PlayStation-based ‘Play’ phone out in March

It’s one of the worst kept secrets in games – and thankfully, it’s not a secret any more, and it hits shelves in just a matter of days.

Sony Ericsson this evening finally took the wrappers off its new PlayStation-oriented games smartphone, the Xperia Play.

It is a slide-open device that includes the Xperia-based touch-screen smartphone experience with the iconic PlayStation D-pad, symbol buttons and analogue sticks.

The Android-based devices runs off a chipset that includes Qualcomm’s optimized Snapdragon processor with a 1Ghz CPU and embedded Adreno GPU graphics processor – which makes for, ‘silky smooth 60fps play-back 3D mobile gaming’.

That’s just a sample of the chest-beating rhetoric Sony Ericsson used to unveil the device, which enters a fiercely competitive mobile gaming space effectively revolutionised by Apps and the iPhone.

But as the phone is the first device to be part of the PlayStation Certified scheme SCE announced last month, it has gaming clout on its side.

Xperia Play has been put together with close co-operation between the phone and gaming divisions of the electronics giant – that means classic PlayStation games exclusive for the device, with one bundled at launch.

That said, Sony Ericsson said it had lots of content from mobile games firms ready too: EA’s Need For Speed, Sims 3 and FIFA 10; GLU Mobile/Activision’s mobile Guitar Hero; and Gameloft’s Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell games.

The device arrives globally from March, with the device landing in the US first as part of Sony Ericsson’s drive to secure more North American market share – a European roll-out is expected not long after, however.

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