Mixing the physical and digital realms is the in-thing, with Lego Dimensions, Disney Infinity, Activision's Skylanders series, Nintendo's amiibo figures and augmented reality games like Pokémon Go all going gangbusters over the last couple of years. In that vein, Sony Japan has quietly announced Project Field, a new platform for bringing trading card games to life through smartphones and tablets.
Through Forward Works, the Sony branch established earlier this year to bring PlayStation titles to the mobile market, Project Field's trading card games would follow a similar structure to classics like Magic: the Gathering and Pokémon. That means players would buy starter packs and expansion decks of cards, and then battle friends with their own decks.
The difference here is that the physical cards all have built-in integrated circuit (IC) chips, and are played on a pad packed with sensors. The pad reads the IC chips to track the placement, angle and movement of the cards, and sends that info to an app running on a Bluetooth-connected phone or tablet. So, turning a card from portrait to landscape position might, for example, tell the game that the character is going from an offensive to a defensive stance.
Like Nintendo's amiibo line, the pads can also write data back to the IC chips on the cards, opening up the possibility of character progression. For two-player battles, a pair of the pads can connect to the same tablet or phone, with the app handling the grunt work of processing the often math-heavy mechanics of attack versus defense stats, bonuses, multipliers and whatnot.
A version of Level-5's Pokémon-esque RPG, Yo-Kai Watch, is set to be the first piece of content for the platform, with the developers promising a new type of battle system designed specifically for Project Field. Several other games are in the works, according to Sony, but no further details have been announced as of yet.
Likewise, Sony hasn't announced when Project Field will be available, and for now, it sounds like the system will be exclusive to Japan. That said, given the Western popularity of Yo-Kai Watch, toys-to-life systems and trading card games in general, we wouldn't be surprised if it eventually garners a wider release.
Source: PlayStation Japan