The PSP Phone: it's just another N-Gage

One step away from being shaped like a pasty
One step away from being shaped like a pasty

Now pictures of a (supposed) Sony Ericsson PSP phone have emerged, the idea that we'll be seeing a 'proper' gaming mobile feels a lot more concrete.

Yes, the theory makes sense: Sony Ericsson is ailing in the phone market, so it leverages a core brand from its parent company to pull punters back in again.

And on-the-go library of games, downloadable from wherever would mimic the relative success of the Kindle, where a 3G connection provides pretty much any book you could want in 30 seconds.

History repeating itself

But this isn't the first time a company has looked at the popularity of mobile gaming and tried to make a phone based around that principle - who remembers the Nokia N-Gage from 2003 and 2004?

Nokia n-gage

Back then attempts to make a Gameboy rival with phone bits included failed spectacularly - not helped by a weird screen and having to take out the battery to play games.

And now Sony Ericsson wants to repeat the trick? Surely someone has realised that gaming on a mobile is a casual thing, not the primary function. That's always going to be calling or internet browsing.

Gamers might flock to the brand as they think 'Wow, I can finally do away with having a PSP AND a phone in my pocket - score!'

But then they'll suddenly find themselves a little embarrassed in a meeting when they pull out a phone that's primarily a games console - you might as well walk in wearing an 'I'm 10 years old TODAY' badge.

Phone for the gamers

Phones now have powerful graphics processors and CPUs, loads of memory and large screens; but just because a gaming phone is possible, doesn't mean Sony Ericsson should make it.

Gaming on mobiles has also never been bigger, thanks to the likes of Apple, but the extra heft of a slide out keypad and shoulder buttons is still a bridge too far, no matter how hard the shiny Android-toting touchscreen tries to hide it.

The rise of casual gaming is just that: casual. People want to throw birds at pigs, slice fruit in half with their finger or hack bits of rope to feed a monster for ten minutes. They don't want to have to spend an hour immersed in an RPG when they've only got a few stops on the Tube.

Now, a Sony-branded gaming portal offering oodles of PSP-style gaming content instantly downloadable to any (decent) Android phone, well, now that's something we would REALLY love to see happening - just not Sony Ericsson's attempt to convince people that the N-Gage was secretly a brilliant idea. Editor Tim Ingham disagrees with Gareth - stating that the PSP Phone will be the iPhone killer everyone has been talking about for years.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.