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Sony bringing PlayStation games to Android

Even as it unveils its next-generation gaming handheld, Sony announces that older PlayStation games will be able work as apps on certified Android devices.

Sony's new Next Generation Portable will be able to play games designed to run on Sony's Android gaming ecosystem.
Sony's upcoming Next Generation Portable will be able to play games designed to run on Sony's Android gaming ecosystem. Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony, apparently eager to profit from the still relatively immature Android gaming market, announced a program to bring older PlayStation games to Android devices--phones and tablets--that pass the company's certification tests.

The new PlayStation Suite initiative "will not only deliver the PlayStation experience to a wider base of users around the globe, but will also be able to offer game developers and publishers the potential to further expand their business opportunities to these devices," the Sony Computer Entertainment division said today. Also announced is an accompanying developer program to make it easier for programmers to create suitable game apps.

Sony plans to deliver the first games later this year, but there are a number of qualifiers. First, Sony will begin with original PlayStation 1 games, not the latest titles for newer hardware. Second, phones will require the newest "Gingerbread" release of Android, version 2.3.

And third, hardware makers must sign up for the PlayStation Certified license. Through it, device must pass tests "to ensure the delivery of PlayStation quality experience across various devices" before Sony will grant a license to use the appropriate logo.

And as is increasingly common in the world of Android, there will be another app store to reckon with.

Sony "also plans to open PlayStation Store where users will be able to download content in an easy to use environment, directly via the Android based portable devices," Sony said. It's not immediately clear whether that will be the sole means of distribution for the game apps.

As the developer kit indicates, the program won't be just for legacy PS1 games. And games developed under Sony's Android gaming initiative will also work on the newly announced Next Generation Portable, Sony's successor to the PlayStation Portable.

Also unclear at this stage is which device makers might participate in the licensing program. One obvious one is Sony itself, of course, with its expected Android-based PlayStation phone.