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About half way through January, Sony decided to start giving away one PlayStation Mobile game for free each week for the following six weeks. The offer is only valid for PlayStation Certified devices including most of the Sony Xperia series, Sony Tablets and a couple of models by Sharp and HTC. For those who are suspicious of corporate jostling PlayStation Certified devices are just those which meet PlayStation’s technical specifications. Unfortunately, the vast majority of devices are currently not PlayStation Certified. A full list of these is available on the official PlayStation website at: http://www.playstation.com/psm/certified.html Those who do have the right device may also need to make sure that their firmware is updated to Android 4.1 in order to play the games.

The country coverage is also sparse: users in the UK, France Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia will benefit from this offer. The majority of American users will not yet benefit from this as US AT&T and T-Mobile users have yet to receive a Jelly Bean update.

To give you an idea of what’s on offer, the first game given away was something called Samurai Beatdown, a side-scrolling rhythm-action game in which you chop up evil demon after demon with your finger taps. For those who don’t know, a rhythm-action game involves tapping the phone in keeping with the rhythm of a song that is playing in order to win. On this one, you slice through demons (behind and in front of you) to the same pace as the beat.

Since then, HTC has followed suit by announcing that any and all of its users running Sense 4.0 (or above) and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) will also receive free games as part of a similar promotion in February. All you have to do is sign up for an account and then download the free game that has been nominated for that week. However, while the Sony promotion runs for six weeks the HTC promotion only works for the 4 weeks of February.

For HTC users, the first free game out is Cubixx, a single-player puzzle game which asks players to slice away the surface of a cube with a laser in order to free the energy within whilst avoiding enemies which move about on the remaining areas of the cube’s surface. In other words, in the way the laser moves around the enemies on each of the cube’s faces the game plays a little bit like the classic phone game Snake except in 3D and which far superior graphics.

The purpose of releasing these games, for PlayStation, is two-fold: it helps build a sense of reciprocity amongst fans that will hopefully lead to them parting with their cash later along the line, as well as getting many users who would not have otherwise signed up playing their games. All in all, then, probably a pretty smart move for PlayStation as it’s getting many people talking about them who otherwise would not be. That along with its high-profile ad campaign seems to imply that they are throwing a lot of resources behind this launch, in the hope that mobile gaming is going to be a significant source of revenue for their company in the future. Yet, with the number of devices that are PlayStation certified still so limited whether or not this will be the case remains to be seen.

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