There’s an alternate universe the place Sony Ericsson’s 2011 launch of the Xperia Play was an enormous success. In that universe, a considerable portion of immediately’s cell video games are performed on related successor units, full with bodily buttons and d-pads that slide out from beneath the display screen.

At this time, we get a short glimpse into that universe through late leaked photographs of what appears to be a prototype of a deliberate Xperia Play 2.

The above photographs (as found on the Sony Xperia subreddit) originate from a reseller on China’s Taobao platform, which focuses on person-to-person gross sales of recent and used items. Ars cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the photographs, however they do line up considerably with idea artwork for the Xperia Play 2 that leaked in 2012.

The boxier design and capacitive buttons on the touchscreen facet of the gadget additionally line up with different telephones within the Xperia line launched across the identical time. And the Taobao vendor’s different listings embrace numerous different hard-to-find items of older expertise, equivalent to a PS3 developer equipment. If it is a faux, it is an elaborate one.

[Update: Over at mobile phone development community XDA, author Pranob Mehrotra says the above photos come from community member JerryYin, a prototype phone collector based in Shenzen. XDA also reports that the listing on Taobao is not intended to sell the device, but is “merely for exhibition purposes.”]

Every little thing outdated is new once more

Probably the most intriguing change on the Play 2 prototype is a button labeled “3D” close to the middle of this gadget. That would signify that Sony was planning its personal glasses-free stereoscopic show akin to the Nintendo 3DS, which was grabbing headlines as early as 2010. A 3D show might have been particularly engaging to Sony given the library of basic authentic PlayStation titles that the corporate had entry to for the Xperia Play 2.

In any other case, the PlayStation-styled controls on the prototype look altogether much like these on the unique Xperia Play. Incidental buttons like Begin and Choose have been moved from the corners to the middle (and now mild up when the gadget is on), and the buttons themselves have taken on an orange styling, with a stark orange circle round both sides. The shoulder buttons additionally look a bit thinner than these on the unique Xperia Play, bending round with the again of the gadget slightly than jutting out with an expanded finger relaxation space.

As Ars famous in our assessment on the time, the unique Xperia Play suffered a bit from a scarcity of suitable software program, a dim display screen, and a few underpowered internals for the worth. Wanting again, although, it is simple to see its type issue as forward of its time. At this time, snap-on units just like the Razer Kishi and telephone/controller holsters designed for traditional console controllers cater to an viewers that desires to play all kinds of cell video games with help for bodily controls. Nowadays, that features cell recreation streaming choices from the likes of xCloud and Stadia as effectively, which have been designed for cell phones with buttons and analog sticks in thoughts.

By 2012, Sony had pivoted away from button-based telephone gaming to the PlayStation Vita, which ended up being its personal dead-end on this planet of transportable gaming. However only for immediately, as we take a look at these prototype photos, let’s all think about that alternate universe the place smartphones with PlayStation controls turned a significant new method to play effectively into the alternate future.

Itemizing picture by Taobao

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