Sony has acquired mobile games developer Savage Game Studios and will bring it into its PlayStation Studios stable, but the bigger news may be that Sony is planning a major push into mobile gaming, consistent with recent efforts to reach PC gamers with its AAA intellectual properties.
“Our mobile gaming efforts will be similarly additive,” head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst said in a statement Monday morning, after mentioning the recent PC launch of Marvel’s Spider-Man and the upcoming release of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PC. However, Savage Game Studios will be part of a new PlayStation Studios Mobile Division, “which will operate independently from our console development and focus on innovative, on-the-go experiences based on new and existing PlayStation IP.”
So, this doesn’t sound like porting existing console titles over to mobile platforms, an approach that would probably be better served by cloud streaming, anyway (and PlayStation Plus does not yet support streaming games to mobile devices). Savage Game Studios Michael Katkoff, in the same statement Monday, mentioned “the ability to potentially tap into PlayStation’s amazing catalog of IP and the fact that we will benefit from the kind of support that only they can provide.”
Hulst said Savage Game Studios is “already working on a new unannounced AAA mobile live service action game. It’s too early to reveal more, but I’m so excited for when they’ll be able to.”
Savage Game Studios was founded in 2020 and is based in Berlin and Helsinki. So far it has not launched any titles, mobile or otherwise. In January 2021, the studio mentioned it was developing a shooter for mobile devices when it announced $4.4 million in seed funding.
Sony’s last major effort in the mobile space was shut down in 2015, although it was altogether a different thing back then. PlayStation Mobile, which was a development, storefront, and support structure for indie games on Android devices and the ill-fated PlayStation Vita, started up in 2012 and closed down its Android support two years later.
Otherwise, PlayStation IPs have gone to mobile on a very limited basis. The puzzle game Uncharted: Fortune Hunter was released on Android and iOS about one week before Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End launched on PlayStation 4; likewise, an infinite runner called Run Sackboy! Run! launched on mobile the same day LittleBigPlanet 3 hit PS3 and PS4.
Nintendo likewise was famously hesitant to bring its franchises to smartphones and tablets, until the company finally relented in 2015 and announced a partnership with Japanese mobile developer DeNA. That union eventually brought adaptations like 2016’s Super Mario Run, 2019’s Mario Kart Tour, and the short-lived Dr. Mario World, which was shut down in November 2021.