Sony recently added its Tablet S to the short list of devices that support its PlayStation Suite gaming platform for Android devices. In fact, the portfolio of PlayStation Certified Android devices is pretty exclusive at the moment – Sony’s own Tablet P and Xperia Play smartphone are the only other members of the club.
But comments made by the Sony Computer Entertainment Chairman, Kaz Hirai, indicate that the company is planning to open up membership to a much wider selection of devices. Speaking to Engadget at AsiaD, he said that the PlayStation Suite “isn’t an ecosystem where we want to keep everything within the Sony family”, adding that Sony is “in discussions with non-Sony companies to bring them on board” with PS Suite.
The strategy may be - at least in part - motivated by the fact that smartphones and tablets have been slapping its PlayStation business pretty hard over the last few years. Hirai stated: “Whether we are talking about iPods, iPads or any Android, they’ve had an impact on the traditional video game business, no question about it.”
There’s a massive Android user-base out there, and huge numbers of higher-end Android handsets are being snapped up, with hardware capable of delivering a strong mobile gaming experience. Of course, by making its PlayStation Suite available on phones and tablets from hardware rivals such as HTC and Samsung, Sony will remove a key selling point for its own devices. But it stands to gain a lot more by establishing PlayStation as the de facto brand for mobile gaming on the Android platform as a whole, especially as Microsoft pushes Xbox Live as its mobile gaming offering on Windows Phone.
That said, Sony may need to put a bit more work in to PlayStation Suite before sharing the love with its rivals. CNET’s review of the Xperia Play stated in its verdict that the “confusing and inconsistent software makes gaming a joyless experience”. Ouch.