When I got to spend some time playing with Sony Ericsson’s Playstation-branded Xperia Play in March at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, I was more than a little impressed.

The phone’s featured slide-down gamepad – which looked for all intents and purposes like a terrible gimmick in all those Internet photos – was actually a revelation when it came to playing many smartphone games. Add to that all the touchscreen innovation enjoyed by Android and iOS, and the phone turned from something about which I was skeptical to the gold standard in implementing controls for mobile games.

When the Play finally landed on U.S. shores at the end of May, it was met with some mixed reviews from the tech community. Most reviewers seemed to agree that from a hardware standpoint, the Play is great, but it lacks in software, bringing only 50 titles optimized for its control scheme (and that might sound like a lot, but given the scope of mobile gaming, it isn’t at all). That meant that while Play owners had this great controller, they often couldn’t gain much benefit out of it when playing games on the device.

Sony Ericsson has promised that more Xperia-optimized titles would be on the way, and today they made good on that promise, announcing 20 new titles that would soon be released that are built specifically to utilize the Play’s control scheme. Engadget has the press release, which details titles from Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Spacetime Studios, Gamelab and Crescent Moon Games, among others. Many of the new titles are highly anticipated upcoming releases or popular Android and iOS titles.

In fact, many of the new titles are going to be exclusive to the Xperia Play (at least for a little while). Sony Ericsson has been snagging exclusivity deals from companies such as Gameloft, giving Android gamers a good reason to consider the device apart from its superior hardware and interface. In this next batch are a lot of huge titles: a mobile version of Minecraft, the uber-popular indie PC game that boasts a community of 8 million leads the pack; followed by Electronic Arts’ Android port of its iOS first-person shooter, Battlefield: Bad Company 2; and a Gameloft port of its popular FPS, Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard, also on iOS.

Here are the titles, according to Sony Ericsson’s press release:


New Android Games Exclusive on Xperia™ PLAY:

  • Minecraft™ by Mojang
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2 by Electronic Arts
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Shadow Vanguard by Gameloft
  • Desert Winds by Southend Interactive
  • Ruined by Bigpoint
  • Icebreaker™ by NaturalMotion
  • Sleepy Jack by SilverTree Media
  • Cracking Sands by Polarbit
  • Armageddon Squadron 2 by Polarbit
  • An unnamed fighting game from Khaeon Gamestudio

    New Games coming soon on Xperia™ PLAY:

  • Pocket Legends by Spacetime Studios
  • Star Legends: The Black Star Chronicles by Spacetime Studios
  • Eternal Legacy by Gameloft
  • Guns ‘n’ Glory 2 by HandyGames
  • Dungeon Hunter 2 by Gameloft
  • Pocket RPG by Crescent Moon Games
  • D.A.R.K. developed by Gamelab
  • Samurai II: Vengeance by MADFINGER Games
  • Vendetta Online by Guild Software
  • Order & Chaos by Gameloft
  • Happy Vikings by Handy Games
  • A Ball Game by Trendy Entertainment
  • Lumines by Connect2Media

    There are quite a few big, awesome titles in this list – among them several massively multiplayer online games like Gameloft’s Order & Chaos (which is a lot like the PC’s World of Warcraft) and Pocket Legends from Spacetime, and the always popular first-person shooters. Gameloft’s support for the Play is still very obvious, and it appears that more developers are starting to gravitate toward Sony Ericsson’s device. More support is great news for Xperia players, and for Android gamers in general, who will enjoy a trickle-down effect of more solid games on the platform.