The PlayStation Phone, or Xperia Play as Sony Ericsson would prefer us to call it, is at long last official. Not rumoured or given an announcement about it being announced but official and coming to selected markets in March though from what the networks are saying, it’ll be April for the UK. The phone will be a smart one and the first smartphone Sony has produced that is affiliated with PlayStation in this way. Historically, the mobile phone devision of Sony didn’t see eye to eye with SCE so there was a divide in devises. Now we have a more harmonious company (either that or someone at the top kicked a few butts) and with the mobile market leaping forward in technology as well as popularity, it’s about time.
But is it just too late? Possibly if the Xperia came shortly after the iPhone was released then I think things would be a bit different but while some developers are still trying to make the virtual d-pad work, the best and highest ranked Apps are nearly always the ones that use a non-traditional control method. So the Xperia Play may have a built in controller, with face buttons, d-pad, touch analog sticks and shoulder buttons but it seems from sales figures that the experience a vast majority of Smartphone owners want is different from what looks to be one of the system’s selling points. Another knock is the ability to play PlayStation One games via the PlayStation Suite announced along with the NGP last month. A brilliant feature but one that is already readily available on PSPs and soon coming to other Smartphones once the upgrade to Android 2.3 is released. Okay so the Xperia Play has the benefit of real buttons though this just brings us full circle to my comments at the start of this paragraph.
Do note that I am playing devil’s advocate here. I do think that there are a good number of core gamers who have been reluctant do go anywhere near mobile gaming because of the inconsistent controls or bite-size games. To them, the Xperia Play could be a highly desirable bit of kit. Up to 50 games titles have been promised for launch including Need for Speed, Fifa 10, Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and rather oddly, Guitar Hero. A 1Ghz CPU and embedded Adreno GPU graphics processor would make whatever these games end up being look pretty decent too. I, an avid iPhone enthusiast, am actually keen on seeing what the Xperia Play can offer, over and above all the bullet-points and marketing we’ve only been subjected to right now. But I have got myself in a happy little rut with my current iPhone and the App Store so it would take a fair bit of persuading for me to budge. My PSP plays PSone games and my iPhone does everything else. I’m quite content with them being separate at this moment in time though my contract is about to come up for renewal… Come on Sony, convince me (I’m a sucker for tech!)