Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview

February 22, 2011 | 10:48

Tags: #cell-phone #experience #gaming-phone #hands-on #hands-on-preview #mobile-phone #preview #video #xperia-play #youtube

Companies: #games #sony #test

Technical specs of the Xperia Play

  • Dimensions: 119 x 62 x 16mm
  • Weight: 175g
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255, 1GHz, Single-core
  • GPU: Adreno 205
  • Display: 854 x 480 (WFVGA) LCD TFT
  • Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis eCompass, aGPS
  • Global Connectivity: UMTS HSPA 2100, GSM, GPRS, Edge 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • Local Connectivity: Wi-Fi (no specific detail with regards to 802.11b/g/n), micro USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Activesync
  • Battery Capacity: 1,500mAh
  • Google Services: Android Market, Google Mail, Google Calender, Google Latitude, Google Location Services, Google Maps with Street View, Google Media Uploader, Google Mobile Application, Google Phone-top Search, Google Talk, Google Voice Search, Youtube.

Xperia Play: Our Initial Thoughts

Despite our favourable initial impressions though, there are some serious long-term questions that need to be raised; most notably, the game content. With a wealth of Android phones already out there the Xperia Play can only realistically expect a small fraction of the phone market. It's not like Xperia Play games can be played on any other Android device, (unlike Android Marketplace games). What stops a third-party game dev adapting their title for the greater market, nullifying the Xperia Plays advantage?

*Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview Xperia Play: Our Initial Thoughts *Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview Xperia Play: Our Initial Thoughts
Click to enlarge

Since current PSP/PSPGo games are not compatible with the Xperia Play there's no sudden upgrade path for those most loyal owners either. In addition, with the insanely high-end PlayStation NGP already due out within a year's time, why buy the Xperia Play and be tied into a two year contract with your telecom operator? A dedicated gaming device like the NGP is always going to trump a multi-purpose unit if you're only interested in the gaming aspect!

If the game purchases from Xperia Play to NGP are transferable though, then there's definitely a silver lining because those games become investments. Sony is still fragmenting its already diverse mobile gaming portfolio though. Given the fact that content already owned on the PlayStation Store will have to be re-bought for the Xperia Play, and the NGP will have its own 'LiveArea' OS instead of Android, we suspect games might not be compatible or transferable - or not all of them, at least. After all, it's not like Sony has a positive record of old-to-new across its entire gaming range.

*Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview Xperia Play: Our Initial Thoughts *Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview Xperia Play: Our Initial Thoughts
Click to enlarge

At a time when mobile processing power is literally doubling year on year, how long is the customer base going to stay around for game developers? Remember Sony Ericsson is marketing this as a phone that games, not a PSP that phones. The latter generally have a longer shelf-life and years of usage, the former are subject to yearly upgrades.

Also, what about upgrading from Android 2.3 to 2.4, 3.0 or future OS'? Sony has not commented on this yet but, because the Xperia Play OS has been heavily customised, updates are likely to be very late, at best. Is it worth losing out on the benefits of future phone upgrades just so you can play prettier games on your phone? The N-Gage says no.

Finally, higher quality games typically take a lot longer to play and complete than most of the casual fare crapped out on the Android marketplace (let's be honest here, for every Angry Birds there's 1,000 bits of shovelware). Not only might this make them a bit unsuitable for mobile gaming, but they'll also take longer to make. How many of those handsets sold are going to actually stay in the hands of owners until these games arrive?
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