The Playstation Phone
This brave little device has been impugned and pilloried by virtually every quarter of the internets. The first thing the name evokes upon the hearing, is shades of Nokia’s ill-fated Ngage, thus the system is situated within a pre-existing template whereby boffins may predict its dismal failure. I am not from that camp however; the Playstation phone may indeed fail in spectacular fashion, yet I can at least acknowledge that it is attempting to fill a very real niche in the Android market. The Playstation phone has physical buttons and a dpad, this feature does not sound overly exotic until you consider that virtually every other Android device makes exclusive use of touch input. So, are physical buttons a killer app? That is a question contingent upon a number of variables. First and foremost the Android marketplace has not quite made it as a gaming platform to the same degree as the Apple App Store, yet the growing uptake of Android devices has many people speculating that it is just a matter of time before this deficit is remedied. Now, assuming that Android becomes a viable gaming platform then anyone who has ever attempted to use a virtual dpad will know just how much of a boon this rudimentary physical interface has the potential of becoming. That said, the usefulness of Sony’s interface is highly contingent upon the extent to which app creators feel inclined to program in an option of using the control scheme, which in turn appears highly contingent upon the degree of market penetration that the Playstation phone is able to achieve. Thus at this stage the Playstation phone has a lot of potential going for it, and not much else.
Physical controls may well prove to be a killer app, but in that case it is not unrealistic to imagine that within a couple of generations the other manufacturers will begin to offer their own configurations of physical control schemes. Sony does have something of an ace up their sleeves however, above and beyond anything available to Android users; access to the Playstation Store, a haven mercifully devoid of free app mediocrity, a place of convergence for consumers willing to pay real money for their games. A number of people have expressed their consternation towards the Playstation phone’s viability as a platform for playing Playstation Minis given that the PSP2 is likely to launch by next Holiday Season with vastly superior hardware. This concern I feel is not entirely warranted, given that the PSP2 hardware is far too powerful for the makers of budget downloadable titles to be able to tap into effectively. In all likelihood Playstation Minis will continue to be overrepresented by 2D, with a healthy smattering of crude 3D, and the requirements of the Playstation Store will be pegged to the Playstation Phone spec for a time at least, provided that the platform is somewhat successful. One further point of comment is that Sony look set to shortly release a Playstation app for Android and iOS devices. Now before anyone gets too excited, this app was notionally created to further integrate the social aspect of Sony’s online services into the lives of gamers by allowing communication with people on your friendlist and the viewing of Trophies. This nonetheless raises the possibility that somewhere down the line Sony could conceivably open up the Playstation Store platform to Android and iOS users, if they feel that there is some benefit in their doing so (in much the same fashion as Kindle’s move to iOS devices).
The Playstation phone is an interesting piece of tech with everything to prove. While diminutive in typical smartphone fashion, the dpad interface insures that it rests on the bulkier end of the Android spectrum. This will no doubt be a turn-off for consumers who are not intent on using their Droid for gaming, but I suspect that many gamers will be willing to make the concession provided that the hardware is well supported by developers. The question remains however, who is game to be an early adopter? If I were in the market for a new phone I might be tempted to opt for a Playstation phone, but this is only because I already own a couple of iOS devices. In my estimation the line of Playstation phones is something to watch out for, as it has the potential to fill a very useful niche, yet it would be ill advised to jump headlong into the tech as there is always the potential for it to go the way of the Ngage. At this point I should very much like to canvass the reckons of Lusipurr.com’s Otaku contingent. Would you be willing to trade a little slenderness in order to be able to play android titles with a physical dpad? Do you think the Android marketplace has the capacity to take off like the App Store? Do you have faith that the Playstation Phone will be well supported by Sony and their Playstation Store? Do you consider the Playstation phone an appropriate platform for viewing your loli porn?