Sony set to make PlayStation games for iOS, Android

Sony has formed a new company that will create mobile games for iOS and Android devices using the intellectual property from its PlayStation characters and titles.

The new business called ForwardWorks Corporation will begin operation from April 1, Sony said in a release on Thursday.

"ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones to users in Japan and Asia," the statement said.

Sony will be releasing "fully-fledged" game titles but did not give any timeline. The move is part of a push by Sony to attract more users across different platforms into its ecosystem, and therefore sell them more software and services.

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The Japanese electronics giant follows rival Nintendo in trying to tap the mobile gaming market. Nintendo announced over the weekend that its first mobile app, Miitomo, racked up a million users in three days.

Mobile is seen as a key part of Nintendo's strategy and has been a big focus for the company over the past year. Nintendo struck a partnership with mobile firm DeNA last year and said together, they plan to launch five smartphone games before 2017.

Smartphone games have done well at attracting so-called "casual gamers" who may not necessarily be into console gaming. The move by both Sony and Nintendo is an attempt to capture these users.

Sony has been putting a big emphasis on its gaming division as other areas such as its smartphone unit slow. The PlayStation is also seen is a key area of growth for Sony.

It has launched PlayStation VR – its virtual reality headset which is currently on pre-order. It also recently expanded its "Remote Play" feature to be compatible with Windows PC and Apple Mac as it looks to tap a wider audience.

On top of this, Sony offers a number of peripheral services around the PlayStation, including its membership service that allows people to play online called PlayStation Plus.

Sony has also announced that Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) will change its name to Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), effective from April 1.