This is what the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play is really all about. The other stuff is just a front.
Just pop open the slide-out gamepad and there’ll be no doubts left. Sliding the phone up launches the Games menu and – if you’re the right user of this phone – that’s the place you want to be.
Our test Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play unit has 6 preinstalled games, but there will be many more to come from the Android Market or the PlayStation pocket.
The first game we played is Crash Bandicoot. Being an original Playstation 1 title, it’s displayed in the PlayStation widget.
This game makes use of all of the hardware controls and is a good way to get a taste of the promised PlayStation experience on the XPERIA Play.
The next title is Bruce Lee: Dragon Warrior, probably an XPERIA Play-exclusive game, which we couldn’t find at the Android Market. This game however is also available for Bada OS and iOS (including an HD version for the iPad).
In Star Battalion you are a space craft pilot on missions against land and air targets.
The sports genre is represented by FIFA 10. Having played it on the iPhone and Android handsets, comparison is overwhelmingly in the XPERIA Play’s favor.
Sims 3, Guns’n’Glory and Tetris are also on the menu on the EXPERIA Play. But if the available Android or Playstation titles are not enough you have yet another option – an emulator for Nintendo, Super Nintendo and the likes.
We tested a SNES emulator on our XPERIA Play and we were surprised to find that you can actually use all the gamepad keys to play. All you need to do is set up the keyboard input options and you’re good to go.
The SNES ROMs count on the internet is huge so you’re not without choices. Unfortunately, we’ve just heard that the PlayStation emulator has just been removed by Google from the Android Market. We hope the rest of the emulators there don’t suffer the same fate.
The PlayStation Pocket will be the real deal though – when it’s operational. Upon launch, Sony Ericsson claims there will be about 50 games available for the XPERIA Play. Those will be PlayStation titles exclusive to the XPERIA Play and we think this could be a key feature to this device.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play delivers on the promise of a whole new experience of mobile phone gaming. That’s mostly due to the non-existent competition but – to give credit where it’s due – the XPERIA Play takes its stuff seriously.
The only thing bothering us is the hardware. We can’t help but wonder what a dual-core processor and better graphics chip could’ve done for the quality of the games that are yet to come out for the platform.
As we’ve seen recently with the NVIDIA Tegra Zone, games made for Android will just keep getting better. They’ll outclass PlayStation 1 sooner rather than later. But if Sony Ericsson keep up the level of commitment, the XPERIA Play will be less important as a phone and more as an evolving project.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play is ahead of the current competition. Users who are not particularly fond of touchscreen gaming will embrace it as the ultimate device. The gamepad makes a massive difference indeed and will be a key selling point. Much will depend on the amount of exclusive content too.
As for the Android part of the story, it seems we’ll have to wait for the full review to pass judgment. Sounds unfair – but a well built and Gingerbread-powered full-featured smartphone is put in the shade. That’s not an easy thing to do though – it takes something as big as a proper gamepad.