Sony appears to be gearing up to offer native DualShock 3 controller support in upcoming Xperia handsets, according to Xperia Blog. The addition of functionality was found in a Sony Xperia SP phone (which has yet to be officially released), and allows a user to connect a PS3 controller via USB cable, and then hand off the connection to Bluetooth.
Once the two are connected, they’ll automatically rediscover each other when powered on with Bluetooth active, and you can then use the PS3 controller to play games from Google Play that are joypad-enabled, or to play titles from PlayStation Mobile for Android. Sony’s own games marketplace offers titles that users will recognize from previous PlayStation console releases, so true native Sony gamepad support is a huge boon in terms of actually being able to enjoy those games without fiddling with touchscreen controls.
In the demo video, you can see that the DualShock 3 support performs quite well, making it possible to enjoy the games as they were originally meant to be played, with a controller laid out exactly as was intended. The DualShock controller can even be used to navigate within the PlayStation Mobile app, which means you’ll be able to use it easily when connected to a larger display like a television for a true lean-back gaming experience.
Sony’s efforts with PlayStation Mobile have gotten off to a slow start, thanks to a limited launch library and a relatively small pool of officially supported devices. But adding things like DualShock 3 support go a long way towards making it a viable game platform from which to offer PlayStation content beyond Sony’s own hardware ecosystem. Mobile has yet to see the emergence of a Steam, for instance, and if Sony begins to see its fortunes fading in terms of consoles and dedicated gaming devices, operating as a mobile platform publisher could be a good way to hedge its bets against future trends.
Let’s hope Sony sees the value of rolling out official DualShock 3 support beyond just the Xperia line. I’d be a lot more inclined to use PlayStation Mobile on any device if this were a built-in, Sony-blessed feature of that gaming marketplace.