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GDC 2011: Xperia Play

Sony Ericsson gave some details earlier today about the Xperia Play, the product once known as the PlayStation Phone. The Xperia Play is the very first PlayStation certified Android phone, with SCE planning on announcing more in the future. The target audience for the phone is not specifically hardcore gamers, and is meant to be more widely appealing. The exact words used were that it is ‘broader than gaming.’

To give some more specific hardware details, the phone has a 4 inch multi-touch screen, with a 60 Hz refresh rate,  a 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7 processor, an Adreno 205 graphics processor, a 5.1 megapixel front and real camera, 854 x 480 resolution, and a scratch-resistant display.

Sony Ericsson also talked about the potential for games being preloaded on the phone, and how the Xperia Play is the official handset of the MLG, or Major League Gaming. Verizon will be the first provider for the phone, though it was mentioned that it could be coming to AT&T at a later time. It was noted that the corporate message during development of the phone has been “making people smile.” It seems to me that they are going to do quite well with that, once this phone comes out. A question was asked if there would be compatibility with games designed for PlayStation Suite, which is intended to beused for downloading original PlayStation games for the Android and PlayStation NGP, but there was no announcement on that specifically.

In order to give an example of how the phone plays, a man from Glu, a game development company, showed off their game Gun Bros. using the PlayStation controls. I noticed that in the center of the screen, the two circular things are like touch pad analog sticks, and they were being used to control the direction of fire and movement of the character. The game is apparently already out on the Android marketplace, but it was interesting to see it in action on a phone actually made for gaming.

There may not have specifically been much shown for games made mainly for the handheld, but from the screenshots of games shown it seems like the Xperia Play will have the quality of graphics similar to early to mid-quality PS2 games. Considering where handheld gaming started, that is still impressive. And even then, games at the launch of any game platform tend to not really push what is possible for it, so with the way it is right now, I could potentially see some very late PS2 visuals on it. If it could do that, this could potentially end up being the best phone for games to have. The Xperia Play is set to release at the end of this month, so it might soon be time to head to your nearest Verizon store and get it preordered.