With the North American launch of Sony's PlayStation Vita steadily creeping up - just weeks away at February 14 - it's easy to forget that the Vita is only one piece in Sony's handheld gaming puzzle. The company also owns a myriad of tablets and mobile phones through its Sony Ericsson brand that are incorporated into its "PlayStation Certified" program, enabling access to downloadable PlayStation content.
While this originally lead to the Xperia Play being billed as the "PlayStation Phone," the program hasn't yielded more than a handful of PlayStation One titles tacked on with touchscreen controls. But as the PSP prepares to pass the torch to the Vita, it seems that Sony is ready to grant new inclusion of a few more PSP games into the Certified program.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has recently updated its ratings information for several PSP titles and describes their platform as "PlayStation certified device."
Among those subjected to the change are: Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror; Daxter; flOw; eight tables from the Pinball Heroes games - including Uncharted; Fat Princess; ModNation Racers; Motorstorm; Wipeout HD; High Velocity Bowling; Hot Shots Golf; and PAIN.
It should be noted that flOw was developed as both a PSP and PlayStation 3 title, but the theme certainly seems to be the adaption of PSP games onto PlayStation certified devices. Sony hasn't indicated any efforts to interpolate PS3 titles, and it's unlikely they would start here - with flOw, no less.
This is great news for owners (and prospective buyers) of PlayStation certified hardware like the S and P tablets, the Xperia Play, the Xperia Arc and Acro in Japan, and the upcoming Xperia S and Xperia ion. Sony knows that it's courting a more casual-centric gaming crowd on these devices, and PS1 and PSP titles make the perfect focal point.
It's the timing that might have caught a few off guard. Conisdering the PS Vita's recent struggles in Japan, it might not be wise for Sony to deflect any possible customers towards other products this close to launch in North America - no matter how different the demographic may be. That said, the ability to carry highly reputable games from previous generations in the palm of your hand is one area in which Sony remains virtually uncontested by its Microsoft adversaries.
Ranters, will you get a lot of use out of older PlayStation games through Sony's future line of handheld devices? Will this, in any way, sway your desire to purchase the PlayStation Vita?
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