Gamers with vast PlayStation Network software libraries won't catch a break if they opt to pick up Sony Ericsson's forthcoming Xperia Play when it ships in March. While the slide-bottom Android Phone plays PlayStation Suite-compatible games as well as PlayStation-original oldies, they'll only be available as new purchases from a separate Sony Ericsson online store.
"[Xperia Play owners] will have to repurchase the games, so it's not totally integrated," said Nathan Vautier, Sony Ericsson's managing director for UK and Ireland in an interview with GameSpot UK.
So a little like the PSPgo, only even less flexible. PSP owners with UMD (disc-based) game libraries had to repurchase stuff they already owned because the PSPgo lacks a UMD-drive or a means of discretely authenticating existing purchases. But once purchased, you could download the games to any PlayStation Portable via your PlayStation Network account.
Xperia Play, by contrast, only plays preloaded PSone games and others downloaded from Sony's online Sony Ericsson store. That's in part because the Play requires versions of the games compiled for Android OS (presumably using Sony's new PlayStation Suite of development tools). That's also probably why Sony decided to keep the PlayStation and Sony Ericsson online app stores separate.
I'm guessing this won't affect Xperia Play's sales much, even if the Play looks increasingly like a PSPgo 2. If you have a large PSN game library, you probably have your eyes trained further out on Sony's PlayStation Portable successor (codename NGP). The Xperia Play looks more like an attempt to pick up the Android phone loyal who bypassed the PSP and PSPgo for phone that plays games, but who aren't really hardcore gamers.