HTC has been ‘confirmed’ by an insider source as the first among handset manufacturers outside of Sony to receive Playstation Suite certification. It means that HTC phones will soon be able to run Playstation classics like Ridge Racer.

But does it signpost the failure of HTC’s $40 million investment in OnLive? And will yet another service, piled on top of a myriad other, turn the company’s fortunes around? Read on for our thoughts.

Putting the Playstation experience on other phones “expands the PlayStation experience beyond the PSP border. It is the first cross-platform endeavour,” said then SCEE CEO Kaz Hirai. Sony’s wisened up to the fact that not everyone has both a Playstation and a PSP or PS Vita. And that not everyone has a Playstation 3.

Playstation Suite explained

That awareness and ethos of branching out has been echoed by the Sony Entertainment Network boss Tim Schaaff: “If I own a Sony Playstation device but I don’t have a Sony handset, does that mean I can’t use the music service when I leave my home?

“The reality is I’ve got to enable a kind of connected experience that spans where customers really move in their life. it’s probably not reasonable at this point in time to target a segment of customers who are all pure Sony from start to finish.”

It’s a very blunt, admirably open way of doing things – one which has ended up with HTC becoming a future benefactor of said Playstation goodness. But my reservation with the whole thing is that HTC seems to be jumping from one service to another in an aim to stay afloat.

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Remember when HTC became a major OnLive backer? OnLive still exists and is doing reasonably well, but I don’t think the same can be said for the mobile service championed by HTC’s Android devices. The backing that HTC put in was a huge $40 million investment – one which you’d think it’d be wanting to see through to the bitter end.

Jumping on the Playstation wagon says one of two things, though. Either HTC is just going to give up on OnLive, or it’s going to have both in an effort to continually load up its phones with endless services like so much ice cream in a tiny cone. Both scenarios are worrying.

The former – that OnLive has ceased to be HTC’s flavour of the month – is worrying for OnLive’s mobile reach. It’s already been dealt a severe blow by Apple, who’s still yet to approve the OnLive app. If HTC abandons support, it could be one of many potential coffin nails.

The latter is more worrying though. HTC’s bouncing around from service to service like it really doesn’t know what it’s doing. In terms of hardware, HTC has basically admitted that it can no longer really compete. The HTC Sensation XL is a flagship phone with middling specs. It brought a single-core processor to a dual-core party.

The logic is obvious: if you can’t turn around world-beating handsets, fill them to the brim with services. That’s why HTC backed OnLive so strongly at the start. That’s why HTC Watch was developed.

It’s why the company has just signed a huge deal with Dropbox and it’s exactly why it’s the only handset manufacturer making Beats branded smartphones.

Android’s deadly middle ground that could kill HTC

It’s kind of admirable. If handsets are reaching a specs plateau, the winner will obviously be the phone with the best user experience through various apps. But there’s a sense with HTC that it just doesn’t know what to do.

I get the impression that, off the back of a recent sales slump, the company is just signing up to everything in sight in a state of panic.

Which leads us back to the Playstation certification. Any other manufacturer? I’d be really excited. With HTC I worry that adding the Playstation’s range of games and services will come as more of a desperate stab in the dark than a carefully thought-out, market-leading feature.

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I’m keen to be proved wrong, of course. But the salient facts are these: HTC is in a bit of a crisis when it comes to hardware, it seems to be first to jump on emerging services that almost always amount to not very much, and it now wants to bet the farm on the Playstation, when in fact Sony is likely to start shifting the Playstation license about to everyone.

I’d love to know if you disagree, but from where I’m standing this new acquisition isn’t going to be quite the game-changer that HTC’s accountants might hope it’ll be.

Via Pocket-Lint

  • me

    The new Xperia S is playstation certified, so they’re not the first… check your facts!  HTC are rubbish and so are their support for older handsets

    • Anonymous

      The first outside of Sony – Ericsson no longer exists, so it’ll just be Sony handsets and HTC, if the reports are to be believed. 

  • Plagialist

    Blimey, where to start…

    1. Since when does HTC need “saving”? It made $625m profit in Q3 2011 – 68% up year on year, following six consecutive quarter rises. Even if started giving away phones for free to tramps in Q4, it had a Very Good Year by anyone’s estimation.
    2. In this context, a $40m investment in OnLive is like me giving a mate a tenner to cook me dinner. “Yeah, produce some cool stuff we’ll whack in our belly – if it doesn’t work out, don’t worry”
    3. Why is being “PlayStation certified” and supporting OnLive mutually exclusive? Surely having both will boost HTC’s devices’ appeal? With 4G on the horizon and the likes of BT Infinity only just coming in, OnLive’s appeal will increase not dwindle. It’s before it’s time, not “failing to amount to much” – the infrastructure can’t support it. Yet
    4. Not one of your ‘salient facts’ is actually a fact
    5. All of this analysis is based on an unsubstantiated “source” as Chinese-whisper reported on several other blogs. It may well be proven to be true, but sounding the death knell of a company that’s doing well based on clear-as-day conjecture is plain bizarre

    It seems like a bizarre SEO-driven story to write about as many manufacturers and products as possible in one story: Sony, Sony Entertainment Network, HTC, Android, Apple, OnLive, PlayStation Suite, PlayStation Vita, HTC Sensation XL, PSP, Ridge Racer, Dropbox, Beats… any more?

    Oh and ‘me’, the Xperia S is made by Sony. He said it’s the first manufacturer apart from Sony to release a PlayStation Certified device – it’s one of the few facts he got right. Except, it’s not a fact, as it hasn’t been confirmed yet

  • http://twitter.com/dave_everett Dave Everett

    Why is this bad again?  Loading up with both streaming and downloading content from as many people as possible is possibly the best way to go.  If you had the choice between someone like Asus or LG where all your content will come from the market and it’s related apps or a HTC where you have all of that plus beats, PS suite, onlive baked in and whatever other services they sign up to share with i think i’d take the HTC.  I might not use many of the services but the option is nice and if people get tied in to the services they are more likely to stick with a device that has them all when upgrading, the same way that I’d like an ipad but would rather not have to re-buy all my android apps on one when on an android tablet they are already paid for

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely that’s a great USP for HTC – and as I’ve said for some time they’ve clearly been trying to emulate Apple’s total iPhone+iTunes solution for some time. My only problem is, since the launch of HCT Watch last year, they’ve not added a great deal more – and the Videos app in Ice Cream Sandwich makes Watch rather redundant.

  • http://twitter.com/dave_everett Dave Everett

    Why is this bad again?  Loading up with both streaming and downloading content from as many people as possible is possibly the best way to go.  If you had the choice between someone like Asus or LG where all your content will come from the market and it’s related apps or a HTC where you have all of that plus beats, PS suite, onlive baked in and whatever other services they sign up to share with i think i’d take the HTC.  I might not use many of the services but the option is nice and if people get tied in to the services they are more likely to stick with a device that has them all when upgrading, the same way that I’d like an ipad but would rather not have to re-buy all my android apps on one when on an android tablet they are already paid for

Hot chat, right here!


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