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Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone speculation played down
(31/12/2010 17:09:59)

Sony has played down ideas that it is to push a new Sony Ericsson-branded phone based on its popular PlayStation gaming label.

Kazuo Hirai, president and chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), was quoted in the New York Times as stating that he believes that launching such a product could be considered confusing for consumers.

In recent months, numerous news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, have reported that Sony Ericsson is in the process of creating a new smartphone that will run downloadable games, including titles drawn from the original PlayStation console's library.

This speculation intensified when the website Engadget published pictures and video clips of what was purported to be a prototype for the PlayStation phone in October 2010.

This handset featured a PlayStation-style interface and an Android operating system, with gaming controls appearing on a slide-out panel in place of a qwerty keyboard.

Following this revelation, gaming analysts from the New England Consulting Group and Parks Associates told PC Mag they believe that a product of this kind is definitely on the way.

However, Mr Hirai suggested that the launch of a PlayStation-branded phone could potentially cause confusion with its dedicated PSP handheld console in the marketplace.

The PSP has sold 62 million units since its introduction in 2004, with Mr Hirai suggesting that a successor to the console is being planned.

"We don't want gamers to be asking what's the difference between [a PlayStation phone] and a PSP. We have to come up with a message that users will understand," said the SCE chief.

Mr Hirai also acknowledged that Sony is looking at new ways of approaching a gaming market that has been changed considerably by the advent of smartphone games.

Low-cost casual titles for Apple iPhone and Android devices have gained in popularity in the last few months, with the popular title Angry Birds having sold 50 million copies thus far.

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