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Sony teams with Major League Gaming for Xperia PLAY tournaments

by Phil Hornshaw

Mobile gaming still doesn’t have quite the credibility among “hardcore” video game fans who remain loyal to consoles, PCs and handheld machines, but the mobile industry is continuing to make strides. It even has its own competitive gaming league.

Major League Gaming, a hub of online competitive gaming known as e-sports that pushes competitions and even offers prize money to top players, has teamed with Sony to create a league specifically for the company’s Xperia PLAY Android smartphone. You remember the Xperia PLAY, right? It’s the Android phone that includes a slide-down gamepad rather than a keyboard. I spent a little time with the PLAY and really liked it, but it seems the device hasn’t really taken off the way Sony had hoped.

Still, as Pocket Gamer reports, there’s now an MLG league just for players who own the gamepad-enabled smartphone, called the Xperia Mobile Gaming Arena. According to MLG’s website, the first tournament centers on online multiplayer gameplay for Gameloft’s Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, with more tournaments and competitions to follow.

What’s most interesting is that anybody with an Xperia PLAY can participate in MLG’s on-going multiplayer tournament, which includes $10,000 in prizes to be doled out to winners. All it takes is linking your Gameloft Live account – which you need to play Modern Combat 3 and other games online – with an MLG account. Then you can track leaderboards and other information on the XMGA website. Even though players competing in the tournament will be Xperia PLAY owners, they’ll still face off against players on other Android devices, and even on Apple’s iOS devices, as well.

It seems Gameloft, MLG and Sony are pretty excited about the Xperia Mobile Gaming Arena. Baudouin Corman, Gameloft’s VP of publishing in the Americas, calls the venture a sign of a “new age of competitive mobile gaming,” as Pocket Gamer reports.

That might not be too far off, really. E-sports as a spectator event continue to pick up steam across the video game industry and beyond, and bringing those same competitions – and offering cash prizes – could potentially help to kick-start a larger competitive gaming community in mobile. That’s a good thing, because the seriously competitive gamers tend to drive innovations in game development by pushing developers to improve games to make competition work better. They also will encourage more “hardcore” games, which means more games, and potentially deeper, more engaging games, for everyone.

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