Nowadays everything seems to be converging into a mobile phone. It already can be a perfectly good digital camera, a mobile TV station a music player or GPS receiver. One of the things missing here was a mobile gaming platform. But who's better positioned to create a perfect mobile gaming platform than Sony? It already has one – Sony PSP. It also makes some great mobile phones via joint venture with Swedish Ericsson.
November 2, Sony announces the existence of PSP Phone. The mobile phone will run Android 3.0 platform and connect with online application store, which means you can directly down games online, instead of going to local store to buy them. But if PSP Phone wants to be a very successful gaming platform, then it has to catch the eyeballs of game players, then several essential factors below will be necessary.
Extraordinary ability of screen performance
Before Microsoft published Windows Phone 7, stressing the mobile phone's ability of 3D performance, super powerful 3D performance is the guarantee of game graphics. But there are no any information yet about PSP Phone's 3D performance. If PSP Phone's screen performance can not be as powerful as Windows Phone 7, it can hardly catch the eyeballs of game players.
Smooth gaming control
The numeric keypad is just not good enough to control the action in games. But who says all the keys on the numeric keypad have to be identical? Sony has already designed very good game controls on PSP. So now they just made a few keys on numeric keypad into a game controls and the problem was solved.
Another question is whether the game can run smoothly while the user takes some other operations on the phone. For example, when you play the game and suddenly a phone call or short message comes, you have to pause the game and answer them. The operating balance between game and phone will be a determined factor for the success of PSP Phone. The users want to play the game smoothly and meanwhile don't miss any important phone call and messages. The possible crashes would directly lead to the failure of PSP Phone.
Super powerful battery
Generally speaking, portable game consoles can keep on working 5-6 hours, not only because they have very high capacity battery, but also take an advantage from hardware and software which are custom-designed for games. But, Smartphone are dealing with various missions, it cannot be custom-designed for games only, so there will not be such a super powerful battery as portable game consoles have. Besides, if mobile phone's battery can only buy 1-2 hours for game player, I wonder how many people would like to buy such mobile phone.
The beauty of it all is that Sony will not have to worry about the games for the PSP Phone, just make it compatible with the standard PSP games. But PSP's hardware is based on MIPS chips, and PSP Phone's hardware is based on ARM chips, which will might cause difficulty for game transplantation. The PSP Phone can't be successful without enough exciting games to attract the users.
Another point is, the game developers who supply for portable game consoles may not be familiar with mobile phone games. For example, "Angry Bird" is a "happy little game", unlike any other games on PSP, it doesn't have rich world view, adventure elements or dramatic story. But many PSP game developers themselves, make plenty of "happy little games". Famous game developers Square Enix has published a lot of games on iPhone, which proves that mobile phone game can make benefit.
Sony is not the first one to make gaming mobile phone, Nokia is. But when N-Gage was hot, its games could be played on any other S60 Phone after cracking. And today, PSP Phone's system is Android, if the games can also be found on other mobile phone, it would be destructive. Hopefully Sony has learnt the lesson from N-Gage.
What is PSP Phone, a portable game console with mobile phone function or a mobile phone with a lot of interesting games? So, somehow Sony must push a little bit harder on the promotion, creating customers a solid image. Otherwise, the customers who like portable game consoles and the customers who want to have a phone with a lot of interesting games will be both disappointed, PSP Phone will face the big trouble