May 26, 2011
One of the biggest successes ever in indie PC gaming, Minecraft, is finally making its debut on mobile platforms, as it’s coming to Android later this year. However, it’s not just coming to the OS in general, as it’s coming to the Xperia Play, Sony Ericsson’s gaming-focused phone with actual hardware buttons. This follows on the heels of the announcement earlier this year that Minecraft was coming to mobile platforms, particularly iPhone, iPad, and Android.
This could be a major coup for the Xperia Play – Minecraft is a definite hit on the PC platform, having racked up over 2 million units sold despite a lack of traditional promotion or release; heck, the game still hasn’t even left beta yet! This could potentially be the kind of major release that helps push Android along as a gaming platform, especially if it gets released alongside or in advance of the iOS version. The problem is that the Xperia Play is still a relatively obscure platform. Most of the time when the Xperia Play is heard about, it’s when an exclusive game is released for it, not for any particular notoriety on the phone’s behalf. As well, it’s still limited to Verizon in the US – no other carriers have the phone at all, and unless some other carriers announce that they will carry the phone, the market for Minecraft on Android could be limited for a while, unless/until the game went to the Android Market as a whole.
This kind of highlights the problem with the Xperia Play so far – it has been just a lot of hot air. A lot of interesting game announcements, but no major impact yet. The Android gaming market has yet to really change, and it doesn’t seem like the phone is quite the hot seller yet. Sony Ericsson deserve tons of credit for pulling in some big name publishers and developers to make the Xperia Play a potential success. It will just take users to actually adopt the platform, and Minecraft’s legions of addicted users could prove to be a huge spark. Minecraft for the Xperia Play is expected to be released later this year – when is ‘later’, exactly? Well, lead developer Notch did tweet a picture of the game running on the Xperia Play recently.