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Xperia Play to launch in UK on March 31

Device comes pre-loaded with 6 games, Sony exploring alternative retail options

Sony Ericsson's PlayStation branded smartphone, the Xperia Play, hits UK retail on March 31, it has been confirmed.

The handset will be the company's biggest ever UK marketing launch, comes loaded with six free games and could also be available in game retailers and other high street shops.

Speaking to MCV, Sony Ericsson's UK and Ireland marketing director David Hilton said that the phone will be available from all mobile retailers for all networks, but could well be on sale in less usual places, too.

"We are currently still in commercial conversation, but I'd be surprised if we didn't see Xperia Play appear in other channels," said Hilton. Game retailers would be the obvious choice for the heavily PlayStation associated device.

"All the mobile operators and retailers are selling it. It is rare these days to get a product that is sold everywhere, but this is one of those.

"This will be the biggest marketing campaign we have had in the UK."

The Sims 3, FIFA 10, Crash Bandicoot, Tetris, Bruce Lee Dragon Warriors and Star Battalion will come free with the handset, with fifty more titles - a mixture of PS1 and smartphone ports - available at launch via the PlayStation suite.