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In-Depth Look At the Xperia Play

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the convergent-technology dept.

Handhelds 39

Eurogamer has done an extensive evaluation of Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play device, a smartphone that's also a dedicated gaming platform complete with controller-style buttons. Here's some of what they had to say: "On the subject of internal parts, gadget fiends are certain to feel aggrieved by the lack of a dual-core processor. Although the Xperia Play's 1GHz CPU performs admirably in general tasks, it lacks the future-proofing of a more advanced chip. ... The negativity quickly dissipates once you slide open those glorious PlayStation-style controls, however. Although we've seen gaming interfaces on mobiles before (on the N-Gage and the under-appreciated Sagem MyG-5), they pale into insignificance next to what's presented here. ... One aspect of the Xperia Play's gaming portfolio that so far hasn't been bellowed from the rooftops by Sony Ericsson's PR is emulation. Such reluctance is perfectly understandable, given the shady nature of ROM-sharing and the like. ... However, the fact remains that retro gaming emulators are freely available on the Android Market, and they open up an entire world of gaming brilliance."

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A Desperate Creeper (0)

Sacrieur (2035314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35763738)

I shall not be satisfied until I see Minecraft support :

But...Sony? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35763830)

However, the fact remains that retro gaming emulators are freely available on the Android Market, and they open up an entire world of gaming brilliance

It being a Sony device however, one wonders how long it will be until they refuse to allow any firmware updates to this devices that don't explicitly lock out "undesired" apps...or just silently reports that you're using them so they can send their army of attack lawyers after you =)

the law says you have the right to hack phone (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35763860)

the law says you have the right to hack your phone for any app and any network.

Re:the law says you have the right to hack phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35763936)

Yes, but "the law" (quite a vague term there) also says that the use of ROMs and emulation is illegal, at least here in the USA (thanks DMCA!). We've seen Sony suddenly change their mind and lock down other devices before, regardless of the supposed legality of it (hi GeoHot!), why would it surprise you if they pushed out a boot ROM update that prevented you from installing anything other than Sony(tm) Android OS, and disabled your device until you updated? Sure, there'd be the few folks who jailbreak the device and install custom boot ROMs, but after what's going on with GeoHot, the number of people willing to risk the wrath of Sony is probably smaller, I'd imagine. I don't really know myself as I haven't bought or owned a Sony-branded device ever since they screwed MD hard back in the early 90's =P

Re:the law says you have the right to hack phone (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764024)

What does it really matter ? This device is 500 euros. How many teenagers will seriously be able to afford that ?

Re:the law says you have the right to hack phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35768924)

The same ones blowing that much on i-devices? It's roughly the same cost if you buy it off contract.

Re:the law says you have the right to hack phone (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764046)

That's not true. Emulation isn't illegal and the DMCA didn't change that. ROMs themselves are a bit greyer in terms of legality, the last court decision making personal on that being a really long time ago and during a time when getting replacement carts was a lot easier. ROM private ownership [wikipedia.org]

Re:the law says you have the right to hack phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764276)

the law says you have the right to hack your phone for any app and any network.

Correct. It also says that the only way to enforce that right is to take Sony and their battalion of lawyers to court; have *you* got a spare $10 million laying around to blow?

Re:But...Sony? (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764064)

With an unlockable bootloader [sonyericsson.com] , the device isn't looking too bad.

Re:But...Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35768628)

However, the fact remains that retro gaming emulators are freely available on the Android Market, and they open up an entire world of gaming brilliance

It being a Sony device however, one wonders how long it will be until they refuse to allow any firmware updates to this devices that don't explicitly lock out "undesired" apps...or just silently reports that you're using them so they can send their army of attack lawyers after you =)

I doubt that Sony cares as long as the apps don't emulate their own consoles. And besides, if they incur issues with other console manufacturers, they could just point out that they don't directly control the "open ecosystem" of the Android market.

Cell phone gaming stinks, but these devices seem to be better options than devices with only touch screens.

psp is obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35763940)

i have 3 psps (2 second hand) and they arw mostly in the drawer. I'm not getting any more sony stuff after they raped geohot.

Re:psp is obsolete (3, Funny)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35763982)

Can I have them please? Don't throw away good hardware just because you hate the people that made it...

Re:psp is obsolete (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764966)

fuck geohot. the guy is a little faggot who deserves nothing less than to be ass raped in prison by a gang of large black men.

fuck sony (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35763970)

^^

ugh (3, Interesting)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764032)

"glorious PlayStation-style controls"

OK, they're almost certainly better than the ngage, but "glorious"?!

In general, Sony has an absolutely awful record with controllers... The (in)famous Sony "dpad of pain"... the awkward analogue stick placement on the dualshock and descendents.... the crappy PSP nub... the cramped and awkward PSPgo controls... ugh. Sony has many strengths, but designing gaming controls isn't one of them.

A quick look at the article isn't very reassuring: The "Xperia Play" has (1) the dpad-of-pain, and (2) some awkwardly-placed "touch sensitive disks" with no tactile feedback...

PSPgo2 anybody?

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764168)

I agree that Sony always, always fails in this department(don't forget that they were the first company to ever get analog trigger buttons wrong), but as far as controls on mobile phones go, it's as good as it gets for now. In order for mobile phones to ever be taken seriously as game platforms, they absolutely need to at least have a tactile d-pad and buttons.

Re:ugh (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764258)

As much as I hate MS, the fact is that I've never had a more comfortable controller than the ones they sell for the Xbox 360. (No, I don't own an Xbox, some PC games are borderline unplayable without it)

The controller that they include with the PS3 is really, really bad. It's made for little kids and they've refused to offer a controller designed for adults. I get that there's a cultural thing about face in Japan, but ruining products with this sort of lack of attention to detail is ridiculous.

Re:ugh (2)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764394)

The controller that they include with the PS3 is really, really bad. It's made for little kids and they've refused to offer a controller designed for adults. I get that there's a cultural thing about face in Japan, but ruining products with this sort of lack of attention to detail is ridiculous.

No idea what you mean by "made for little kids," but I think you're quite off the mark about "Japan": in most cases Japanese companies are insanely customer-focused, and very detail oriented, and go to great lengths to please the customer, even if it means swallowing their pride; they pay a lot of attention to customer reaction.

However, Sony -- or maybe more properly, SCE -- does indeed seem to have a bit of a stubborn streak. Some of that is probably rooted in the tendency of Japanese firms to tinker endlessly with details over a very long time trying to perfect them, but I think a lot of it stems from the somewhat atypical arrogance of SCE, which is due to both its astonishing but somewhat unexpected success in the mid-90s, and the personalities of its founders. I think some of this attitude in the greater Sony organization results from the lopsided influence of SCE.

[I work in Japan for a Japanese consumer electronics firm.]

Re:ugh (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765032)

What I mean is that the controller is tiny. It doesn't fit my hands at all. I can sort of get that they made that the default, but refusing to release one that's reasonably ergonomic for adults was puzzling. Nintendo likewise released a balance board for the Wii which is tiny, granted I've got a big butt, but I'm hardly over weight. It might be fine in Japan, I'm not sure how they size up in the posterior department to us in the US. Japanese companies might be more focused on the customers local to them, but I regularly find that hardware companies from that part of the world make great hardware, but completely ignore any opinions that we have over here about the software components. Frequently the subsidiaries in the US are given little to no say in terms of bringing things to market here.

And yes, I definitely could be wrong in my interpretation of the causation. I just find that companies like Canon and Sony care little if at all about the culture around here. Canon for instance wouldn't named their G4 the G5 for linguistic reasons, but felt perfectly fine releasing a Rebel in the US.

Re:ugh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35766774)

They want to make one controller and that controller has to be small for Japanese and children. Microsoft made a big Xbox controller for a while but sales were soft so that experiment is over for now, they didn't replicate it for the 360. That's too bad for me because I have gigantic hands, but the 360 controller is marginally acceptable.

Re:ugh (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764736)

As much as I hate MS, the fact is that I've never had a more comfortable controller than the ones they sell for the Xbox 360

They get points for placing an analog pad on the right place, but the controller's D-pad is horribly bad.

What I don't get is why someone doesn't just buy (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 3 years ago | (#35766688)

The design for the Sega d-pad that they used for the Genesis 6-button pad and the japanese Saturn controller. That was by far the best d-pad I've ever used.(Yes, better than the Nintendo d-pad which is no slouch.) Actually come to think of it Sega for some reason that would only make sense to them dumped that pad when they made the Dreamcast. (I don't know how many times I wished Sega would have just made an adapter so I could use my Saturn analog controller with my DC.)

Re:ugh (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35767884)

It's made for little kids

No it's not, it's made for normal sized people not the 6 foot 2 inches tall 300 pound, hungry man eating, goatteed, overgrown "dudebros" who only play shooters and sports games that seem to be the Xbox's biggest fans.

In comparison to the shorter pasty japanophile RPG fanboys who like their PS3's and PSP's.

All sarcasm (applied to both groups) aside. I like the dual shock, it's just the right size for me, the Xbox controllers ( and the DC controllerthat it's essentially evolved from) are too big and unconfortable....I suspect that you've got larger than average size hands.

Re:ugh (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 3 years ago | (#35768776)

But the problem is not every big guy owns an x-box (and ever since the S-Controller was made default that's shipped with smaller controllers too). There are 3rd party controllers for most every console, but the quality can be dubious...

Re:ugh (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765162)

In general, Sony has an absolutely awful record with controllers... The (in)famous Sony "dpad of pain"... the awkward analogue stick placement on the dualshock and descendents.... the crappy PSP nub... the cramped and awkward PSPgo controls... ugh. Sony has many strengths, but designing gaming controls isn't one of them.

I dont know what the gripe is with Sony controllers.

I am a bit of an odd case though, because paralysis has forced me to adapt my playing habits to suit my ability. I learned to play videogames with the NES and SNES when I was younger, and as far as im concerned Sony has stuck closest to that control layout. I place the controller on my lap turned like this. [tinypic.com] My index, middle and ring fingers manage face buttons. My ring and pinky fingers manage shoulder triggers and my thumb manages the d-pad and left analog stick.

I can reach all of the buttons just fine, and most of the games are easy enough to play. FPS and the like that require sensitive use of the analog sticks are a bit of a bother, but I manage. The control layouts for Nintendo's gamecube(central analog stick and awkward "z" trigger and Wii(remote AND nunchuck) dont lend themselves to my play style. Microsoft's Xbox controller was just too bulky and the 360's sunken R and L triggers are a pain aswell. I also find it odd that MS decided to switch the positions of the d-pad and analog stick, because im stuck in the ways of the NES and SNES control layout. The PSP in general is a pain, because handhelds are better suited for 2 hands. I do have to agree with you on the nub though. I think it should have more of the sensitivity of the dualshock analog stick. As far as the PSPgo, i've never used one so i cant comment.

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35766394)

The (in)famous Sony "dpad of pain"...

Sorry, I noticed this, and I had to just say that I'm not exactly a gamepad expert, but this is the first time I've ever heard of this "dpad of pain" from Sony. In fact, I prefer Sony's D-Pad over the XBox D-pad.

For one, Sony's d-pad is actually functional and doesn't move around, unlike the XBox's d-pad. I prefer it so much that I use my Sony PS1/PS2 controllers for games on my pc that require 2D platform gaming (e.g. Megadrive games) - it is connected via a PSX to PC adapter. Worth every penny.

I also forgot to mention I have both the XBox 360 and Sony controllers, and I use both for gaming. Xbox 360 controllers can't touch Sony's D-Pad. When I saw the Xperia Play controller, it was exactly what I wanted, since a lot of D-Pad designs are horrible these days.

As for all your other points, I have no opinion

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35767486)

I agree that the 360 d-pad is really shite, but that doesn't make the Sony d-pad good. I much prefer the d-pad on the Wii Classic Controller, for instance, though that isn't saying much. The Street Fighter 4 gamepads that they sold for a while were pretty good, but they're built like shite.

Emulators won't be freely available soon... (1)

poly_pusher (1004145) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764040)

Sony already had the psx emulator removed from the app store. "Emulation" like we have seen in past years is going to become more difficult. The games that are being emulated are now being sold for a few bucks each. This is easy money that rights-holders will be defending so I am sorry this is not a positive thing for emulation in general. You will have to pay Sony 5 bucks for crash bandicoot on your phone even if you already owned the game for the original PSX. WIth an emulator you could rip your library of old games to disk and play it through the emulator. This will not only be discouraged but everyone who makes an emulator will get sued into oblivion...

Re:Emulators won't be freely available soon... (4, Informative)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764082)

Yes, psx4droid was removed, but it's freely available (with source) from his website [zodttd.com] . And it was probably removed because of the name psx4droid. FPse [android.com] is still available in the android market.

Re:Emulators won't be freely available soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35768202)

I thought we disliked people who don't abide by the GPL license? That's why that specific emu (and no others) was removed.

money from emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764052)

You know who could make a lot of sales on this? Sega, with all their old Master System and Genesis games. They've been doing it since the GameCube, and now they finally have a phone worthy of playing Streets of Rage.

experia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764096)

I am still waiting for the update on my original experia x10 would never buy another sony phone

Please remember that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35764124)

the company making this phone is Sony-Ericsson, a joint venture between Sony and Ericsson. This is *not* Sony. Sony may have some influence in the venture, but does not have final say on how the company is run. (Thank your preferred deity for that!) As a matter of fact, if you payed any attention to mobile/telecom news the current head of S-E, Bert Nordberg, came on board from Ericsson about a year ago to replace the previous head who was from Sony! If anything, I think there will be more chance that the carriers (especially in the US) will want to lock things down before Sony-Ericsson does.

I'm no fan of Sony's asshattery, but c'mon people, do your homework so you know who to properly hate.

Did we forget Sony are cocks? (3, Interesting)

jiteo (964572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764836)

What happened to all those cries of boycotting them for their treatment of geohot?

Re:Did we forget Sony are cocks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35766302)

1 ) I don't care about geohot just for the simple fact that anybody that has a grain of intellectually honesty knows that the whole Linux excuse has zero things to do with those hacks. For once he was already at it before there where even talks about removing linux on the PS3. The removal of otheros was because he was using it as a way to break in the console. Linux on the PS3 was a dog to begin with, so I have a hard time imaging there are a lot of people that cared about it. Linux is getting abused by people that just want to have free games. When for example did Nintendo or Microsoft did remove their linux support ?

Wan't an open console buy a Pandora. Want a linux computer pay 50€ for a second hand computer that in normal tasks let the PS3 see every cm of the room. Hell buy a pandora board and beagleboard and connect it to your television, that is pure geekness...

99% of the people using those hacks just want to have free games and couldn't give a fuck about linux or otheros. For me that has nothing to do with hacking, more with cracking.

2) Such corperation consist mostly of smaller firms. It is just stupid to do a boycot because some of departments do stuff you don't like. Not to say it is hypocritical because I know for a fact that in some capacity you have sony products or products where sony products are incorporated... . Hell some of their division has some excellent open source libraries available. Sony picture imageworks comes to mind http://opensource.imageworks.com/ [imageworks.com] . Or are we gonna make a stupid remark because some of their actions conflict with or "bad company X" mantra "that this is *not* Sony".

3) Some of us have a life and other priorities then some "technological religion". With regards of rights there are more important things then the fact that some unused options has been removed. It is not all black & white like some like to make it. They could have chosen for a closed OS instead of pushing Android on their phones.

And now you may mod me down, but you can't mod down the truth how hard you may try.

Re:Did we forget Sony are cocks? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35772290)

YOU are WAY off the mark about Linux being merely an excuse. That PS3 is MINE, it is not for Sony to decide what I can and cannot do with hardware I own, period. I dont care about Geohot as much as I care about the extremely dangerous ground Sony is treading on. 1st amendment > Sony.

monster beats (1)

beats headphone (2037600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35767832)

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this is the site i bought, www.special-beats-headphone.com/ and the most importent is the attractive price, hope it helps you .

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