Sony Xperia Play

After rumours surfaced of a PSP Phone potentially in the works by Sony, in 2011 Sony Ericsson launched the Xperia Play, in the same year as the PlayStation Vita. The Go-styled Play was designed to be able to play PlayStation 1 games, and some Xperia-optimised games from the Android Marketplace (now called Play Store).

Years later, the phone is now a perfect device to be recycled as a handheld games console, capable of running the standard retro range of emulators (excluding N64), and is even capable of running a few PSP games!

Getting involved? There is an absolutely fantastic community for the device on Reddit (the Wiki is absolutely vital) and on Discord, and the usual XDA Forum gathering to compliment.

Not convinced yet? MVG gives a great rundown of the phone and where to buy.

Xperia Play in 2020 and Beyond

Official Android releases for the Play were Gingerbread (2.0), and that’s it. On the XDA Forums is an impressively stable build of Sony’s Ice Cream Sandwich build that was cancelled. Since the device was very popular at the time, there’s a wide range of custom ROMs to choose from too, with varying degrees of support and bugs.

Bear in mind that the phone is ~10 years old, and comes with 400MB storage and 512MB RAM. Both of these were small for the time of launch, and nowadays is inoperably low. For this we would not recommend using this phone as… Well, a phone.

However, the device comes with a built-in PlayStation 1 emulator called PlayStation Pocket, which handles an impressive range of the most popular PS1 games. You can get good performance out of some old versions of Android games, such as the Grand Theft Auto (III/Vice City) and Need for Speed.

Crash Bandicoot Download

The free download of Crash Bandicoot is now unfortunately unavailable after 10 years of service, so you will need to find an alternative source for this application. If you check the Discord mentioned at the top, they have located a perfectly functional SCEA and SCEU versions of the games. You plop these files where the guides tell you too, and when the game starts and checks to download, it should be happy as they’re now where they should be!

Apk Removals

We are in the process of identifying each app that comes built-in to the Xperia Play’s firmware, and if they can be removed. This is especially useful if you only wish to use your Play for gaming only, as cellular app and features can be removed to speed up the phone, and gain more storage.

For this to work, your phone must be rooted and using an app that allows forceful system app removals such as Titanium Backups.

Keep in mind that while you will recover some internal storage, it will still be unusably low. You must use a MicroSD card to cover the shortfall. Apps like Links2SD and Apps2SD can be used to forcibly move apps that require internal storage onto the SD storage.

You can view the spreadsheet in full on Google Sheets. Editing is not public, but feel free to comment your own experiences or download the spreadsheet!


Last updated: 6th April 2021

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