At a Tokyo press conference yesterday, Sony announced a new program that will bring Sony PlayStation games to Google Android devices, both phones and tablets. The cross-platform software framework that makes this possible is being called the "PlayStation Suite," an initiative to deliver the casual games of the PSP to a wider audience.
However, not all PlayStation games will work on all Android devices - there are a few caveats that apply. But Android support may only be the beginning.
PlayStation Suite Details
To start, the PlayStation titles offered will be the older, original PlayStation One (PS One Classics), not the more popular PlayStation Portable (PSP) titles. However, newer games developed using the tools Sony provides will also be delivered by PlayStation Suite, or the "PS Suite," as Sony is calling it for short.
Not all Android devices will be able to run the PlayStation games, unfortunately. Sony says the games will require the use of Android 2.3, code-named "Gingerbread," the latest release of the Google mobile operating system, or higher. Presumably, that means "Honeycomb" will be supported as well, the newest tablet-only release of Android.
In addition, games will only run on devices that meet the requirements set forth by the new "PlayStation Certified" licensing program for hardware manufacturers. The program will offer both developer support and logo licensing to its participants.
PlayStationStore: An App Store for Games
The PlayStation games will be distributed through an app store, the PlayStationStore, where games can be directly downloaded to any supported Android device. There's no word on when exactly this store will launch, only that it will arrive "within this calendar year."
We'll likely hear more about Sony's plans at Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry event taking place next month in Barcelona. That's also when Sony plans to officially unveil its PlayStation phone, too - a Sony Ericsson handset (Xperia Play) that runs Google's Android OS. Despite the phone's still "unofficial" nature, it has made an appearance in a number of photos, videos and Engadget even got its hands on one for an early review. In other words, it definitely exists.
And yes, it runs Sony PlayStation games, too, via an app called PlayStation Pocket, which Engadget said looked like a tool for managing downloaded games on Android devices.
On the record, however, Sony only confirmed that, in addition to Android, the games will run on its next-generation portable gaming device, code-named NGP, also announced at the press event.
An interesting side note to this story is the fact that Android may not end up as the only mobile platform where PlayStation games are supported. Engadget, which attended the press conference in Tokyo, said that Sonly was referring to the PlayStation Suite a "hardware-neutral" development framework that would make games portable to "all sorts of handhelds." What does that mean for porting Sony games beyond Android?
While Sony gave no official mention of its plans to extend beyond Android, it's entirely possible. With a framework in place, its only a matter of creating software development kits (SDKs) for other mobile operating systems. Of course, that's no small matter. And we certainly won't hold our breath waiting for PlayStation games on Apple's iOS, either. Games are some of the most popular applications on Apple's platform, and are often sold for premium prices. Would Apple really let Sony encroach on its bread-and-butter? Doubtful.
Source, Photos: Engadget