Analysis Centre

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Nokia-Microsoft Alliance: An Xbox Phone?


Will Microsoft Introduce A Xbox Phone?

Sony Ericsson recently confirmed the long rumoured and awaited Playstation phone, the Xperia Play with a Super Bowl Ad. The phone is expected to come loaded with the following specifications:

  • Display: 4 inch touchcreen
  • Screen resolution: 854 × 480 pixels
  • OS: Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • Adreno 205 GPU
  • Slide-out gaming keypad
  • Dual touch-sensitive analog control inputs
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • HD Video recording capability (720p)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS

This gaming-centric phone will provide an early mover advantage to:

  • Sony Ericsson (PS3) over Microsoft (Xbox)
  • Sony Ericsson (Xperia Play) over Nokia (N-gage)
  • Google (Android) over Microsoft (Windows Mobile 7)

PS3 Takes on Xbox

As of November 2010, PS3 had nearly 20% market share of the console market in the US, while Xbox had nearly 34% share, based on NPD figures. However, Play might help Sony to boost its PS3 sales globally. One business model could be that Sony allows its customers to buy all/few levels of its games supported by Play which could then also be played over PS3/PSP consoles. This cross device integration may lure not-current-owners-of-PS3/PSP in making these purchases.

Burgeoning Mobile Gaming Industry Mandates the Need for a Xbox Phone

According to Gartner, mobile gaming end-user revenue is estimated to have crossed US$ 5.6 billion in 2010 and is forecasted to reach US$ 11.4 billion. This estimation may get revised now with the launch of Xperia Play which is expected to enjoy a monopoly as the only gaming-centric phone in the market for a foreseeable period of time. Thus to curb this, Microsoft may launch its own Xbox-branded mobile phone, running Windows Mobile and hardware from Nokia. The Finnish manufacturer can leverage its experience and learnings from its N-Gage system. As a differentiator from Play, Nokia can use its ClearBlack display, along with 8MP/12MP AF camera, free Ovi Maps/Music, HDMI mirroring and other features to attract customers.

If Microsoft does decide to launch an Xbox phone, it could also compel Nitendo Wii to jump into the fray. Maybe an HTC-Nitendo partnership in the future? further, Play might just signal the consolidation of the console gaming industry and the smartphone industry. But these are definitely exciting times for gaming hardcores!


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