View Full Version : Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

06-09-2011, 09:40 AM
A lot of people seem to not know what the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is, so I am writing up this little FAQ to inform the masses. Feel free to post further questions. At the bottom is a new section where I talk about my personal experiences playing Pocket Legends on the device.

Q) What is the Xperia?
A) First off, at least say Xperia Play. Sony has a full Xperia line of phones and "Xperia" could refer to any of them. In the most simple sentence the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is an Android Phone. You know how some phones have a slide out keyboard? The Xperia Play has a slide out game pad instead.

Q) So is it another PSP?
A) No, it is an Android phone. Don't think of it as a PSP at all. It is just a phone with a game pad. Sony does not want it to be called a Playstation phone. I'm guessing this is because it doesn't have the graphics power of their latest PSP. It can emulate PS1 games flawlessly but Sony did not grant this phone access to the Playstation network.

Q) Why did Sony make another portable gaming device?
A) This is pure speculation, but I think it is a test to see how well it will do in the market. Nokia failed big time with the Ngage, mostly because the market wasn't ready for it (mobile games sucked). Is the market ready now? This is Sony testing that question.

Q) It's so expensive!
A) Not a question but this really depends. If you want to go into a store and buy one you can expect to drop $550. Yes that is a lot, but remember this is not a portable console like PSP and Nintend DS, this is an Android smartphone! In that context, the price is really in line with the market. Welcome to supply and demand. That said, like any smartphone, in the United States you can get it subsidized by the carrier. In the US it is exclusive to Verizon. Verizon sells it with a new contract for $200. Amazon sells it on contract for $0.01 (yes that is one penny). If you don't like buying online, walk into Best Buy where they will match the Amazon price.

Q) So it's a phone. How does it perform as a phone?
A) It has literally everything you can expect from a new Android smartphone. Some areas are stronger than others, some areas are weak, but overall I really like it. It has the latest version of Android which very few phones have. For you iphone folks, imagine using your shiny new iPhone 4 on the software that the iPhone 3GS had when it first came out. That is the difference between the last version of Android and the new one. Also, most phones heavily customize Android to try and make it better, but then when Google comes out with new software it takes forever to get the update because it needs to be recustomized. With the Xperia Play you get plain Android, that means faster updates.

The Xperia Play has front and rear cameras with a flash for the rear camera, accelerometer, light and proximity sensors, basically go down the list of smartphone features and check the box next to each one. The on board RAM is pathetically tiny, but it does have a microSD slot. The call quality is good and the GPS works very well with the free google navigation software for the best navigation experience I have had on any device, phone or dedicated GPS. It has a headphone jack for a phone headset or headphones so you can use it like an mp3 player (that's "like an ipod" for you apple folks) and of course as an Android phone it has control via voice commands (just say "send text to <wife's name> I'm coming home from work now, see you soon honey" and bam you sent the text).

Q) So it's a good phone. Then how does the game pad perform?
A) The game pad is a lot like a PS3 controller except instead of analog joysticks it has analog touch pads and instead of four shoulder buttons there are only two. It has start and select buttons as well as another standard android menu button below the Dpad. The analog touch pads work very similarly to the touch screen analog stick we know from PL, the difference is they are textured so your finger can feel the divot in the middle or the edge of the circle and you know where your finger is without needing to look. My finger slides on the touch pads much easier than across the screen.Also, when using the touch pad your finger is not covering up valuable screen space.

The buttons feel... not the greatest. The buttons on the slide out part make a lot of noise when pushed and the L/R buttons feel awkward. On the other hand, the game pad feels very durable. The responsiveness is outstanding. I can play old SNES and Playstation games perfectly (Android gets emulators on our built in Android market and it is completely legit). I could always play things like Final Fantasy III but action games like Mega Man X are impossible to play effectively with just a touch screen. With the game pad on the Xperia Play, Mega Man X is a joy. This is a good time to mention that ANY game with assignable buttons can make use of the game pad buttons whether or not it is programmed to. The touch pads are useless except on games specifically programmed to use them.

Final Thoughts: This phone is great for gamers. I wish someone other than Sony had made it. Do not rush out and get one, it is not worth the price. If you are up for a subsidized phone upgrade and you are a gamer, give this phone serious consideration. I don't like Sony but I got the phone because I want it to sell well. If it sells well other manufacturers will make phones like it and my dream of a Nintendo phone may come true.

***Personal Experience Playing Pocket Legends with the Xperia Play***
First here are the controls as described by asommers:
L1: Cycle skill row left
R1: Cycle skill row right
LEFT ANALOG PAD: Move player
SELECT: Health Potion
START: Mana Potion
Menu: Menu
DPAD DOWN: Untarget
DPAD LEFT: Cycle target left
DPAD RIGHT: Cycle target right
X: Attack

To clarify, DPAD UP brings up the chat shortcuts. Obviously a large part of the game still requires use of the touchscreen, and that is OK. Just because we have buttons doesn't mean we should ignore the other great interface options we have! You still MAY use the touch screen to move and select targets and the touch screen is used to navigate the Menu as usual. The touch screen is also required for emotes, regular typing, changing the size of the text box, and basically all other functionality not specifically listed above.

The interface changes a bit when you have an Xperia Play. The analog movement nub on the touch screen disappears and only three skills are shown instead of the usual 0/4/12. The skill book in the upper right is also gone. This gives you more screen real estate with which to enjoy the game. The three shown skills arch above the weapon attack box in the lower right so that the four objects together correspond to the positioning of the four buttons on the game pad. The L and R buttons change between the four skill pages. The interface where you map skills to the main interface has also changed to clearly show which skills will be activated by which button and which hotkey page they will appear on.

All the controls work beautifully. I can very quickly change skill pages to get to the abilities I want to use. Since there is a global cooldown I am never slowed down by needing to change skill pages. The movement and camera angle being mapped to the two analog pads makes movement and camera more convenient than I ever imagined possible in a cell phone game.

One thing I was worried about was what would happen when I slide closed my Xperia Play. Would this render the game unplayable? What if I wanted to just use the old interface? As mentioned before, the buttons are loud. What if I am in bed next to my wife and she is sleeping and I don't want to wake her up? Well STS was super clever here. If you close the Xperia Play, the interface automatically changes to look the exact same as on every other android device. Slick!

06-09-2011, 09:50 AM
Woah, that is a really detailed guide! Yeah, a Nintendo phone would be so cool!

06-09-2011, 11:54 AM
Awesome review, may just check it out at my local Verizon store!

06-09-2011, 01:35 PM
When you play PL on it, do you use the buttons or the touch pad? How do you activate the Auto weapon or any skills or choose the menu?

06-09-2011, 02:03 PM
I can answer questions about how PL plays on it when they release the next client update :) Right now I play PL with the game pad shut, just touch controls.

06-09-2011, 07:56 PM
Um Guys, did you happen to read this about Sony related stuff?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20068414-260/hackers-steal-more-customer-info-from-sony-servers/ (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20068414-260/hackers-steal-more-customer-info-from-sony-servers/)
sony Ericcson Xperia=Related to this article

06-10-2011, 09:07 AM
That is actually totally unrelated because as I said, the Xperia Play does not interact with the Playstation Network. This is a phone, not a Playstation. It is not running Sony software at all, it is an Android phone.

06-24-2011, 02:37 AM
very nice

06-30-2011, 11:24 AM
Added a new section so I am bumping this. Snake, your question is finally answered!

06-30-2011, 04:56 PM
Specs-wise it doesn't seem that strong; mid-range by 2011 standards. It's more comparable to phones released around this time last year and the Adreno 205 is the same found aboard the HTC Desire HD. After playing with one, I myself was not impressed. Still, it looks like a great phone if you want to run emulators.

Otherwise, for running the latest games, you're better off getting either a Galaxy S2, an Nvidia Tegra 2 powered phone, or waiting for a quad core (Kal El is supposedly coming Q4 this year).

06-30-2011, 05:15 PM
Nice FAQ. I got xperia phone too, but not xperia play.

07-01-2011, 02:34 PM
Nice guide, I have a Play too, and while it's specs are pretty mid-grade for a smart phone, I still pulled the trigger because I believe it will be at least a year or two before game makers start making games that the Play couldn't handle... and aside from that, it already handles emulators very well which do not require additional power.

With that said, my phone that I carry with me everywhere is now a serious gaming device... :D