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Sony-Google axis to take on Apple in touch based gaming

Sorry, but somewhere in all the Sony announcements and predictions and proclamations that the Nintendo 3Ds is really a much better gaming platform, So

By PETER WHITE

Published: 10 February, 2011

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Sorry, but somewhere in all the Sony announcements and predictions and proclamations that the Nintendo 3Ds is really a much better gaming platform, Sony has somehow managed to pull something out of the fire with a series of related portable gaming masterstrokes. And no-one appears to have noticed.

Effectively it has embraced touch for gaming, got off a permanent future on hardware based gaming, and partnered with Google, creating an anti-Apple axis of portable gaming and entertainment.

Let’s just list what it’s done on one finger at a time then. Sony has come to market with a device technically superior to the Apple iPod Touch, which because it has touch as a gaming paradigm, but has it integrated with highly responsive analog controls, and also has underside touch, for gaming navigation from either side, and has PlayStation 1 classic games, it might sell. Sony has also innovated around this with segments of the PlayStation Network especially for this, with new methods of finding gamers you want to challenge, watch or keep track of, and added GPS and 3G connection and other goodies, including a five inch OLED touch screen. That’s one.

Two. Sony decided to license the whole shooting match as a platform on Android portable devices – something last year we challenged Sony to be brave enough to do - which means that it transports this gaming platform, lock stock and smoking barrel onto iPad equivalents. This, in effect makes Google love Sony, and puts them in an unholy alliance against the Jesus Phone, leapfrogging gaming quality on Android and taking it ahead of even the iPad.

Sony it will lead this off with a phone of its own, announced next week which will at least give Sony Ericsson a peep of light at the end of the tunnel as well.

Nintendo has gone down the “other” route which is to instead opt for yet another hardware technology lead, with a 3D screen, which will lead it away from all the major portable gaming trends – touch, generic device and making it, for the most part, a software platform. The new Nintendo 3DS will be yet another hardware revolution and is destined to only at best succeed little better than slightly in our view, because of this. Sony was never in a position to adopt that strategy, being distinctly in second place in the portable specialist gaming device market and needed to step out of hardware innovation and think outside the square.

But finally, and possibly most importantly, Sony has scored a major hit with its existing games developers by extending the lifetime of their exiting PS1games, and providing a cash cow for each of them to then go on and develop for the new Sony software Suite.

We’re going to make a big call here, and say that by putting Sony Suite on an Android, that platform will leapfrog the iPhone as the gaming platform of choice and give Sony a long term lifeline, which Nintendo may not have available to it. Remember the old Sony PSP can talk to, and play content and games held on, remote PS3s. If this happens with millions of Android devices, the PS3 will also take a major step forward – most smart phones will talk to it –except the Jesus phone.

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