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Opinion: Why the Sony Xperia Play could keep me on Android

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I have long bemoaned the state of mobile gaming – the Android and Apple App Stores are chock full of mobile games that I ultimately think could just be free flash games on the Internet. Angry Birds? Yawn. Flight Control? Meh. Heck – the only mobile game that I’ve played that engaged me for more than five minutes has been the fantabulous Game Dev Story – and even with that I thought “This would be so much better on the PC if it let me build my own game studio Theme Hospital style”

The truth is this: the large majority of the games on mobile platforms are casual games – which is fine, but as a core gamer who likes headshots and drifting around corners at 100mph these games have little to no appeal to me. There have been attempts of course to port older games over to these devices but using an on-screen control pad doesn’t feel right. You need the feedback of physical buttons to play properly – something that Android and iPhone handsets to this date don’t have at all (or at least not in the sense in that they’re laid out like a control pad).

Well it seems that someone has finally listened to what people like me are asking for: given that the fine chaps at Sony Ericsson have devised the Sony Xperia Play – also known as the PlayStation Phone. So we’re halfway there – we finally have some decent hardware on a phone that I can use to play games with. But what about the actual games? If the majority of Android phones only have touch screens with which to game with surely all of the games available for it are just going to be the aforementioned casual games?

Well apparently not. Later this year Sony will be releasing the PlayStation Suite for Android 2.3 or higher. With this Sony will be releasing older PlayStation 1 games as well as some new games too. So it can play PlayStation games – cool, but why not just get an NGP for that?

The answer is simple: emulators. The Android Marketplace is full of emulators for the NES, SNES, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, and a whole bunch of others. I’ve used the free versions of these apps on my HTC Hero and they appear to run games pretty well. Unfortunately due to the Heros slow processor and lack of physical buttons playing games is a bit of a chore – but given that the Xperia Play has a 1Ghz processor and has a traditional gamepad attached to it then playing a whole bunch of games on it will no doubt be a breeze. I see the Sony Xperia Play as the ultimate in gaming convergence to date, being able to play todays casual games, new games arriving on the PlayStation Suite and games from the consoles of yore.

The only thing I’m worried about? The pricing. Sony has been very enthusiastic talking about the hardware itself and all of the features that it’ll have but they haven’t uttered a word about how much it’ll all cost – and to me that sends signs that I’m about to be hit with some bad news.

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Written by Pokeh

February 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

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