Is Playstation network coming to Xperia PLAY? Now the Xperia range is Sony's baby and not just an unbrella company product, we can expect them to go to town with integrating their services better on more products. But how detailed will this be?
The story so far (or lack of)
Playstation suite was promised a long time ago and it's finally taking shape with the Playstation store appearing on Sony's Andrroid tablet known as Tablet S. Then they announced that it will be appearing on Xperia PLAY soon as well as other Xperia products, which was well recieved by the thousands of PS fans who have had a miserable selection of classics for nearly 9 months. We all love Crash Bandicoot but the only other decent one really is Wipeout, but that hasn't aged well. It was the massive disspointment for those excited about the rumoured PSP phone because there is nothing PSP about it. No PSN, no integration to the Playstation store. I am one of these people... I have a massive library of Minis & classics purchased on my PSN account for my PSP. I did expect these to be playable on my Xperia PLAY, atleast the classics but no!
In some ways it is understandable. You have to look at the bigger picture, the Playstation is a closed environment to keep it secure where as Android is maybe too open for its own good in some areas and it's a security risk for them. I come across a lot of people that brag about getting all of their apps for free & it's fairly easy to pirate Android published applications. It does make it incredibly hard for us legitimate buyers, especially when you have digital rights management on games that you want to play on a plane, but we live with it. So I hope this delay of bringing Playstation Store to the Xperia PLAY is for the better good for all of us legitimite customers who don't mind contributing to the industry. Having said all of this, call me a hypocrite if you wish but we have made a little discovery down in the Open source black market (there is a big difference between obtaining something bootlegged rather than just not paying for the original I think).
Playstation Store on Xperia PLAY
So we have downloaded and installed an APK called 'Playstation store' which we found on the XDA developers forum here. It can't be that easy can it? Well apparently it is! Someone has copied the APK file from their Tablet S, so it is the legitimate App just not so legitimately made. It installs fine without any problems, it must be installed to xperia plays with 2.3.4 sony ericsson software unrooted or rooted, ignore the instructions on the xda post as the app should install straight from the apk file as it appears that sony has the framework installed already on this latest firmware. It presents itself in the correct resolution of the Xperia PLAY too and supports the plays controls. So the APK knows it is being installed to an Xperia PLAY device but yet it does so without any errors, which can only mean the APP is already optimized for this handset, but maybe not in your territory. If you select the UK for example, it comes up with 'unavailable for your region' which again suggests that it knows it's an Xperia PLAY and yet knows that it's not launched yet over here. So what happens when we select a region where it is available? Let's try Japan... perfect... we're in! You have below guy's n girls, Playstation store running on the Xperia PLAY.
What has this got to do with Playstation Network?
Appologies we have danced around the subject a little here. The point I was building up to is illustrated when you select to buy a game, rather than taking you too Android Market like the early PS Pocket app it asks for your PSN account. This is the same PSN account as used on PS3, PSP, Sony Entertinament Network and the Tablet S purchases. We have tested this with a Japanese PSN account we set up and it all seems to work although I am sure it will tel us to get jogging when we try purchasing a game. For now though, it is a look into the future application. We are certain this is the genuine App that we shall be recieving on Xperia PLAY's as an update in the future but until they turn on the store for UK users we can but sit here and look at the Japanese writting and be confused.
Does this mean all PSP games will be compatible with Xperia PLAY?
It would be wrong for me to pretend I knew exactly what was coming as I can only speculate. I do think the library will still be different to that of PS3 and PSP, so Destruction Derby for PSP will be a seperate purchase from the Android version. But then you will be able to have it on your PLAY, Xperia Arc & Tablet S device from the same purchase. To back me up here, you will see in the below shot of UK Playstation Store on the Tablet S that it clearly says 'Compatible with Sony Tablet & Xperia PLAY'.
This may not be the full mass integration of PSN that everyone was hoping for as the line up of games is still very limited but it's a start. We might see better Playstation classics arrive, free demos appear and perhaps soem of those uber cool mini games too. For me, I hope this brings some of my favourite PSOne games: Destruction Derby 2, Twisted Metal 2, Worms Armagedon, Final Fantasty, Metal Gear Solid & Gran Turismo.