There is no denying that mobile gaming is big, in fact it is probably bigger than it ever has been before. During the daily commute it is almost a guarantee that along side the dishevelled youth treating the bus to the latest Chipmunk release from his mobile phone, there too will also be a handful of people painstaking hurtling birds at a group of green pigs. In essence, whether they lay claim to the fact or not, nearly everyone nowadays is a gamer.
Infrequently though, do I see people gaming on the go using a dedicated console. The introduction of the iPhone and Android has brought mobile gaming to the masses. With a huge collection of top notch games, available instantly for only a couple of pounds, it brings into question the necessity for a dedicated handheld. This seems to be echoed in recent news of Nintendo, the giants of handheld gaming, who sculpted it from inception to where it is today, having to dramatically drop the price of it’s latest release; the Nintendo 3DS.
The 3DS has had a troublesome time since it’s launch in late March with a relatively weak offering of launch titles, all at a premium price (twenty times the cost of the average iPhone game). Of course, the games were all of a much higher production cost and complexity than most found on either iOS or Android so the premium price is to be expected, but the initial (and sadly the continuing) games released for the system have been somewhat lacklustre. It is truly a bad sign when the only game that could justify purchasing a system is an aged 15 year old title, yes Zelda, I’m talking about you!
Sony, who entered the dedicated handheld console market back in late 2004 with the PSP clearly still believe there is a place for it, with the upcoming release of the PlayStation Vita in 2012. Sony clearly know that mobile gaming is hotly contested by the smartphone and so has taken it upon itself to pack the Vita full of social applications to stay in the running. Let’s hope it proves more successful than the infamous ‘PlayStation phone’: the Sony Ericcson Xperia Play…
Do you think there is a place for dedicated handheld consoles anymore, or has the smartphone taken over the market? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.