Is Sony afraid of the iPhone? You betcha!

There is a saying - when you spend most of your advertising putting down the competition you are afraid that rival is not only better, but is winning the fight.

That might not be the exact phrase, but you get the idea.

You can see this practice happening in a number of places. Politicians telling you that you shouldn't vote for any of the above because they will send you on a path to doom, or Apple's CEO telling you that his company is not the only one with handset antenna problems.

So when Sony America puts out an advert with a kid telling a twenty-something that his phone (read iPhone) isn't "built for big boy games" you know it's got to be worried. Very worried. The iPhone has snuck in and stolen a big chunk of what was traditionally the PSP's market, and the Japanese corporation knows it.

Sony's response is to announce a series of mini-games for the PSP for $9.99, but is that enough to quell the growing tide of mobile gaming shifting from dedicated devices to mobile phones?

And it's not as if Sony's fight is going to get any easier. Microsoft's push away from creating a dedicated portable gaming device and creating what is, basically, an Xbox Live phone using Windows Phone 7 isn't going to help.

Why would you go for a dedicated device when so many of the people that have disposable cash will opt for a phone version?

Nintendo's response has always been to appeal to the kids' market and leave adult gaming-on-the-go to Sony and now the iPhone.

Its own latest attempt to stay ahead of the curve is to create hardware that mobile phones have yet to, and are unlikely to, embrace.

The 3DS, which is still to get an official release date in the UK, offers a value-added proposition that leaves the PSP fighting the fight on its own.

With the iPhone still growing in popularity (Angry Birds has made its developers over £6.5m) and Windows Phone 7 pushing for Xbox integration; with games like Halo, Castlevania and Crackdown 2 (and that's just the launch titles), Sony needs to create a value-add of its own if it is to withstand the onslaught coming from all sides.

Its best bet would be, as rumours suggest, to create an Android-powered Sony Ericsson gaming phone that not only allows it to catapult a number of games it owns and publishes, into a ever growing market, but to save the Sony Ericsson brand at the same time, giving it plenty of ammunition to fight the battle ahead.

That way it could go from being afraid, to being feared.



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