How Much Time is Left for Video Game Handhelds?
How many of you still have a Game Boy or a PSP lying around that you regularly use? How many of you have one at all? My guess is that one of the answers might be “Yes” while the other is “No” or that both are a “No”. That’s a good sign of handhelds fading away, isn’t it? There are a lot of reasons why, but the biggest ones are probably pricing on newer handhelds/games and mobile gaming. The question of whether you would want a handheld to play a game that you could also play on your smart phone/tablet comes up a lot. With mobile devices getting more powerful, how much time is there before we see handheld game consoles go away for good?
I bought an iPhone last month and I love it. It’s easy to use and I can even play games on it when I have some downtime. The screen makes games look sharp and most of them are super easy to pick up and play. I hadn’t owned a handheld since the first Nintendo DS so I’ve been a little out of touch with those type of games, the iPhone changed all that. Most of the games that I had for the DS were the simple ones you’d find on the App Store: puzzle games, strategy, and even some first-person games. I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between the two and thinking how amazing it is to have those type of games on a phone!
Since the purchase, I have no need to buy a handheld ever again. The new Playstation Vita is like an iPod Touch to me, every feature on it makes it look like my phone, except for the phone part. The 3DS offers nothing groundbreaking either, 3D support for games on phones are steadily starting to come out if I really wanted that. It seems that every time you try to compare a smart phone with a video game handheld, you really don’t see much of a difference, let alone comparing it to a tablet. Looking at pricing, handhelds are about as expensive as a smartphone, most notably the iPhone, but the games are getting more pricey too. Games on the Android store and Apple’s App Store don’t go over $10 most of the time when games for a 3DS or Vita could cost you $40 or more. When you look at data packages for these phones, you’ll end up at about the same cost but smartphone will be more attractive since it is a phone AND it plays games.
So where do these handhelds fit now? Carrying around a smartphone and Vita isn’t the smartest thing unless you’re really concerned about the battery life of your phone. I compare it to the two headsets I have for my Xbox, I use wireless ones that require a charge. Sometimes I’m in the middle of a multiplayer match and my headset dies, I simply throw that headset on a charger and put the other, fully charged one on. That’s the only plausible situation for a handheld now if you have a smartphone, use the handheld as a back-up or vice versa. If someone were to try and sell me a Nintendo 3DS for $150 or a Playstation Vita for $250, they’d better put up a damn good argument up of why I would want one.
I realize that not everyone has a smartphone but tablets are on the rise just as much. You can get a tablet for a little more then say, a PS Vita, and then your treated to the same great gaming experiences there is to be had on any mobile device. I can’t help but think there’s no where for handhelds to go now. You want mobile gaming, buy a smartphone, that’s one less device to carry around. You want a bigger screen/more features but don’t need a mobile phone or already have one, buy a tablet. Where can handheld consoles fit in?
What do you think about handhelds nowadays? Do you see a place for them in today’s mobile gaming market? Let us know in the comments below