Sony Might Buy Ericsson (and Why This Matters to the PlayStation Brand)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony is about to buy Ericsson, the mobile phone company it teamed up with in 2001. Sounds boooooring, but it actually has the potential to be a big move for the PlayStation brand.

The Xperia Play, a phone released by Sony Ericsson's joint venture, has been a bit of a dud. It looks...OK, but in a world of $0.99 iPhone games, the DS, 3DS, PSP and upcoming Vita, it hasn't lived up to the promise it once held when everyone thought it would be an actual PlayStation Phone.

It was never going to, of course, because Sony Ericsson wasn't Sony. It was, in typical Sony fashion, an almost isolated group, one far from a leadership position in the mobile field, and certainly not the kind of people who would be trusted to come up with an actual PlayStation Phone.

But now that Sony is serious about taking over and bringing the whole operation under the one umbrella? Things get more interesting. The WSJ reports that, according to "people familiar with the matter", Sony Ericsson tried "for years" to develop a true PlayStation Phone, but Sony were cold on the idea, not happy to entrust the brand to a spin-off joint venture company.

If Sony Ericsson simply becomes Sony's mobile phone company, though, that would all change. And you'd think the very first thing they'd be looking at would be to come up with a PlayStation Phone, something that could fill a niche in the smartphone market by being a device offering more substantial games than those usually found on, say, the Apple or Android stores.

That's all just speculation, of course, and the WSJ says the talks are far from a done deal. But if that deal gets done, don't be surprised to hear rumours of a proper PlayStation Phone start popping up again. Only this time, we might actually get one.

Sony Itches to Return to Mobile Arms Race [Wall Street Journal]


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