The much-hyped PlayStation Phone launched in February, with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play initially slated for a launch in March. With a release date of March 31st pretty much confirmed, it looks like the company will just about keep that promise.According to MCV, Thursday, March 31st is the shelf date, with the gamer-friendly smartphone sold with six games pre-installed. Decent ones too - Bruce Lee Dragon Warriors, Tetris, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, FIFA 10 and The Sims 3. A further 50 games will be available to download through the PlayStation Suite, which will be a mix of PSone and current smartphone games optimised for the device. So no shortage of entertainment for early adopters.Sony Ericsson has also said that the launch will be backed by its biggest UK marketing campaign ever, with the handset being sold by all mobile retailers and operators. It might even be sold through alternative channels – including games stores: 'We are currently still in commercial conversation, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see Xperia Play appear in other channels,' Sony Ericsson marketing director for UK and Ireland David Hilton told MCV.It's fair to say that the Xperia Play should be the handset that heads up Android's battle against the iPhone in 2012. Not just a gaming phone (although the slide-out gaming pad means it will be pitched as such), the phone also packs the Android Gingerbread 2.3 OS, an optimised 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, specifically for 3D mobile gaming and controlling power consumption, along with a 5-megapixel camera and a 4-inch multi-touch screen.Prices are likely to be similar across all the networks, on a par with the other high-end Androids right now too. Give your favoured network a call or drop them an email for specific details.