06
Aug
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Last Updated: August 7th, 2014

In what will surely be a crushing blow to at least four, maybe five gamers across the globe, Sony has announced that it is ending support for its branded PlayStation Mobile game store and platform. If you'll recall, that's the app and control setup that is (or was) exclusive to Xperia phones and tablets, plus a few select models from HTC and Sharp. In a statement posted to the Japanese PlayStation website, the company said that devices running versions of Android past 4.4.3 would not be supported.

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The point of PlayStation Mobile was to offer unique digital games, some of which were also on the PlayStation Vita, in a syncing cross-platform implementation tied to the user's PSN account. Some of the games available to Android users were also playable on the PlayStation Vita and Vita TV, and progress and achievements were synced to Sony's cloud service. The PlayStation Mobile app also lets players have access to officially-sanctioned virtual controls modeled after the Dual Shock controller.

gone too soon

We'll certainly miss startling works of originality like Dark Quest.

Unfortunately, the service was mired with issues, most notably a severe lack of games: even almost two years after PlayStation Mobile was launched, there are only 72 games in the PlayStation Store, none of which are particularly compelling. What's more, almost all of them are what you'd consider "mobile" games with limited graphics and touch controls - Sony hasn't tried to leverage its huge backlog of console games, even though it owns the rights to many of them. The final nail in the coffin may have been the convoluted control scheme, which often got touch controls and the virtual button overlay confused. The fact that it all relied on PSN, with no Google Play integration, wasn't particularly appealing either.

So, yeah. Goodbye, PlayStation Mobile. Maybe the next time Sony decides to create its own Android game store it will put some PlayStation games in there.

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Source: Sony Japan, PSM FAQ via XperiaBlog

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

    As I commented on Engadget... "Article is forgetting about Playstation Now. The Playstation streaming service that will allow you to play Playstation Games on your PS4, PS3, TV, Tablet, and Phone. Playstation Mobile is a poor and antiquated method for delivering games to these platforms that is being replaced."

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      I haven't forgotten. http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/01/07/ces-2014-sony-demonstrates-playstation-now-streaming-game-service-coming-to-phones-and-tablets-eventually/

      But since Sony hasn't said anything about a mobile release in over six months, even for its own Android hardware, I've got to assume it's a long way off (if indeed it's still coming).

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        PS now has just entered the open beta about a week ago so the mobile launch is VERY FAR off from where it stands now, they'd first need to at least establish the service on PS4 in both US and EU, then think about further expansion in other regions and platforms

      • DarthDiggler

        @MichaelCriderAP:disqus

        I've got to assume it's a long way off (if indeed it's still coming).

        When you Assume you make an ASS out of U and ME. :)

        For now PS Now is in beta on the PS3 and PS4, it seems they have most of the functionality working but it seems they are also feeling around for a proper price point (given the recent changes in pricing). I am sure once they find that happy medium they will reveal more plans about the full release.

        If the Mobile store wasn't profitable, Sony isn't in any worse shape by closing it down. If it wasn't popular the people it will affect are minimal.

    • gacl

      Native client apps aren't being replaced. Devs are still using Unity, Unreal, CryTek, etc to make native client games that run on a variety of platforms including Android, Playstation, and others. PS Mobile was a sucky crippled version of Unity tied to a special PlayStation store that just never made a lick of sense.

    • primalxconvoy

      I agree somewhat, but a pure streaming service isn't the solution. How are Sony's faithful, the millions of Japanese "sarariman" men, going to be able to play these streaming games, while crammed on the underground trains every day?

      • DarthDiggler

        @primalxconvoy:disqus

        Japan's internet infrastructure especially in the urban regions much more robust than ours.

  • johnnyc2

    It would always crash on my Xperia Z2 after downloading a single game. Even factory resets, installs/uninstalls/updates couldn't fix it. Found a couple of threads online about it but no responses or solutions.

  • http://gameluv.com/ Shawn S

    Anybody say how this effects the Vita side? I actually have a few of the games downloaded. It'll be interesting to see how and if they dissipate.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    I've been wondering why it took them so long to axe this. Nobody uses it on mobile, the game selection is rather shitty, and the availability in, like, 5 EU countries was a pretty much guarantee that they'd wipe this service sooner or later. First on Android, next everywhere else

  • WhoaManWtF

    So you don't miss Dark Quest too badly https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brainseal.azkallor&hl=en It is on GooglePlay too ;)

  • MG

    Quite clearly, Playstation Now is where it is. This service was from the PSP-era, alot has changed since then.

    The Vita/PlayStation TV option is a VERY compelling combo for their streaming service. Stream any your own PS4 games to anywhere else in the house AND/OR stream PS3 games from Sony's servers.

    The true best of both worlds. The PlaystationTV is the real game changer for me. The full PS4 experience for $80. Microsoft are dead in the water with the Xbox One even before this, this will only compound their problems.

    • gacl

      Playstation Now is an interesting experiment into server-side game rendering and it may take off, but client side game binaries are still the overwhelming norm. There are many cross platform game engines to choose from... Playstation Mobile was just a bad choice. It uses a special version of the Unity engine, when the full version of the Unity engine works better.

    • primalxconvoy

      It's interesting but the proprietary and expensive external memory, high cost of games, Geo-locking and other Sony shenanigans put me off. Even my Ouya has more use and capabilities than Sony TV. Sony, as usual, crippled it. However, throw in Android, USB hard-drive support, etc and lower the price of games and watch those buggers fly off the shelves.

      Heck, include those features in a PS4 and I might think about buying one.

  • http://adonisk.com Adonis K.

    Implying we ever had access to it.

    If they didn't want it to die, they should have opened it for all Android devices, not just Sony's.

    • Mozaik

      like tegra , okk.

  • gacl

    This was just a crippled version of the Unity game engine and a special Sony Android game store. No developer in their right mind would use that instead of regular Unity or other game engines that let you make native Android/PlayStation games.

  • Nathan J

    Sony kind of dropped the ball on its Android offerings. I've been saying for a couple years now, they don't need to be putting PlayStation games on Android phones, they need to be putting Android on the PSP/Vita. Basically, nVidia Shield, except PSP form factor. Everybody said I was crazy, that that would never work. I don't think the nVidia Shield is a failure, do you? Had Sony done what I said, what nVidia did, I think it could have been successful—among PlayStation users, anyway. I had the first two, back in the day, but I've been a PC gamer since. So it wouldn't interest me, but for PlayStation users, an Android-powered PSP would just be the next step in portable PlayStation gaming.

    • vidvox

      I have been saying the same thing. The next generation of Nintendo and Sony handhelds will run Android. I cant be sure if that will include the Play Store but a skin of AOSP running of of the many amazing mobile chips today would solve huge problems for the device makers. The biggest of them will 3rd party support so that a developer could release a title for "Android" and hit the play store as well as the Sony and Nintendo devices with limited problems.

      I love my Shield Portable. I received the Shield Tablet last week and the thing is incredible and I prefer many games on it but when its time for Modern Combat 5 it is the Portable that I pick up. I have had mine for the last year and it is the future of gaming.

    • primalxconvoy

      I half-agree. What they need is an Xperia Play phablet (and a related tablet perhaps), with a contract/4G model AND a WiFi only model (effectively your idea). This way, almost anyone could buy into the PSN, via e "ipod/iphone" entry systems that Apple uses.

      Further refinement could be just a dedicated Xperia phablet (sold as mentioned above), with support for Playstation pads (as per now) AND/or a dedicated sliding controller case, very much in the vane of the "Bladepad" (Google it). That way, the device can also sell to a much wider market AND additional sales can be made via peripheral sales if the case/pad.

      I think Nintendo could easily do the same. They both then could control the hardware (pads, cases, device) AND offer a dedicated store app that only seeks their products (like "Ouya Everywhere", only with more games that work). Customers could then buy games from Google Play (and use the pad's HID mode) or proprietary games from their shop (using speccislised and exclusive features via the " PSN/Nintendo" mode on the game pads). This could then reflect how Moga is offering their pads as a solution (but with a working non-HID mode, as "Moga mode" is rubbish).

  • primalxconvoy

    Yep, that's Sony right there; full of potentially great ideas... until the old Japanese men in suits all have a big meeting and then turn that thoroughbred racehorse into a camel.

    Then the awfully inadequate software division, starved of money, training, staff and support, release a buggy, poorly implemented software solution and wonder why noone is using it...

    Sony REALLY needs to make a gaming phablet, tablet and microconsole range, marrying Sony and Android tech together to make something wonderful. They could pull it off, too, if only they would stop thinking of hardware and inter-divisional bickering as the norm and be happy to invest in good software and cannibalising sales or assets from other divisions to support new ones.

  • Sam Morris

    PS Mobile isn't shutting down. It's just Vita exclusive.