The fact that Sony Ericsson’s PlayStation Certified Xperia Play handset is a phone first and foremost and a games device second is the key differentiator that will save it from an N-Gage style fate.
That’s according to Sony Ericsson market development head Dom Neil-Dwyer, who explained to Gamasutra why he thinks his device is sufficiently different from Nokia’s ill-fated handset.
"[N-Gage failed] because it wasn’t a smartphone and it wasn’t a phone first," he asserted. "As you can see from the design of [the Xperia Play], when you hold it in portrait it’s a smartphone. It’s not a game device that you can make some phone calls on, it’s a smartphone.
"When you’ve got the game keys hidden and you’re just holding it like that, people wouldn’t know what it is, but obviously when you pop it open it’s a great gaming device.
"The people that are going to be buying this are looking for something new. There’s just a sea of touchscreen devices out there and they’re looking for something cool. So that’s the type of consumer that we’re looking for. Tthat’s basically our target audience."
However, when pressed on why consumers would choose the Sony device over rivals such as iPhone, Neil-Dwyer seemed somewhat less assertive.
"I mean an iPhone audience is…you know, it’s been around for a while now, the iPhone, and even though you’re bringing out different iterations, it’s pretty much the same thing," he argued.
"There are people that adopted the iPhone early but, you know, they’re probably now looking for something a bit different."