Now’s the perfect time for Sony to resurrect the Xperia Play

Now's the perfect time for Sony to resurrect the Xperia Play

Gaming portable devices are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. While the Nintendo Switch kickstarted this trend, Valve’s Steam Deck took it to new heights, opening the door for ambitious products like the Logitech G Cloud, Razer Edge 5G, Asus ROG Ally, and many others.

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However, Sony’s recent hint about its own handheld gaming device, Project Q, left many people puzzled. The company didn’t reveal many details, but it seems that the device will primarily focus on streaming games from your console. This might not be what the market needs at the moment. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that Sony should give up. In fact, this could be the perfect time for a true successor to the Xperia Play smartphone. The Xperia Play generated a lot of excitement before its release but failed to gain traction, leading Sony to eventually abandon the project. However, with the growing market for handheld gaming devices, the device often referred to as the “PlayStation Phone” could make a comeback.

So, what features should a modern Xperia Play phone possess in order to succeed?

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While there are several gaming phones available, such as the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, and numerous game controllers that can turn smartphones into gaming handhelds, there is currently no modern smartphone that combines both aspects seamlessly, like the Xperia Play did. Though some devices from brands like MOQI can be imported from overseas, most consumers prefer a hassle-free experience.

Consumers also expect modern components, high-quality hardware, an appealing design, and reliable support from a well-established brand. Fortunately, Sony has a proven track record of creating exceptional hardware, evident in their current Xperia smartphones and their previous handheld consoles like the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita).

However, one major challenge lies in the content. The Steam Deck, for instance, provides access to a vast PC gaming library on the go, while excellent Android phones and devices like the Logitech G Cloud, which run on Android, offer a plethora of options through the Google Play Store and cloud streaming. Although the Xperia Play would also be based on Android, it needs to distinguish itself from the competition and justify its existence as more than just another smartphone.

To be competitive, if Sony were to develop a new Xperia Play, it would need to offer an exceptional selection of games exclusive to the platform. By leveraging its existing PlayStation Plus service, Sony could extend its mobile reach and potentially introduce a competitor to Xbox Game Pass. Currently, PlayStation Plus provides various benefits, including free games, cloud storage, access to Sony’s classic game catalog in higher tiers, and even cloud streaming.

If Sony were to incorporate its cloud streaming service into a new Xperia Play, it would gain a significant advantage, granting users instant access to hundreds of games and addressing one of the major challenges faced by its predecessor. Additionally, Sony could offer cloud storage to Xperia Play users, providing them with an appealing bonus feature and a convenient place to store photos and videos. This service is already available for PS5, PS4, and Windows PC, so there would be no need to build it from scratch.

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Expanding this service beyond the current user base would be an incredible way to support a new gaming smartphone. While developing an app for Android could present some challenges, Sony could potentially utilize emulation, similar to what they did with the original Xperia Play. Despite the hardware limitations at the time, the built-in emulator worked well and allowed for the successful running of games like Crash Bandicoot. The capabilities of the phone’s emulator were demonstrated in a deep dive by Modern Vintage Gamer, which showcased its ability to run many PS1 games flawlessly.

If all else fails, the Xperia Play could rely on the vast array of amazing games available for Android, including those found on the Google Play Store and games.

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