The Xperiation Date

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The Xperiation Date

How the ill-fated PlayStation phone can teach companies to stop chasing audiences that don't exist.

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I was dangerously close to purchasing this thing. Glad I was off a month on my Verizon upgreydd.

It had potential like most of these devices but it's speaking to too specific of an audience

Oh and hey Sony, how're those Vita presales going? lol

Some people never learn

Very good article. I wanted one of these devices, but it had "N-Gage 2" written AAALLLLL over it. I'm probably better off with my MyTouch.

My opinions based on someone who didn't buy one (but wanted to), based on reviews I've seen:

It was a terrible PHONE, regardless of what gaming it may had going for it. ("One of the worst displays on any smartphone ever" was a common sort of refrain through the reviews I read.)

Attention was too divided. There shouldn't have been a Vita and a Play. A real Playstation Phone that could actually play PSP games might have helped. (Sometimes the hype almost reminded me of Sega's 32X/Saturn debacle of "let's support multiple consoles for multiple types of gamers".)

As touched on in the article, PlayStation Classics. I think they would have had a better market if that had been the major focus. Market it as a portable PlayStation, playing a lot of old classics? That's what people had in mind, but Sony's pathetically tiny collection of available PS games ruined that. Better availability and support could well have made something like fPSe irrelevant (almost as if it could have been the PS equivalent of GOG).

I still think it's a good idea, but Sony needs a lot of work on it yet.

The article is right the best part of the Xperia Play is emulators and boy does it do that well. "A friend" has one of these and "he" has probably thousands of older games on there from NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, PSX, Neo Geo, CPS2, and it runs those games like a freaking beast. However, when it comes to official support though the device is certainly found wanting.

The thing is though "my friend" knew this thing was going to fall flat on it's face when it comes to official support. I know a few people that bought this specifically for a phone that could properly run emulators damn near flawlessly.

All that being said though it's also a very serviceable Android device too. At the end of the day the Xperia Play is a last gen Android device that is probably the best phone on the market when it comes to playing emulators.

If you bought it thinking it was going to have support from Sony that would make it essentially a portable PSX you are sorely disappointed. However, if you are someone that bought it not giving a toss about official support and just want to play games from a decades past then you absolutely love this phone.

Sabrestar:
My opinions based on someone who didn't buy one (but wanted to), based on reviews I've seen:

It was a terrible PHONE, regardless of what gaming it may had going for it. ("One of the worst displays on any smartphone ever" was a common sort of refrain through the reviews I read.)

As someone that owns the Xperia Play (for totally legal purposes I swear) and a Galaxy Nexus 4g it's not a terrible as a phone. Unless I'm doing some hellacious multi tasking on the phone I don't notice a great deal of difference in performance between the two. The Xperia Play overall has better performance than my HTC Incredible and a little worse than my Galaxy Nexus. The display on it isn't great but it's certainly not horrible. The only time the display suffers is if you are outside in direct sunlight. A lot of the reviewers were unfairly harsh on this phone for reasons I'm not totally sure about.

I was really hyped up about the Xperia Play. I knew I couldn't get it immediately, though, but that if I waited until November (18 months into my 24 month subscription) I could get one when I renewed for another 24 months.

But as time went on, I noticed that there hadn't been any PlayStation Classics released for the system since its own release, and support from other titles was scarce. When November finally came around, and I renewed my subscription, I found out that not only would the Xperia Play have been much more expensive than the more recent Xperia arc S... but it simply wasn't available from my service provider anymore.

So, yeah, I'm now a satisfied Xperia arc S owner instead. It would have been really cool to have a phone that could also substitute for the PlayStation Portable I ended up never purchasing, but that's not how things went. I'll keep carrying my DS around in my jacket instead, and play touchscreen-oriented games on my phone.

155 actually seems like a fair price now?

You're missing something here: The crowd of gamers from the PSP era - hardcore mobile gamers - are still here, still waiting for their perfect device. We aren't satisfied with casual gaming and, though we make do with touch controls, we would flock to a full-fledged platform that both looked like a professional phone and had physical controls near to hand.
Notice I said "full-fledged". While the Play has physical controls and doesn't look quite like a toy, it was doomed by poor software support on a platform where touch is the standard and physical support is anything but guaranteed.
Ironically, it is Apple's prison camp of a platform that may usher in a physical rennaissance. The adoption of enthusiast devices like the iCade Mobile promises to put physical controls in range of literally every iPhone owner out there - and where a market can appear, logic dictates it will do so.
My phone currently plays host to a vast variety of games, of which comparatively few are casual timewasters. From Prince of Persia to Battle for Wesnoth, the application of the iPhone/Android as a full gaming platform has never been more promising. And if some enterprising company can make Physical controls a sure and omnipresent feature for the platform, the vision of the Xperia Play could easily be realized.

Phones have always lost "official" support quickly. That's the way it is. New phones come out and old phones get ignored. Technology at its finest. For support on the phone now, I go to XDA Developers. If you have an Android phone, XDA is in your bookmarks.

I own the Xperia Play and love it. Why carry around multiple devices when one can do everything I want.

I love my x-play, even tapping out this message on it now. Its a nifty little device to be honest and im glad I didnt listen to the reviews, as I never listen to reviews.

Plays the games fine, nice and responsive, sound is stellar and best of all.......no greasy finger smear marks.when im playing it.

My sister's boyfriend bought one of these, and I was largely unimpressed when I saw it. There are many things to consider when trying to mate a phone and a console, and Sony didn't consider even one. Not only all those things they say are true, and the Xperia Play is suffering from the same problems the PSP did (no one buys software because they use the console to play with emulators), but now it's suffering from problems other smartphones don't.

Let's face it, a smartphone's (or any cellphone's) shelf life is very limited. Every few months a new model comes out with new features. For the consoles, things are different, they change over several years. Now, a phone-console hybrid is bound to have the defects of both without their mutual benefits. In this case, the phone part of the Xperia Play will be quickly outdated and releasing a new device just a few months later is not viable for a console.

This is the same problem every hybrid device/RPG character has to face. You can be either great at one thing and bad at another or average at both. You can't be great at both.

I'm also typing this on my xperia play and I simply don't agree that the competition is proper handhelds. I got it on upgrade as I do every 2 years. As it goes I can't replace a phone with a PSP, but I can choose between one of a dozen black slabby phones and one with a gamepad which is also a perfectly competent android.

Why would a gamer do anything else?

In truth, it looks like a nifty device. But I have a smartphone, and a DSi. Even if my provider listed the Xperia, paying what amounts to the price of a console for functionality I already largely have doesn't seem like a good move.

I own this phone, and only thing I find true was lack of PSoneclassics, and that it's going to dust because of people and poor sales.

It's terrible people are like this.

It's excellent android smartphone, albeit it's "just" singlecore 1GH, but look, it can, andd only does, anything, another android can do. It also looks and feel like something luxury, I mean, my sis's galaxy mini feels like a toy in comparison! So does my cousin's evo! And the reason for this? SOPA supporters just like toys with logo of malus domestica fruit with a bit mark.... I am the only one that thinks "dafuq?" is only proper response?

The phone is actually quite awesome. It's not the best phone, but it's far from being a bad phone. The PSP controls make it awesome. SNES/NES emulators and others make this phone so damn awesome.

Thing is I bought the phone for one reason. So I could play ROMs on it. Pokemon, Zelda, all those old games from NES, SNES, and gameboy work pretty well on the phone. I actually hate all the games that came on it. Big waste of space. Too bad there arent a lot of ROM users who bought the phone

They could have won over both demographics if it had the psp/psp go power and library. It is not impossible.

Niches can't be manufactured?
Heard of the IPad before?

There are plenty of smartphone games that make you think "this would be better with physical controls". The iOS platforms have things like the iCade and often iOS reviewers state that they think game XYZ is way better on the iCade than a regular iPhone/iPad. Yet those peripherals are limited by Apple's rules (games are not allowed to mention their compatibility with gaming peripherals on the app store). The Xperia Play has the advantage of being an official, legitimate platform so you get a lot of "supports Xperia Play" mentions on games but it seems like iOS has a better game library (or at least it's insanely difficult to find out about quality Android games that aren't in the top 100).

Sure, touchscreen-specific games won't benefit from physical controls but there are plenty of games that use traditional designs and only go onto smartphones because of the ease of digital publishing there.

As for the phone itself, the current price may not look like it but the thing is designed as a high tier phone and comes with a lot of accessories in the box, my Play had significantly more stuff than my father's Arc S (not sure about the exact type but it cost him 250€ while I paid 270€ for a Play) yet they're roughly the same price now.

Oh also the Play is much more portable than all those control add-ons for iPhones and stuff.

I just don't see why people aren't buying these. They're the ultimate all-in-one mobile device. The only area they are apparently lacking is in quality optimized titles, though from my experience there are quite a few good games that have been modified or created stock to include Play support (Dead Space, Rainbow 6, GTAIII, Modern Combat 3, Asphalt 6, Minecraft, Sonic CD, Worms, etc), plus enough perfectly running emulated games (up to N64 and PSone era) and every other game on the Android market to get your fill. They certainly aren't perfect (the touch pads are a little finicky and it'll be considered underpowered next to the rest of the market soon enough), but it's worth it just to be able to play something anytime and not worry about whether you might need your PSP or DS.

I don't know, this seems to be abusing hindsight. The main complaints I've heard from 'hardcore' gamers towards iOS/Android gaming is that, one, it's too 'casual' (that is, not fit for long, intense sessions) (that's what she said!) and two, there's no feedback for buttons which makes playing too difficult. The Xperia solves both of these, so the concept at least can't be why it failed.

I didnt know this was released.
I never saw commercials for it or saw it at stores.
Bad marketing sony

As a retro gaming and emulator enthusiast I gotta say I love my Play (especially since I spend up to an hour each way commuting during the week). This phone got next to no promotion in Australia and it is obvious that Sony dropped the ball with promotion and support.

And did I mention I love my Play (hugs phone)

you talk about how using the console like controls on the phone is archaic or whatever. I don't think this is the reason.

I think the reason why the xperia play sucked is because it sucked. Sony cut out everything that could possibly have created a good gaming device, be it a budget GPU, a cheap CPU, and a low res screen. When the phone came out, there were other, high calibre phones with a similar price point that actually had better internal specs than the play. If you would have taken the innards of a vita and put them in a phone, I think we'd be reading a different article.

The xperia play would have been amazing had it come out in early 2009 or so. Now it just seems like a cheap waste of money; a plastic toy in a sea of hard core games and addictive puzzles.

I actually spent $700 on this phone as an investment for a solo game development plan that'll probably never happen because of a laughable lack of resources. Not only that, but I wanted to make a game with only myself in mind, because who the fuck would want to play a grid RPG that moves like a roguelike, that isn't even a "real" roguelike?

Yeah, I should hang myself to appease the elitist masses.

Got this one with my contract. Its alright but I hate what gameloft has to offer... Its nothing but shovelware. So there really isnt much here for me. Android needs more games BIG TIME. It needs developers to develop and gamers to buy games. For some reason that happens very rarely on android.

The phone itself is flawed. The touchpads are nearly useless. Rockstar knew this, they barely used them in GTA3 but everyone else who tried to use them like sticks failed. The technology wasnt there. When you can play a shooter more easily on a touch screen than a n attached controller people start to wonder what the controller is any good for in the first place.

Mimsofthedawg:
you talk about how using the console like controls on the phone is archaic or whatever. I don't think this is the reason.

I think the reason why the xperia play sucked is because it sucked. Sony cut out everything that could possibly have created a good gaming device, be it a budget GPU, a cheap CPU, and a low res screen. When the phone came out, there were other, high calibre phones with a similar price point that actually had better internal specs than the play. If you would have taken the innards of a vita and put them in a phone, I think we'd be reading a different article.

The xperia play would have been amazing had it come out in early 2009 or so. Now it just seems like a cheap waste of money; a plastic toy in a sea of hard core games and addictive puzzles.

In what way does the XPlay have a cheap GPU, CPU or low res screen? It isn't top of the range, but it wasn't positioned that way. The Arc S was supposed to be the flagship. The Adreno 205 GPU is one of the better GPUs and a 1GHz CPU is in no way out dated unless compared to the top end dual core superphones. Just have a look at FIFA 12 for the power of the device

I know it has it's flaws, but I do find it bizarre some of the criticism that's levelled at it which is clearly untrue.

I considered buying the Playstation Phone but I really didn't like the touchpad things, I was more confident in the app library available for the iPhone and the Playstation Phone doesn't connect to the PSN (the last two were in retrospect but still valid).

number2301:

Mimsofthedawg:
you talk about how using the console like controls on the phone is archaic or whatever. I don't think this is the reason.

I think the reason why the xperia play sucked is because it sucked. Sony cut out everything that could possibly have created a good gaming device, be it a budget GPU, a cheap CPU, and a low res screen. When the phone came out, there were other, high calibre phones with a similar price point that actually had better internal specs than the play. If you would have taken the innards of a vita and put them in a phone, I think we'd be reading a different article.

The xperia play would have been amazing had it come out in early 2009 or so. Now it just seems like a cheap waste of money; a plastic toy in a sea of hard core games and addictive puzzles.

In what way does the XPlay have a cheap GPU, CPU or low res screen? It isn't top of the range, but it wasn't positioned that way. The Arc S was supposed to be the flagship. The Adreno 205 GPU is one of the better GPUs and a 1GHz CPU is in no way out dated unless compared to the top end dual core superphones. Just have a look at FIFA 12 for the power of the device

I know it has it's flaws, but I do find it bizarre some of the criticism that's levelled at it which is clearly untrue.

as compared to the Vita.

Seriously, I think a lot of consumers heard the Vita was gonna come out and decided to wait for that instead of the Play. I know I did.

Mimsofthedawg:

number2301:

Mimsofthedawg:
you talk about how using the console like controls on the phone is archaic or whatever. I don't think this is the reason.

I think the reason why the xperia play sucked is because it sucked. Sony cut out everything that could possibly have created a good gaming device, be it a budget GPU, a cheap CPU, and a low res screen. When the phone came out, there were other, high calibre phones with a similar price point that actually had better internal specs than the play. If you would have taken the innards of a vita and put them in a phone, I think we'd be reading a different article.

The xperia play would have been amazing had it come out in early 2009 or so. Now it just seems like a cheap waste of money; a plastic toy in a sea of hard core games and addictive puzzles.

In what way does the XPlay have a cheap GPU, CPU or low res screen? It isn't top of the range, but it wasn't positioned that way. The Arc S was supposed to be the flagship. The Adreno 205 GPU is one of the better GPUs and a 1GHz CPU is in no way out dated unless compared to the top end dual core superphones. Just have a look at FIFA 12 for the power of the device

I know it has it's flaws, but I do find it bizarre some of the criticism that's levelled at it which is clearly untrue.

as compared to the Vita.

Seriously, I think a lot of consumers heard the Vita was gonna come out and decided to wait for that instead of the Play. I know I did.

But the Vita isn't a phone, and the XPlay isn't a dedicated handheld. I really fail to see how they're in any way comparable. I may as well say the PS3 can't cook 4 slices of toast at once.

number2301:

Mimsofthedawg:

number2301:

In what way does the XPlay have a cheap GPU, CPU or low res screen? It isn't top of the range, but it wasn't positioned that way. The Arc S was supposed to be the flagship. The Adreno 205 GPU is one of the better GPUs and a 1GHz CPU is in no way out dated unless compared to the top end dual core superphones. Just have a look at FIFA 12 for the power of the device

I know it has it's flaws, but I do find it bizarre some of the criticism that's levelled at it which is clearly untrue.

as compared to the Vita.

Seriously, I think a lot of consumers heard the Vita was gonna come out and decided to wait for that instead of the Play. I know I did.

But the Vita isn't a phone, and the XPlay isn't a dedicated handheld. I really fail to see how they're in any way comparable. I may as well say the PS3 can't cook 4 slices of toast at once.

you're just being willfully difficult, so I won't continue discussing this with you.

Nevertheless, it appears the common consensus on this forum is, "If Sony would have put a little more effort and push behind it, maybe things could have turned out a bit better."

The Play was pretty poorly timed. It was designed with the peak of technology, sure, but right at the end of that technology's lifetime- the Adreno 205, for instance, had been the best gpu for a couple of years, but not half a year from Play launch and we've got dualcore smartphones. They should have held out a little bit longer for stronger technology and they should have priced the games lower.
Nevertheless, I bought the Play on launch at full price and am extremely well pleased with it. Its only downside is that it is a little bit heavier; its immediate upside is that it has dual-channel ram, the first phone to do so. It's faster than most and feels very good in the hand, the camera is good (720p video) and the LED flash is amazing, and it's very sturdy (I've dropped it from 5 feet while running, kicked it on it's way down, watched it hit concrete and bounce through gravel as it landed, all with the control deck extended, and it has lost no functionality and the casing was only slightly scratched).
Of course, I didn't buy it for it's good design and powerful internals; SONY BUILT A PSX EMULATOR RIGHT IN. They don't remake the games to run on the phone, they have software on the phone that runs any old rom you've got kicking around, even PSP games. Flawlessly. It's magnificent. You just have to use a simple utility to compile your rom to a .apk to install. Boom, check it: https://github.com/yifanlu/PSXperia/wiki I play WipeOut 3 on my phone all day, bitches.
Beyond that, of course, is Yonghz's Nintendo 64 emulator, n64oid, on the SlideMe market; in its latest release, I can play Smash Bros, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Star Fox 64, Kirby's Dreamland etc all perfectly. And with the touchpad. I like this more than the PSX emulator, honestly.
There are of course also Yonghz's Sega Genesis, GBC, GBA, SNES, NES, Atari etc etc emulators, and they all work perfectly with the control deck too. I really, really love this phone

All Sony needed to do to give the Xperia a chance at success was to allow people buy compatible games (PS1 and minis at minimum) off the PSN on their existing account and to also transfer over games they've already purchased.

That's it. That right there would have given tons of people pause and have them considering an Xperia for their next phone. I considered it nonetheless but when it came down to it there was nothing really on offer that couldn't be done better on another phone, except of course for the physical controls.

I dunno... I guess we'll see if a few years down the road, with Sony in full charge of the cell phone division, they can offer a real, viable gaming phone. There's still lots of PS1 classics worth playing on a phone, and I'm sure there'll be even more in the future, especially if they can make multi-tasking or some sort of background sleep mode work without killing the battery too fast. This would allow some of the longer and more involved games to be played in bite sized chunks forcing users to wait through saves and loads every single time.

At this point I have my doubts, but if the Vita is anything to go by, Sony has the capability to make the device, I just wonder if they have the will and someone who can look at it critically and make the right decisions to give it a chance of success.

Not too impressed with this article as it is an opinion piece without much to back it up.

Personally I looked into getting one recently. My brother and nephew both have one and love it, but for me it looked like a good gaming system, but not as good for a smart phone. I already have a psp, but I wanted a good phone.

If sony were to make the phone comparable to any others and have the gaming options I would buy one.

I don't like touchscreens. They're too imprecise for gaming. That being said, I think Sony was on the right path here and I was looking forward to seeing what they would come up with. I think where Sony went wrong however was with the lack of advertising, and the overall design. I personally don't believe that you need anything more than a directional pad and a few buttons tacked on somewhere. I also don't like how they're pulling out the vita now too and dumping support for this phone. I have to be honest here, with modern processors, there's no reason we can't cheaply combine a smartphone and portable gaming unit.

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