After years of asking, we finally have our PlayStation phone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. The Xperia Play comes with a 16GB memory card, which we soon populated with a few games for a quick review and a look at a few of the phone’s features. Our sister site, Mobot, did a more technical review here.
With an aim to improve sales, the price of the device has recently been slashed by almost a half to around £299 for those wishing to purchase the handset on its own. So let’s take a look from a gamer’s perspective at how the device holds up.
FIFA 10: There's a hell of a lot of content here despite it being a mobile version. Management mode, Be a Pro, skill moves, commentary and leagues from all around the world are included. The main issues come from the device itself as the d-pad feels too flat for movement and the analogue pad can only be used for dribbling. Being able to tap a player on-screen to switch to him is a neat touch though. The graphics are of a high standard for portables too.
The Xperia Play, Sony Ericsson's oft-leaked "Playstation Phone," is set to launch on April 1st... but it appears that a shipping problem will adversely affect the number of units to reach UK shores. Not only that, but Vodafone have joined O2 in refusing to ship the device tomorrow. More details below.Click here for the full story >>
So the cat's out of the bag, the Playstation Phone exists, it functions, and it looks...interesting. The tech heads over on the Mobot side of the office took the tipping canoe down to Spain to check it out, as you can see in the video above, and they were pretty impressed by it.
Let's start off with the way it looks. The Xperia Play, at first glance, looks a little like a more angular PSPGo in many ways. But whilst the Go was a largely unnecessary, overpriced gadget that attempted to reanimate the leprous corpse that was the PSP, the Xperia Play represents something of a middle ground between mobile app-related gaming and a more traditional handheld console. It's a middle ground that's slowly going to become smaller and smaller as it becomes more and more crowded until the separation between the two is non-existent.
As Lewis suggested in his response to the preview, the Xperia Play might look to be a pretty nice bit of kit. It'll be sporting Android Gingerbread, come loaded with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and have an Adreno 205 running the graphics side of things:
In terms of software support, there’ll be around 50 games available at launch, with an as-yet-unconfirmed PSOne Classic. The PlayStation Phone has the backing of 20 developers, including Electronic Arts and Gameloft. On top of PlayStation Suite, the Xperia Play will also have access to apps on the Android Market.
Games are expected to sell for €3-7, which seems entirely reasonable. But how well do they actually run? [...] Games zip along at a smooth 60 frames per second. No complaints from me after a fairly lengthy session on Asphalt 6: Adrenaline.
That's an impressive start when it comes to the mobile market, but Lewis highlights the possibility that a high price point might well alienate a casual crowd and gear the device more towards hardcore gamers. Sony have suggested to press this week that they learned their mistakes from the PS3, but they were talking about the NGP. For the Xperia Play to have any kind of success it'll need to at least match the superlative iPhone 4 if not undercut it.Click here to read the rest of Matt's article...
About time too. Sony Ericsson have finally officially revealed the most-leaked gaming secret of all time: the Xperia Play mobile handset. A new (and frankly pants) trailer made its global premier during the Superbowl last night, outing the device in all of its... obviousness. At least we can get down to gritty details now that the cat's out of the bag.
Sony simultaneously delivered an official Facebook announcement that states that we're in for a full reveal next Sunday. Naturally we'll bring you the latest. Mobot has more on the story.
With Sony's Playstation Suite already set to offer Playstation content to Android customers, the Xperia Play's potential consumer base is getting smaller by the day. Are you excited about the new Sony-branded mobile? Have your say in the comments!
EA and DICE unveiled Battlefield 3 last Friday, revealing 64-player online battles and a slew of real world locations. However, Battlefield 3 Gameplay Designer Alan Kertz has thrown down the gauntlet during a recent twitter Q&A session. In an blatant statement of intent, the DICE designer promised that BF3 will "kill" the Call Of Duty franchise simply by being a "better shooter."
You don’t kill CoD by trying to be CoD. You kill CoD by making a better shooter.
Sounds like a plan, Kertz. We're all as fed up of hearing the phrase "CoD Clone" as we are of actually seeing them on the shelves- and after Battlefiend: Bad Company 2 managed to irreversibly poach many gamers away from Call Of Duty, Battlefield 3 may well be able to finish the job.
Subsequent twitter posts served to confirm a few details that we learned on Friday, including the ability to go prone and the presence of Tehran as an in-game environment. Kertz also suggested that the weapons and field of view systems will be upgraded. [Twitter]
DICE have also released a new video of Frostbite 2.0 in action.
No one makes an arcade flight sim like Namco Bandai. The Ace Combat series continually raises the bar in terms of visual competence and control accessibility- so we've naturally been keeping a close eye on Assault Horizon.
This latest gameplay trailer rendered us into slobbery slack-jawed ecstasy, thanks mainly to improved close combat mechanics and damage models. Consider Assault Horizon upgraded from 'one to watch' into fully fledged 'where's the cheapest preorder?' territory. It's set for a simultaneous release on PS3 and Xbox 360 some time this year.
This weekend heralded a slew of previews and content for Sony Ericsson's as-yet-unannounced Zeus "Playstation Phone," but a new video has surfaced that actually shows emulated PS1 games running on the device. Resident Evil 2 and Rage Racer both seem to run extremely well using a ROM emulator rather than the Playstation Pocket application, though once again, it's worth noting that this may still represent a demo unit that may not entirely resemble the full retail release. When Sony finally gets around to unveiling it, that is.
The apparent presence of a homebrew emulator also raises a few more intriguing questions about whether the firmware will support third party software. SCE are known for their draconian measures to prevent homebrew entertainment and piracy on the PSP, so it will be very interesting to see what Sony Ericsson make of the issue.
Telltale Games are known for their characteristically cartoony visuals and goofy art direction (clearly demonstrated by the recently-released Back To The Future Part One), but their upcoming Jurassic Park is set to change all that. The five-episode story is designed to be a sequel to the first film, taking place just after the ... and overtly taking its cues from PS3 blockbuster Heavy Rain.
The atmosphere will be grim, moody and realistic (with, we assume, plenty of weighty precipitation)- and the action will apparently use frequent QTEs that provide meaningful multiple consequences depending on success or failure.
We'll keep an open mind. The first Jurassic Park episode is slated for a Spring PC release and we'll keep you posted.
Update: Randy Pitchford has stated that the original article was "inaccurate" and "misleading"... but still hasn't given us any hint about when it's set for release. Apparently we'll hear more "very soon."
Gearbox are still soldiering away on Aliens: Colonial Marines despite pressure to release Duke Nukem Forever on time (a sentence that I'd never expected to write in my lifetime), but CEO Randy Pitchford has unfortunately confirmed that it will not hit shelves until 2012 at the earliest. Until then, I'm afraid that we'll have to make do with the thoroughly underwhelming Aliens vs Predator. [via D'Toid]
We're mostly disappointed. Mostly.
Netherrealm's Mortal Kombat reboot still hasn't got a firm release date beyond some point in April, but two new characters have been confirmed. The multi-limbed boss Goro and Shao-Khan's personal assassin Jade will both be making a playable appearance and hopefully balanced accordingly.
God Of War's Kratos has long been confirmed as a PS3-exclusive character, prompting many Xbox 360 owners to wonder about who they'll be able to boast about in the forums. It looks like you'll just have to sit there and take it, I'm afraid, because a recent missive from the official MK twitter account suggests that there won't be an exclusive fighter in the Xbox 360 version. Their capitalisation, not ours. [Examiner]
The ONLY exclusive is Kratos to PS3.
Finally, Netherrealm have rolled out a new trailer featuring the psychotic Mileena and some truly disturbing dating advice.
Sony Ericsson and SCE have been coyly teasing us with the existence of the Zeus "Playstation Phone" Z1 for a few months now. It's currently the worst kept gaming secret in the industry- but a new report from Engadget suggests that the gaffe has finally been blown wide open.
Chinese site IT168 has extensively tested and put the Zeus through its paces- resulting in some fairly impressive specifications. A framerate benchmark of 59.1 FPS is made possible by a Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU, backed up by a 1GHz Snapdragon QSD8255 CPU (which is currently used by the HTC Desire HD handset, suggesting similar basic performance). A five megapixel camera and a second noise-cancelling microphone on the rear of the unit provide some nifty hardware, along with 512 MB of RAM and ROM. Oh, and the Playstation App is now officially called Playstation Pocket. Just so you know.
Note that the demo model is just that: a demo model. As Sony still hasn't deigned to formally announce the device, there's every likelihood that the hardware and firmware will be changed or tweaked before release. We'll keep you posted. [IT168 via Engadget]
Are you excited about the Playstation Phone... or are you just getting bored of the whole thing? Is there room in the market- and your pocket- for it? Have your say in the comments!
The iPhone has blossomed from a risible casual diversion into a bona fide gaming platform... much to Nintendo's dismay. Ninty's top brass have previously admitted to feeling threatened by Apple's surge into the games industry, but in a recent CNBC interview, NoA Boss Reggie Fils-Aime has shrugged it all off . When asked about the competition from Apple, Reggie casually dismissed their rivals by stating that the 3DS' software lineup would guarantee victory in the marketplace.
You win by great content. We’re fortunate to have franchises like Mario, like Zelda, like Donkey Kong. All of these great franchises motivate consumers to buy the software, and what they’re looking for is that in-depth, great experience – and that’s what we offer.
He's not wrong about the content. The 3DS has an insanely strong launch lineup and an unprecedented list of publishers who have sworn fealty to the device even at this early stage. [MSNBC.com]
Will you be buying a 3DS... or do you have an app for that? You known the drill.
HMV has revealed the full details and pricing of Killzone 3's UK-exclusive Helghast Edition. It'll set players back the princely sum of £112; providing a replica Helghast helmet, Sniper figurine, art book and a DLC voucher full of maps, themes and a multiplayer head-start. We'll be watching this one like a hawk, but it might be worth saving a few pennies [11200 to be exact- Ed] before the February 25th release date.
Guerilla Games also released a truly epic new story trailer that shows off the conflict between the legendary Malcom McDowell and Ray Winstone... and because we didn't have room to include it yesterday, it's high time we did so. Are you sitting comfortably?
We recently featured some pictures of a purposed Playstation Phone protoytype... and whilst the jury's still out over whether Engadget's report is completely kosher, it's certainly based on solid intel if recent comments from upper management are to be believed. Bert Nordberg, Sony Ericsson CEO, has waded into the debate with an extremely inflammatory statement.
There's a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere. Sony has an extremely strong offering in the gaming market, and that's very interesting. - CEO Nordberg to the Wall Street Journal.
Clang. This could possibly mean that better games firmware or even PSN functionality might be headed to future Sony Ericsson handsets... but it's far more likely that the PSP branded phone is indeed in development. Considering Microsoft's latest venture into the mobile marketplace, it would be odd for the hardware-oriented Sony to shy away from a confrontation. [Wall Street Journal via Games Industry]
Fallout: New Vegas will receive its first DLC pack on December 21st. Dead Money is an Xbox360 exclusive for the time being (we assume that the PS3 and PC versions will be announced in the new year), but to whet your appetite, senior designer Chris Avellone has dropped a huge amount of exciting new details in Bethesda's latest blog entry.
You can read up on the massive info dump here, but here's what you need to know. Dead Money will be set in Sierra Madre, an opulent casino resort that fell into legend after only one exporer ever returned to talk about it. Players will be lured to the resort by a radio broadcast and the promise of treasure, only to encounter heavy resistance from the mysterious Ghost People and the Casino's formidable defence systems.
Much like Fallout 3's DLC packs, Dead Money can be accessed by loading up a any save file after installation. [Bethesda Newsletter via Wikia]
Microsoft has been put up a huge amount of flak and bluster in the wake of multiple Kinect hacks hitting the homebrew scene. Microsoft's new peripheral has been used to create entirely new PC user interfaces and even allows a robot to see... and despite threatening the "hackers" with multiple lawsuits, a recent interview with senior Microsoft developers has revealed that the software giant doesn't plan to take them to court. Microsoft's Shannon Liftis and Alex Kipman have stated that no-one will get in trouble over the hacked drivers.
INTERVIEWER: So you have no problem with Microsoft, with the people using the open-source drivers then?
Ms. LOFTIS: As an experienced creator, I'm very excited to see that people are so inspired that it was less than a week after the Kinect came out before they had started creating and thinking about what they could do.
INTERVIEWER: So no one is going to get in trouble?
Mr. KIPMAN: Nope. Absolutely not.
Ms. LOFTIS: No.
INTERVIEWER: You heard it right from the mouth of Microsoft.
We're still of the opinion that the PC homebrew crowd represent an entirely new and unexpected target audience for Kinect. Hire these guys and open up your market, Microsoft! [NPR]
As wild rumours have been flying around this week suggesting that Apple are looking to buy Disney or Facebook or Sony, a spot of old, but very interesting, news has surfaced about an almost-event that could have changed the face of gaming as we know it. Speaking to Develop, Tuncer Deniz, a project lead at Bungie back in the day, suggested that round the turn of the millennium, the studio's bosses contacted Apple to see if they were interested in buying them:
Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, 'asked Steve, who said no,' Deniz told Develop. '[But] after a week, Steve said yes. Schiller calls Bungie, but Bungie had already consummated the deal with Microsoft'.
This, of course, comes mere hours after it was revealed that Steve Jobs 'went bananas', as Kotaku put it, at Microsoft's Steve Ballmer after losing the studio behind Marathon to Apple's main rival. Would the Xbox have survived without Halo? Would Apple have kicked serious arse? Would we have had to pray to Steve Jobs before every multiplayer bout of Slayer? In a parallel universe somewhere, you could be storming ONI's Sword base on an iPad!
There was a period during the last decade where, every time a group of teens who talked too much sat down to play some video games, it would almost certainly be in front of Dynasty Warriors. For what it's worth, I have a soft spot for Koei's mash 'em up. It's bland, banal and repetitive, but it's excellent for a good few hours of kicking back with a buddy, when you don't want to think to hard. And the good news? There's another one coming out!
At a press conference held yesterday in Japan, Tecmo Keoi announced that Dynasty Warriors 7 is indeed a reality. There's a new addition to the story, although these games were never really all about the narrative, with the Kingdom of Jin being introduced, the game will be 3D compatible and there'll be more characters than ever.
Most excitingly, perhaps, is the addition of Chronicles mode, which sees the return of character creation and allows you to kick butt across ancient China and make yourself a legend rather than filling someone else's boots. No joy for Xbox owners, mind. This one's solely for the PS3 and there's been no news of a US release date as yet. [1UP]
Analyst SharesPost recently valued Zynga at $5.51 billion, double what the social gaming company was worth a mere six months ago back in March this year.
Although these figures are only estimates, if accurate it puts Zynga ahead of the NASDAQ value of EA, which is $5,16 billion, according to Businessweek.
EA's share prices have been a little up and down over the last few months, climbing steadily in anticipation of Medal of Honor, before falling a little and rising again following the acquisition of Chillingo. With Playfish already within their arsenal, EA might not be too worried, though.
Activision Blizzard certainly won't be, what with being currently valued at $13.9 billion. [GamesIndustry.biz]
Engadget has apparently seen the PlayStation Phone. Allegedly, it's real, looks a little bit like the PSPGo (although reports suggest it's far more powerful), and will likely boast Android 3.0.
In terms of specs, the model Engadget displayed was said to be loaded with a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor (200MHz faster than the similar chip found in the G2), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. There'll supposedly be a custom Sony Marketplace for game downloads, a multitouch trackpad and support for microSD cards.
No news on PSN compatibility, but with Microsoft heavily selling LIVE along with the Windows Phone 7 experience, we certainly wouldn't rule it out. We're pretty psyched about this if it's true (I might not need to buy an iPhone after all! Yippeeeee!!! - Ed), but are you? Let us know below in the comments box.