Four months ago, we heard some rumors that HTC might be the first manufacturer to join Sony’s phones as PlayStation Certified Androids, granting them access to Sony’s curated app store. This week, we see those claims come true, with Sony officially announcing the phones of HTC’s One series as the first of that manufacturer’s devices to enter the program. Is this a boon for Android gamers, though, or just another example of Android fragmentation?
When we heard those old rumors, we wondered if HTC might be developing some Xperia Play-like hardware, and this one new model would be its PlayStation Certified device. Instead, we see the One X, One S, and even the One V all make the cut. If the lower-spec devices in Sony’s own stable didn’t make it clear already, the presence of the One V in this group should be evidence enough: it doesn’t take much in the hardware department to qualify for this program. That just begs the question, if the bar for certification is so low, why even have it in the first place?
Sony could easily have its own gaming-themed app store without a certification program. While some very low-spec Androids might struggle to run its titles, that group of devices is getting smaller by the day, and any mid-range or better phone from the recent past shouldn’t even bat an eye at the sort of performance requirements Sony is apparently looking for. If Sony wanted to publish a list of minimum specs needed, that would be one thing, but that’s not how the PlayStation Certified program is being run.
Ultimately, if PlayStation Certified approval doesn’t tell you much about a phone’s gaming capabilities, isn’t it going to end up being confusing to consumers, and maybe even a little misleading? Is the presence of this new distinction actually providing anything useful, or just serving to divide Android devices along a pretty arbitrary line?