In order to not turn our just-published Xperia Play review into a huge yarn on how the game buying process works, we thought we’d publish our findings here, in a separate article.
Pending the release of the PlayStation Suite, where you’ll be able to buy a load of Sony-related goodness, this article (and our verdict on the Xperia Play) is likely to change, so we’ll update this piece as and when.
The first port of call for any Xperia Play owner wanting to get their retro kicks. The PlayStation Pocket app is the vendor through which you can buy classic PS1 titles on your Xperia Play. Oldies including Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Jumping Flash, MediEvil and Syphon Filter will all be available from launch here.
Right now, they’re priced at £3.99 each and are downloaded from the Android Market. This means that once you’ve signed in with your Google Account (and added credit card details) you can start buying games straight away.
We also think that four quid for an old school PS1 game is just about right. In comparison, Final Fantasy VII was priced at £7.99 when it hit the PlayStation Store (for PSP and PS3) in 2009. So it’s good to see popular PS1 classics games going for about half the price. We hope that this £3.99 price level remains for all titles going forwards.
As well as the PlayStation Pocket app, there’s also Get Games. When you first turn on your Xperia Play, you’ll find this little app sitting on the same homescreen – it’s the one with all the chess pieces and playing cards on it.
Get Games points you towards high-end Android games that have been specifically tweaked so that their controls are mapped to the Xperia Play’s buttons and D-Pad. It’s a like a very very specific Tegra Zone.
As we mentioned in our review, certain games like FIFA 10 (which comes pre-loaded) are much more playable with the control pad. Other titles like Gameloft’s Brothers in Arms: Global Front (an FPS) also work well. We’ve struggled with first person shooters on phones in the past, chiefly because you can’t always see who is shooting at you. Normally because about a third of the touchscreen is taken up by your own stupid thumbs. Kristen Schaal explains it better here…
One thing that you should not about the Get Games app is that it doesn’t always redirect you to the Android Market.
As is the case with Gameloft titles like Assassin’s Creed and Let’s Golf 2, you’ll have to pay for these either via PayPal or your phone bill (if your network/contract allows this).
Prices for these games vary, with some costing around £1 (I Must Run!) and others more around the £4 mark (Ground Effect Pro XHD). Gameloft’s titles are all priced at £3, obviously not including free demo versions of games (like Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD).
Xperia Play app
There’s also a dedicated Xperia Play app loaded on to the phone of the same name. This is basically a folder which is automatically updated with all of your Android games (see above). When you first turn on your Xperia Play, this app launches whenever you open up the gamepad. This gives you quick access to all of your downloaded titles, but you can disable this auto-opening option in the settings if you wish.
Otherwise, there’s a shortcut to this that can be found in the app launcher and added to any homescreen.
If all of that wasn’t enough, the new improved version of Sony Ericsson’s Android UI allows you to create folders on your homescreens, just like you do an iPhone 4.
Simply drag one app icon on top of another. Then as if by magic this little menu pops up. You can name your folder whatever you want (call it ‘My Games’ or something) and even choose a little PlayStation controller icon.
You can use it for other things of course, but on the Xperia Play its especially useful as you can stash all your favourite PS1 and Android games together in one folder.