Sony Ericsson launches Xperia play; 50 games from launch

Jonathan Morris
February 13, 2011

As a phone that everyone has talked about for ages, and Sony Ericsson knows will be called the Playstation Phone no matter what, the Xperia play was finally unveiled – along with details of how everything is going to work.

Information about the phone has been around for a while. At least two websites have even obtained a prototype and given full reviews, but Sony Ericsson may have lost the hardware in the wild – but it hadn’t lost details of how many games it will have, or the huge interest in the developer community to get games on the device.

With games likely to cost around £2-10, we can at least relax now that there’s no chance of a repeat of the disaster that was Nokia’s N-Gage (with games costing £20-30).

And, even though the phone is only powered by a pretty normal 1GHz Snapdragon processor (single core), the phone has been designed to run high-quality 3D games at 60 frames per second on the 4-inch display – the reason that this phone won’t be sporting the Mobile BRAVIA engine that is featured on the Xperia arc, Xperia neo and Xperia pro models.

However, it’s when you turn it landscape and slide out the gaming control that the fun begins. With the recognisable Playstation icons, two analogue touch pads, a digital D pad and two shoulder buttons, touchscreen phone users can finally have the necessary controls to play games that would otherwise be impossible to control.

As a ‘Playstation Certified’ handset, the Xperia Play might be just one of a series of handsets released and Sony Ericsson didn’t even rule out there being Playstation Certified handsets from other manufacturers in the future, although it sounds rather unlikely.

From launch, there will be at least 50 games to buy, but this should grow considerably in a very short space of time. Developers signed up so far include Sony Computer Entertainment, Digital Chocolate, Digital Legends, Electronic Arts, Fishlabs, Gamehouse, Gameloft, Glu Mobile, Handy Games, Namco Bandai Networks, Polarbit, PopCap, Trendy Entertainment and Unity Tecnologies.

With over 800 attendees at Sony Ericsson’s launch event, it’s clear that everyone is considering the Xperia play to be the most exciting handset at MWC (although we have to say that LG’s first 3D phone is going to give Sony Ericsson some tough competition).

In addition to the huge turnout from the press, Sony Ericsson told What Mobile that it received over 90 million searches for ‘Playstation Phone’ after the first rumours began to circulate about the phone, and following the advertisement shown during the Superbowl last week.

Games coming to the Xperia Play will include titles such as FIFA 10 (with multiplayer mode), Need For Speed, Sims 3, Guitar Hero, Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell.

The Xperia play will be released at the end of March, most likely released at midnight in selected stores, with availability now confirmed for all of the major UK networks. Some networks will also offer the Xperia play in exclusive colours, but all will be fairly consistent in charging a premium for the device. What Mobile believes this phone will be available free on £35-40 per month tariffs, but with a low (or free) purchase price that should help lessen the blow.

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