Despite Sony's focus on mobile games via the PlayStation Vita, there's been a second, parallel path in the mobile game front taken via PlayStation Suite. That initiative, now called PlayStation Mobile, was detailed with additional hardware partners and promises of indie-friendly openness at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.
PlayStation Mobile aims to take small-scale gaming to a wider variety of devices: Sony Xperia phones and tablets, select Android devices, and the PlayStation Vita. These games will download on all formats and be cross-compatible, in an attempt to build an ecosystem that can extend beyond traditional handheld game systems like the Vita into phones and tablets.
I was skeptical of the PlayStation Mobile initiative back at E3 in Los Angeles because it seemed tacked-on, diffuse, and unclear. Several months later, the strategy of PlayStation Mobile doesn't seem much clearer. Sony announced Asus and Wikipad as the newest PlayStation-certified hardware partners, but no specific devices were mentioned. Sony also promises major game developers working on PlayStation Mobile, but named no names and no specific games.
Shown on-screen at the Gamescom presser were an undefined assortment of titles, most resembling the type of indie games you can already find on iOS and Android. That's the real question: can PlayStation Mobile bridge a gap between old-school gaming franchises and new-school mobile smartphones and tablets, or will PlayStation Mobile continue to be a spin-off from the rest of the AAA handheld gaming content?
I still think Sony needs to focus on the Vita first, which it did during Gamescom via a smattering of interesting new games. When it comes to Android, there are already a lot of developers making good Android games, thank you very much. What Android really needs is Sony porting its own inventive AAA content to PlayStation Mobile-certified tablets and phones, but of course, no news in that regard emerged. When it does, I'll be interested, and so will lots of other people.