You may remember that Sony knocked the wind out of Xperia Play users’ sails when it broke news that Android Ice Cream Sandwich wouldn’t be coming to the company’s mobile gamer-friendly smartphone, but that hasn’t stopped the community coming up with their own solutions. The XDark ICS ROM has been attracting a lot of attention, thanks to its inclusion of touchpad support.
XDA Developer user XDarkMario was unsatisfied with the current crop of ICS ROMs available for his Play, he’s created the XDark ICS ROM. Based on Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3, this ROM is gaining great popularity for its stability when gaming and its inclusion of full touchpad support, something lacking on numerous other ROMs but oh so important to the unique hardware controls of the Xperia Play. The ROM has been tested on gaming titles such as 9mm, Assassins Creed, Dead Space and N.O.V.A. 3. The ROM also features a port of Sony’s xLoud engine, some of the latest Sony widgets and wallpapers and includes handy features such as hardware controlled screenshot.
It's been a rocky year for Xperia Play owners. Sony initially promised and then had to retract said promise of bringing Android Ice Cream Sandwich to all of its 2011 devices. After significant testing and trouble expressed by game developers, the company decided that the Xperia Play just wasn’t up to the task of running both ICS and maintaining an enjoyable user experience, gaming or otherwise. Although the decision was stated as for the benefit of the device and its users, many Xperia Play owners were outraged, having felt as if they’d been lied to and tricked into buying an inferior device, especially after the significant marketing campaign the Play enjoyed. Sony did later release the ICS beta, enabling devs like XDarkMario to continue developing for the Play.
Although XDarkMario says version 0.2 is on the way, the current build is available to download here, provided your Xperia Play’s bootloader is unlocked.