Sony Ericsson loves Android. Despite the fact that the Xperia X10, the original juggernaut of an Android-powered device that came to market way too late, wasn’t the biggest hit, SE wants to continue to use the (open?) software for their smartphones. A whole bunch of new Xperia devices are coming down the pipe in the near future, but perhaps the most unique of these is the Xperia PLAY. First and foremost, it’ll be the first of the Sony Ericsson devices to promote official Sony PlayStation games. On top of that, the device is a landscape slider, but instead of a physical keyboard, owners will get treated to a D-pad and buttons, so that playing those PlayStation games is a lot easier, and not dependent solely on the touchscreen. But, you can’t hope to sell anything without some kind of marketing to promote the device, and SE knows that they’ve got to pitch the PLAY to anyone and everyone who may benefit from this handset. So far, the commercials for the PLAY seem to be a bit . . . unorthodox.
First, let me say that there are two commercials that I’m specifically referring to. The second of these two I’ve included below, at the end of the article. The first, you can find through this link. I’m not posting the first video in the article proper because I think it goes a bit over the top with its visuals, and even the audio isn’t for everyone. It certainly gets the point across, but it just may be too much for some.
When I saw the videos, I was pretty shocked at first. In the first video, it starts off normally enough. You have your spokesperson holding the phone and talking about its great features. In the case of the first video, it’s all about how the Xperia PLAY is perfectly capable of checking email, and doing all those business-oriented things that employees have to do on a day-to-day basis. And then, without warning, the viewer is tossed into a warzone, where the spokesperson is now holding a huge (fake) weapon, and yelling at the top of her lungs how you can shoot people in the face. In the background, real war scenes are being played, and the previously serene spokesperson is yelling curse words.
The second video is a lot calmer, and it too focuses on the gaming potential of the PLAY. However, this video is all about the physical controls and how much better they are than having to use the touchscreen to move around, or shoot people in the face. Again, the audio takes a turn for the unorthodox as the spokesperson elaborates on stabbing her clone in unimaginable places. The advertisements for the PLAY are unique in their storytelling, but they do get the point across.
And they’re effective. While the iPhone and iPod Touch may have the App Store behind them, and plenty of fun and enhanced videogames at their disposal, they are still hindered by the fact that you need to use the touchscreen to control the action. The same goes for Android-powered devices and many other games on other mobile platforms (like Windows Phone 7). It’s certainly possible to get accustomed to these controls, but let’s be honest: the Xperia PLAY has a huge bonus in that physical board with buttons and a D-pad. Even if it is ugly.
To me, the commercials may be over the top and ridiculous (and that means all of the commercials for the Xperia PLAY), but they get the point across, and that’s exactly what Sony Ericsson needs to do. Show off the fact that the PLAY is the next best thing in mobile gaming, and that you need one if you want to actually enjoy playing your First Person Shooter (FPS) on your mobile phone. Plus, they are fun to watch. What do you think of the commercials? Let me know in the comments below.