made abundantly clear when Gravity Rush 2 launched on PS4, didn’t sell particularly well, and led to the demise of Japan Studio (the game’s developer) four years later.

But mobile is a whole different world, or at least it can be. You’re not expected to make such cinematic games, and it’s reasonable that they’re nowhere near as graphically demanding. You also have the option to invest in the genre of your choice and adjust the price accordingly. Something like Gravity Rush would thrive on a mobile device, especially if it launched at $50 and was a full game with no microtransactions.

god of war on pc

(Photo credit: Sony)

Developers can make titles on a lower budget and take less time to work on them, so even if they’re nowhere near as successful as God of War, they can still become profitable. It also creates the potential for weirder games. Of course, Sony won’t greenlight a $50 million project that takes five years of development time if it looks weird and risky. But cut that three-year development time. and drastically reduce the amount of money, and it’s more likely that Sony would be willing to take a chance.

At the end of the line

Imagine the future of mobile as one where the glory of PlayStation handheld gaming returns to the fore. I’m talking about full-priced titles without predatory microtransactions that aren’t afraid to be weird. We could see the return of stuff like Twisted Metal and Gravity Rush, or be graced with new properties that look as good as Tearaway looked on PS Vita.

In a blog post, Hermen Hulst claims that the mobile division of PlayStation Studios seeks to focus on “innovative and mobile experiences”, but if the company ends up occupying the same space as all other mobile developers, then why is there place to be excited? We hope Hulst truly delivers on that promise.

Robert P. Miller