Rumors have resurfaced indicating that Sony Ericsson may be planning to release an Android PSP phone later this year. Of course, both Sony and Ericsson have declined to comment on the subject. Industry insiders are hoping for more details at the Tokyo Game Show in Japan next month. For now, lets analyze this rumor with what we know.
One big question we have to ask is if this an actual phone with mobile gaming on it by Sony, or if this is simply the next iteration of the PSP with a phone inside. Depending on which way they go will greatly affect the price point of the games. The average price of iPhone games is of course much lower than that for dedicated handheld consoles. Konami recently released Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker on the PSP for $39.99, whereas Rockstar sells Chinatown Wars on the iPhone for $9.99.
The other looming question on everyone’s mind is, “How much is thing going to cost?” Some insiders, like industry analyst Michael Pachter, have already stated that the hefty price tag hurt PSPgo sales. Can Sony find the right price point to allow a PSP phone to compete with the iPhone and 3DS?
Not all views are negative, however. The games developers’ trade association TIGA is excited about the prospect. Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, stated:
“If the PS-branded Android phone rumor is true then it is going to be good for developers, providing another platform to work on...It confirms the increasing ‘gamification’ of society and would be entirely beneficial for the industry.”
These rumors are actually nothing new to the gaming community. Developers and publishers have thought this for some time now. We have previously reported on rumors of a possible Sony PSP 2 with gaming controls on the front of the device and phone controls on the back. Also, it is clear that the convergence of different media devices will be a key trend over the next few years. An Android device with Sony’s gaming hardware and technical experience is very interesting. Andy Hartup, Deputy Editor of PSM3 Magazine has stated that:
“...Sony officials have gone on record to say that the PSPgo- which the new Sony Android phone is rumored to resemble- was a test for future hardware.”
It appears that as the speculation mounts, the question becomes not if Sony will make a PSP phone, but when.
Well, Ranters, what do you think of the prospect of a Sony PSP phone? Is this another viable platform to compete with the iPhone for gaming? Do you think it could compete with the upcoming Nintendo 3DS?