Why OnLive could resurrect the Xperia Play

Features Damien McFerran 15:47, 5 Oct 2011

With an Android-based client in development, we investigate if OnLive could represent the turning point in the life of Sony Ericsson's much-maligned gaming phone

Despite Sony Ericsson's positive comments, the Xperia Play seems to be really struggling. Retailers are reporting lacklustre sales and the general feeling amongst consumers is that the much-hyped PlayStation Phone isn't worth ditching an iPhone for.

Personally, we feel that this situation is unwarranted - the Xperia Play's physical controls make it the dream ticket for gamers, and the proliferation of retro emulators available on the Android Market can transform it into the ultimate handheld games console.

Still, if recent events are anything to go by, the fortunes of this unfairly ignored device could be radically changing. Industrious hackers have managed to get the OnLive Viewer working on Sony Ericsson's gaming-focused phone, and that is potentially groundbreaking news.

If the name doesn't mean anything to you, allow us to explain: OnLive is a subscription-based cloud gaming service which allows you to stream games to your TV or computer without the need for expensive consoles or hardware. The games you download are in fact played on a remote server and what you see on your television is a real-time video feed.

The service has been live in North American since last year, and has recently launched in the UK.

At the moment, the Xperia Play version of OnLive is just the viewer, which means you can only watch games rather than participate in them. However, it's proof that the concept is possible on Sony Ericsson's handset. Indeed, OnLive product manager Andrew Srinivasan has mentioned in a recent interview that the company is looking into bringing the service to the Xperia Play, as well as other Android devices.

Such a move could prove to be a life-saver for Xperia Play. It would essentially transform the phone into a platform capable of running the latest 360, PS3 and PC games. Instead of making do with graphically humble iOS ports, Xperia Play owners could be playing Space Marine, Just Cause 2 and many other next-gen games - all from the comfort of their own handset.

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