UK gamers itching to get their thumbs on an Xperia Play don't have long to wait. Sony Ericsson's PlayStation phone will go on sale in the UK at the end of this month, with six games preloaded and another 50 available to download from Sony's PlayStation Suite.
Games industry website MCV has the news, with Sony Ericsson's local marketing director David Hilton saying the Xperia Play launch will be "the biggest marketing campaign we have had in the UK".
The six preloaded games will be Bruce Lee Dragon Warriors, Tetris, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, FIFA 10 and The Sims 3. We think Bruce Lee could be the pick of the bunch, having played the excellent iPhone version to death. The 50 games available through PS Suite will apparently be a mix of vintage PSOne games and current smart-phone titles.
Separately, social games publisher Digital Chocolate is launching three games for the Xperia Play, PocketGamer reports, including mobile hits Rollercoaster Revolution 99 Tracks and Tower Bloxx: My City, and Facebook game Millionaire City.
The March launch is earlier than expected in the UK -- Sony Ericsson promised March at the device's launch during Mobile World Congress, but UK operators have been saying April or merely 'Q2'. That said, UK retailer Play has been taking pre-orders for the device with a 28 March release date.
"All the mobile operators and retailers are selling it," Hilton tells MCV. "It is rare these days to get a product that is sold everywhere, but this is one of those."
The Xperia Play has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and an Adreno GPU graphics processor, with Sony Ericsson promising the combo will run 3D games at up to 60 frames per second. The handset also has a 5-megapixel camera, a 4-inch touchscreen, and runs the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS.
When we got hands-on with the Xperia Play at Sony Ericsson's launch event, we were impressed with it, especially by the slide-out gamepad. Sony Ericsson is also reportedly trying to bag exclusive games for the device, while Sony's console division, Sony Computer Entertainment, is talking up the PS Suite service too.
"We are trying to establish a PlayStation Store within the Android Market," SCEE president Andrew House tells MCV in a separate interview. "This will be a destination for games that have a seal of quality which use the PlayStation tried and tested interface, either physically or via a virtual or on-screen representation of that."