Sony Ericsson already produces cell phones under Bravia, CyberShot and Walkman brand-names targeting different customers with variable usage models, but has never introduced gamer-oriented mobile phone under PlayStation trademark. But that may change going forward, if the company will see sense in making such devices.
“[PlayStation phone] is obviously something that we’re looking at, but right now I can’t really comment. Before Christmas, certainly… but exactly which Christmas I can’t confirm,” said Peter Ahnegard, Sony Ericsson’s partner manager for third-party game developers for Sony Ericsson’s Java ME-enabled mobile phones, in an interview with PocketGamer web-site.
Sony’s PlayStation game consoles have been sold in quantities exceeding two hundred million units, meaning that the brand does have popularity among consumers. However, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) game console has not received as massive popularity as Nintendo’s handheld game devices.
Recently Sony and BT decided to equip PSP with voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) functions and other communications capabilities, which puts into a kind of competition against Sony Ericsson’s cell phones. On the other hand, all phones from Sony Ericsson come with pre-installed games and users can install more entertainment software on their phones, effectively making them gaming devices. Nevertheless, modern phones tend to be relatively small, feature not very large screens and also are not equipped with high-performance graphics or media processors, which means that contemporary mobile phones are not ergonomically or technologically suitable for up-to-date gaming. Nokia, which launched its N-Gage phones tailored for gamers years ago, ceased to make cell phones only for gaming, partly because of relatively poor game portfolio. Sony does have a quality lineup of games for PSP, but if it managed to release a PlayStation-branded game phone it will have to sacrifice some of the features of modern handsets, such as small sizes.
Keeping in mind that modern phones have some limitations when it comes to gaming, Mr. Ahnegard expressed certain doubts regarding emergence of Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone lineup, though, did not rule out its coming out some time in future.
“To explain our position I need to look at the brands we’ve developed so far, in particular the CyberShot and Walkman phones. When we looked at all the assets we could muster for music and imaging the services, downloads and overall proposition, we felt that we could create something that really lived up to the values of the brand and fill all the required boxes. We’re not launching a brand of handset simply because we can, but because we can lead up to the expectations of the consumer. Up until today we haven’t felt we could launch a PlayStation phone because it wouldn’t be recognized as a true continuation of that brand of products,” he is reported to have said.
Peter Ahnegard said that in 2008 high-performance microprocessors, three-dimensional graphics accelerators and high-speed 3.5G connectivity will become much more widespread features of handsets.