There's a growing trend of 'gaming' phones, should Sony resurrect the Xperia Play brand?


First there was the Razer Phone, one from a legendary gaming hardware giant, then today Xiaomi's fresh new sub-brand Black Shark hit us with its first affordable gaming phone, which is just the latest in the growing trend of such niche devices. There is an apparent market for these out there, and we surely appreciate that the Black Shark is not only a great gaming device, but also the cheapest (and the sole) Snapdragon 845-equipped phone with 4000mAh battery out there, yet there was one OG gaming phone maker that should take notice.

Yes, we are talking about Sony here, which is struggling to differentiate in the sea of Android handsets. The latest Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are mighty fine pieces, but don't really have that defining feature that would make people pick them before, say, the popular Galaxy S-line, given their pricing range. You see where we are going with this, but did you know Sony was a pioneer in this market with the Xperia Play, way back in the single-core chipset times? 

While it did have its fair share of issues with memory and performance, as can be expected from a phone in those years, it came with the famous PlayStation brand reference, and was immediately recognizable via its slide-out gamepad controller half that immediately reminded you of the PS console, not to mention the huge amount of popular gaming titles Sony has under its belt. Hey, watch us even play C&D on this phone way back when, with the screen fully available to marvel at those awesome blocky graphics! 

With the big screens of today, and the screeching graphics performance of modern chipsets, an Xperia Play successor might finally take Sony out of its second Android tier, and catapult it into an instant hit among those who clamor for gaming phones. Heck, even the slide-out keyboard could be a better idea than the half-baked gamepad that Xiaomi concocted for the Black Shark, what do you think?

There's a growing trend of 'gaming' phones, should Sony resurrect the Xperia Play brand?

Oh yeah, Sony should capitalize on the gaming phones trend
78.05%
Nah, it can't really offer much to stand out
11.15%
'Gaming phone'? An oxy-moron, if I ever heard one
10.8%

Related phones

Phone
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh
Xperia PLAY
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 854 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 0.4 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1500 mAh(6.41h 3G talk time)

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54 Comments

1. libra89

Posts: 2251; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It would be a nice fit for Sony, and possibly the most balanced one out there but no thank you.

14. Bankz

Posts: 2486; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

a gaming phone without any reasonable gaming title? meh

44. sgodsell

Posts: 6835; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You can play PS/3 and PS/4 games with any Sony flagship smartphone for the last number of years. So I would definitely call that a gaming system to a degree.

45. Bankz

Posts: 2486; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

yeah, you're right but that limited because you basically have to be very close to your PS3/4 at which point you'd just be better off playing your PS3/4 console. what the gaming world really needs is a platform similar to N-gage where you'd have enough high level games for these phones. sony's the best option for now but they should expand it in my opinion to make it more accessible. As for hardware alone, I don't think any gaming phone will topple the nubia Red magic in the nearest future (launching on April 19th), but then again, like I said, the hardware alone isn't enough for a "gaming phone", otherwise how are these different from say the huawei p20 pro, mate 10 pro, galaxy s9, oneplus 5T etc..?

52. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3944; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They'd obviously have to work on that and Smartphone hardware is more than powerful enough to play vita titles now if Sony wants, plus they have that game streaming service that would pair well with smartphones, not to mention they could make the keypad controls compatible with some of the more popular mobile games, like the battle royal games that have become so popular. I'd love to own an Xperia Play type of phone who's keypad is compatible with Fortnite mobile, comment #41 is so right!

55. MechaBouncer

Posts: 6; Member since: May 23, 2018

It's true that Sony has supported both Remote Play and Dualshock 3/4 for years. The Xperia Z3 line was the first to support both and I recall using it to play Rocket League from over 200 miles away when visiting my brother out of state (home PS4 was wired and was on WiFi with phone). I'm amazed that Sony doesn't leverage this more and bring PS Now to their phones as well. It would be even better if they allowed it over LTE, but I can understand why they might not do that. The DS4 also works with any game that supports Android native gamepad support, which includes a lot of action games, shooters, RPGs, and so on that have extended from the Xperia Play's legacy. The only thing they can't do with the DS4 is fit it in your pocket reasonably. All things considered, if Sony were to just make an add-on case or shell like the Vita that the phone like Motorola's Gamepad mod, they could effectively recreate the Xperia Play without sinking a ton of money into a dedicated gaming phone. As much as I would love to see the Xperia Play line come back, I think this approach is much more feasible. Personally I hope they do something like this as a Vita successor and release an inexpensive tablet that perhaps is WiFi only, but still offers Remote Play and works with the controller as a new mobile gaming device. Then they can focus on bringing properties to mobile and offer Remote Play and PS Now on a dedicated device. That way they could take an iPhone and iPod Touch approach while creating an expandable ecosystem.

41. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Why not? With fortnite out, this would bring a ton of gamers to the xperia play simply to gain an advantage over on screen controls.

42. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Bring back the nokia fackin n-gage qd, the king of gaming phones.

2. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1194; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

I loved the Xperia Play, it was a bit small though and battery life was dreadful, but the gaming experience was pretty solid.

3. Nikolai90

Posts: 50; Member since: May 16, 2017

We never hate Xperia Play. Instead, we still want it. It is just Sony Mobile Division who has ditched us and stop producing Xperia Play series. Even a current Xperias are being 'abused' to take loads of games. But still,they are not quite enough. Whose fault actually? Buyers or Sony Mobile Division themselves?

4. Sunbae-min

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Where is the option "Obviously, Sony should quit mobile business"? Coz I don't see how losing money in a particular industry is fun.

6. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Then Apple will be last one to bring things Samsung shall copy in the future.

9. Sunbae-min

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Huh ? -_-?

24. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Many stuff we see on galaxy were already found on iphones. Big list. Now even XZP camera was copied. Nothing on s9 is new..

13. Botnet64

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 09, 2018

Your opinion doesn’t really have to do anything with this poll. Many people say this very sentence like you did, still, their mobile devision won’t quit any time soon.

27. Ellio74

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 22, 2018

They don't lose money, don't know where did you get this info

7. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I like the solution of Lenovo. You connect the gamer moto mod when you want.

8. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2291; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It’s too bad Sony doesn’t have a smartphone like the Play on tap to release at this very moment. With the trending popularity of games like Fortnite, it would sell very well. Heck, if they could team up with Epic Games and offer some free content with every purchase it would sell like hot cakes to children. That is until Fortnite is no longer the “in” thing.

11. Sunbae-min

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

That's still very unlikely. The trend of gaming phones doesn't exist. Look at how Rasor come up with their gaming phone and the response is very poor. Sony was already trying with its Xperia Play and failed hugely. People need a complete flagship smartphone that serves them in any circumstances.

17. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2291; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I am not sure you can point to any concrete evidence that the Razer phone was received poorly. And even if it didn’t sell well, you can’t exactly make the conclusion that it was because it was a gaming phone. Razer is new to the smartphone market and they don’t have the same experience as Sony in terms of marketing and sales. And the Xperia Play was released back when smartphone gaming was mostly just basic graphic games like Fruit Ninja. The very few exceptions were games like Assassins Creed which had horrible graphics and Android didn’t really support controller input. It was ahead of its time. And I believe it was a Verizon exclusive. If they released it today it would have a dramatically different appeal.

12. Sparkxster

Posts: 1176; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Sony should definitely bring back the Xperia play with 120Hz screen, latest Qualcomm snapdragon processor, wireless charging, slide out gamepad with collapsible joysticks, 8gb of RAM/128gb interal storage, cooling system, ip67/68 water resistance, headphone jack, micro SD card slot, stereo speakers, and 4000/4500mah battery. Now that would be killer!!

23. AmashAziz

Posts: 2886; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Dude, you seem to have literally read my mind!! Those are the exact specs (along with a few others) that I want a gaming phone to have and I was thinking about such a phone all day, even in the bathroom........ Especially the collapsible joysticks part. I really put great thought to it and you steal the words right out of my mind. Just WOW! You have telepathic powers my friend!

25. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Most of your list will be on next Premium. Except 8GB ram and slide out gamepad .

15. bovcrx

Posts: 101; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

I think they already had a good thing with the PS4 controller mount. Just copy the trend and cram in top notch specs. If you can't beat them then join them.

16. blkatfirstsight

Posts: 39; Member since: Mar 05, 2018

I had this phone as a backup whenever I knew I was going to be somewhere for a long period of time. Like one guy said the battery was trash on it.

18. japkoslav

Posts: 1424; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

If there were games that are good and complex for gamepad usage why not. But sice we live in iOS and Android games library, there is really no reason for another "gaming" phone. Want good games on go? Buy yourself 3DS or Switch.

26. Xtraflossy

Posts: 31; Member since: Mar 13, 2018

If only Sony had some huge online catalog of games (PS3 and 4) you could stream, download or rent then.. oh wait..

37. japkoslav

Posts: 1424; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Steaming = +40ms latency at it's best (LAN connection). So yeah good for turn based games and walking simulators.

19. josephnero

Posts: 776; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Ps one and ps two exclusives would be awesome

20. hansip87

Posts: 225; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

imo, with PS4 and Remote Play existence, the point of gaming phone is just getting even more niche. What Sony should do is: 1. improve latency on PS4 Remote Play by making the phone as the screen only, not the bridge to the DS4 2. Maybe create a PS Vita emulator? 3. Have a mini DS4 game pad that can be attached to the phone

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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