Sony Computer Entertainment on Thursday announced its PlayStation to Android initiative, under which it will deliver "PlayStation experience" to certified devices based on Google Android-based platforms. For the first time in the history of PlayStation, SCE will allow proprietary games to run on third-party devices legally. Sadly, at first, only games designed for the original PlayStation will be ported to Android, something that may undermine the success of the whole initiative.
In the dramatically evolving and diversifying mobile market, the number of users who enjoy games casually on a variety of devices including mobile phones, smartphones and tablet PCs, has been increasing significantly. By offering “PlayStation quality” content to this rapidly growing market, SCE wants to deliver the PlayStation experience to a wider base of users around the globe, and also be able to offer game developers and publishers the potential to further expand their business opportunities to these devices.
In providing the PlayStation experience on Android (version 2.3 and higher) based portable devices, SCE will commence a “PlayStation Certified” license program for hardware manufacturers. Through this program, SCE will offer necessary support, including development support as well as logo licensing, to ensure the delivery of PlayStation quality experience across various devices.
On the software front, SCE plans to provide PS Suite content within this calendar year, starting with original PlayStation games that will allow users to enjoy gameplay on their Android based portable devices. SCE also plans to open PlayStation Store where users will be able to download content in an easy to use environment, directly via the Android based portable devices. Moreover, SCE will provide a new game development environment in an effort to ensure new and compelling content is delivered on PS Suite, which will also offer opportunities for a wider base of developers and publishers to further expand their business on various portable devices.
Newly developed content for PS Suite can also be enjoyed on the next-generation portable entertainment system (NGP).
By revealing the PlayStation to Android initiative Sony basically confirms Sony Ericsson's plans to release a "PlayStation phone" later this year. However, the big question is whether consumers will actually appreciate games developed for the platform that is more than ten years old and which were designed for DualShock controller, not handsets. Those games might be interesting back in the nineties, but nowadays people's tastes for games, especially casual games, are vastly different.
Quite naturally, the original PlayStation games will attract attention of fans, who may feel nostalgia about them, but the majority of mobile gamers will hardly truly appreciate such titles. From some points of view the move of SCE may be compared to an attempt of a large game publisher to port DOS and Windows games to high-end portables. Perhaps, some people would love to go through dungeons of the original Prince of Persia once again or even experience the original Doom, but the problem is that they hardly will. Of course, some games may get popular again, but hardly enough to justify a basically new game platform.