Does PlayNow arena clear the way for a Sony Ericsson PlayStation Phone?

New mobile content service could spell competition for N-Gage

Does PlayNow arena clear the way for a Sony Ericsson PlayStation Phone?

Bear with us on this one: it's rampant speculation on our part, but we reckon there's a grain of truth in it. Sony Ericsson has just announced a new service called PlayNow arena.

It's a mobile content store, accessible from both your phone and the web, selling full-track music downloads, wallpapers, and mobile games. It's a massive extension of the company's existing PlayNow portal, and is due to launch in the second quarter of next year.

The service's music aspects will get most of the attention, since it'll be competing head-on with Nokia's Music Store and Apple's iTunes. However, the games aspect is equally intriguing. Here's what Sony Ericsson said in its announcement tonight:

"Mobile games will remain a key focus within the PlayNow arena. Going forward Sony Ericsson intends to cement its number one position in the mobile games market by making mobile gaming a key area within the PlayNow arena."

Obviously, Java and possibly Symbian games will be an important part of this. But – and this is where our speculation comes in – what if PlayNow arena will be used as the base for one or more PlayStation-branded gaming phones?

Why? Well, Sony Ericsson says you'll be able to sideload content from PlayNow arena to your phone, which makes sense for larger Symbian games, but isn't a huge boon for smaller Java games.

But, if the company did launch PlayStation Phones, an on-handset portal like this would be the ideal way to get people to try demos, then purchase and download / sideload the full games. So much so, that this is exactly the strategy Nokia is pursuing with its new N-Gage platform.

N-Gage versus PlayStation in 2008? Don't bet against it.

Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)