Archives: Sony Xperia Play - Advantages & Disadvantages

Originally published in February 2011
Simon Nguyen

The cellular phone has endured a drastic transformation in recent years. In its early days, the device was primarily used to make and receive calls. With the inclusion of a camera that could take pictures as well as record videos, mobile phones took a big step in becoming entertainment gadgets. The device’s latest incarnation is the smartphone, which resembles more of a handheld gadget rather than a functional phone. With the impending release of a new smartphone called Xperia Play, electronics giant Sony Ericsson plans to push the limits even further by essentially transforming the smartphone into a full-fleshed portable gaming device. But will this one-of-the-kind gaming smartphone find acceptance with consumers?

Offering gaming on a mobile phone is not a novel idea. Most phone devices, including the highly basic feature phone, have already allowed for this capability. However, most of the games available on these phones (smartphones included) are still rather rudimentary and light on content. Sony’s Xperia Play is expected to be among the first smartphones capable of delivering console-quality games. One of the biggest advantages of Xperia Play is that it was designed with portable gaming in mind. In fact, Xperia Play will even include a game pad (stylized after the PSP Go) with input controls and interface recognizable to hardcore gamers. This shows that Sony is very serious about making Xperia Play a true gaming console.

With Sony putting so much focus on portable gaming, one may question whether Xperia Play’s smartphone capabilities will suffer because of this. Fortunately, it appears that the non-gaming aspects of Xperia Play will be decent as well. According to Engadget, the new device has the look and feel of other smartphones in the Xperia line. The multi-touch gadget will be powered by Android Gingerbread, which is one of the better versions of Android OS. As expected, Xperia Play will feature a high-quality camera that could take photos as well as record videos. Note that all of the aforementioned are unofficial information, and may not reflect what will be in the final version.

What are some of the disadvantages of Sony Xperia Play? On paper, the idea of having advanced gaming on a smartphone seems to be a splendid concept. Unfortunately, not many people buy a certain cell phone just to play more expansive games; most are likely to be content with the vast library of casual games, already offered by existing smartphones. Furthermore, Sony is set to release the next version of its PlayStation Console Portable sometime this year. This device (dubbed as PSP2) is expected to surpass Xperia Play in gaming capabilities many times over. There is very little chance that hardcore gamers, whom Xperia Play appears to target, will choose Play over the vastly superior PSP2.

Another disadvantage for Xperia Play is the fact that Sony also plans to release two more smartphones, from the Xperia line, during the same time frame. This will undoubtedly cut into Play’s potential user base. With the other phones offering non-gaming features that are at least on par with Play, there is even less of a chance the device will win favor with consumers. All in all, releasing Xperia Play at this time seems to be a risky proposition. However, this gaming smartphone remains a one-of-the-kind device that could still become a big hit, granted that Sony will heavily promote it. The company has thus far done a pretty good job at hyping up Play. With a solid marketing campaign, Xperia Play has a good chance of becoming one of the most sought gadgets of 2011.

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