Monday, December 31, 2012

Portable Gaming in 2013

With the rise of smart phones and tablets, portable gaming is sure to change in the next few years. Nintendo and Sony recently released their next generation of handhelds, however the new hardware was surprisingly traditional and it will be interesting to see how they compete with iOS and Android in years to come while offering way less features and worse graphics.

There is still a market for traditional handheld gaming though (sales of the 3DS have proven that). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Sony's Playstation Vita. Proper physical buttons and premium quality titles such as Mario and Uncharted still give dedicated gaming systems on the go an edge, but it is questionable how long this will last. We have already gotten a glimpse of the future with the Xperia Play released in 2011 which gave the best of both worlds offering smart phone functionality while having the ability to play full-fledged PSP games. The upcoming release of the extremely affordable Android-based game console Ouya will mean that many big name developers may begin developing exclusively for Android.

Nintendo and Sony will not be exiting the portable gaming market anytime soon and in 2013 there will still be plenty of room for them to be successful and continue innovating, though 2013 could very well be the beginning of a massive change while also bringing some kick-ass games and ideas to the palms of our hands.

Toys vs. Tech

Smart phones and tablets are advanced technology and the world recognizes this. While dedicated game systems are as well, it is often not recognized due to marketing, primarily Nintendo's marketing. Too many portable game system ads involve fun-loving children jumping around with Mario in the background. This would be fine, but then Nintendo and Sony (especially Sony) go on to boast about their awesome technology they have in their systems. This confuses consumers with conflicting ideas, are portable gaming systems toys or technology? iOS and Android are finally putting a lot of pressure on Sony and Nintendo to make up their minds and we can probably expect to see the companies choose toys. Marketing dedicated gaming systems as toys will differentiate them from smart phones and tablets enough to avoid confusing the consumer while still greatly appealing to both children and adults. Expect to see even younger kids in Nintendo ads and even more cheesy live action Sony ads.

Free-to-Play Rules All

Of course portable gaming does not mean just dedicated portable gaming systems, it also means smart phones and tablets. Free-to-Play is not a new idea, though in recent years on PC many F2P games have been more profitable than AAA games. The profit of course is generated through "in-app purchases" as iOS has labeled them. F2P has also been profitable on phones, though it has not seen as much success. However, the increasing success of the business model on PC will surely influence mobile developers to continue pushing in-app purchases more and more, something many developers are already being criticized for. (Though you really can't blame them!) F2P has been absent from dedicated gaming handhelds so far though it is likely 2013 will bring with it some in-app purchases on your 3DS or Vita. Think about it, because it really is brilliant. People game on the go because they do not have the patience to simply sit in the car or read a boring waiting room magazine, so offering slow real-time games like Farmville on mobile devices and allowing users to accelerate the processes in-game by using real money is sure to rake in the dough.

Indie Extravaganza

Ah yes, "indie game" seems to be a word heard quite often these days. While the true success of modern indie games is greatly exaggerated by the press and of course the "PC master race", there is truth in that indie games have potential to be extremely profitable due to their ridiculously low price points at launch. Few indie games go for more than 15 dollars and considering the state of the global economy, gamers flock to such pricing. Now here's the catch, mobile and handheld games are already that cheap or cheaper in many cases. What does this mean, well as we have already seen, indie developers respond by simply going cheaper. We have seen a few great cheap indie games on the Vita and 3DS, but the more these systems sell the more we can expect to see.

Much Needed Price Drops

Nobody likes spending money, just another reason why yet again smart phones are beating out the dedicated gaming handhelds. Physical games will always stay the same price for the 3DS and Vita, though 2013 will bring downloadable versions of those physical games at lower prices, something we are already seeing minus the lower prices. We should also be seeing downloadable titles on the 3DS and Vita designed to compete directly with smart phone apps by being priced at around 1 dollar and providing addicting gameplay for short bursts. Alongside games dropping in price, we can expect to see the 3DS drop to around 150 dollars and the Vita drop to 200 dollars, or at least have cheaper memory cards.

Upcoming Portable Games of 2013


Playstation Vita


smartphones and tablets replacing portable gaming? this article is a joke sorry.using smart phones for gaming is just retarded.have you seen the battery life on those things? how would i make/receive a call if the battery died because i kept playing with it?

tablets? seriously..those things break so expect someone to bring a controller so that they could play their tablet everywhere? ( tablets have the worst controls when it comes to gaming..yeah, im talking about on screen controls) charge the tablet and the controller separately..that's a stupid idea because one of them could have a dead battery and the other still functioning.i would hate to be the dude bringing a dead game controller everywhere (once again..retarded)

and most of all..your so called "advanced technology" is riddled with ads. that is the most single thing i would hate to see when im effin not even gonna explain further.

you know the reason why they have a "traditional" design? because it feels so natural when you hold it in your hands. and why would it need extra features? what kinda features? vita has tons of features already..what more do you need? instagram? (i dont see any back touch panelcontrols on your smart phones btw) and on the graphics side...vita is powered by a powerful graphics chip..why would you say it's worse?

when i wanna do smartphone shit..ill do it on a smartphone/tablet
if i wanna do hardcore gaming..ill do it on my handheld gaming device

the only reason why handheld gaming devices might die is because of retarded ideas like these.. analyze your shit's like you trying to say that desktop computer will replace console gaming.

just because smartphones/tablets have a few pocket games on them.. it doesn't mean that it will be the "new face of portable gaming".

imagine playing a extreme button mashing game on your tablet...i bet you would hate the idea of punching a hole through your tablet.

get that freakin crown off that smartphone.

toys or tech? their toys toys with very powerful hardware inside..and they can beat any of those watered down iOS devices out today.

sorry..just ranting my thoughts.

Is this comment for real? I mean, Angry Birds alone proves how much more popular phones are for games now, it's one of the most popular titles in all of media, let alone games.

Your primary argument seems to be coming from you personally preferring dedicated handhelds for games, but what you personally like isn't what governs the industry. The industry is going to cater to whatever audience is largest, and the phone audience is larger than even consoles. They can sell games to anyone anywhere. You can buy a game while waiting in line at Walmart, you can play that game in line at Starbucks, and the games are small/cheap enough for most people to just impulse buy them. As the audience grows and the devices get more powerful, better games will continue to get made. You can play the first several Final Fantasy games on your iPhone now, and they're pretty solid versions. The touch-based controls might not be great for more action oriented games, but slower games like RPGs work really well. And things like the MOGA prove that it's only a matter of time before all of portable gaming can be done easily on your phone.

Whether you like it or not, phones are the primary portable gaming system now. You can still play your 3DS and there will be games to support you playing it like there always has been, but companies are starting to see how popular phones are for games and are putting more effort into games for them.

Tablets aren't so flimsy that tapping it would put holes straight through. That's just silly.

Let's not forget how powerful smartphones are now (Dead Space is on iOS)and that capability is increasing exponentially.

I think the technology is at a point where it's feasible to satisfy handheld gaming urges completely on a mobile platform.

As for the buttons vs touchscreen, there exist a number of bluetooth controllers that attach to the device, basically turning it into a traditional handheld.

Then there's new tech where buttons rise out of the screen like magic.

@Aaron Eades

yeah that comment is for real. I know that what i personally like doesn't govern the are correct.they go to where the money is. That means, making a bad thing look like it's the most brilliant idea.

Yes, the smartphone market is larger than the console market. but do you think the whole smartphone audience bought a smartphone for the sole purpose of GAMING? it's obvious that the answer is no. The reason why that market is so big is not because of gaming. obviously, using a smartphone to organize your information is faster and you can carry it with you compare that with the smaller console market. why do you think people buy gaming consoles in the first place? of course that market would smaller because not a lot of people are gamers. now imagine what would happen if the current consoles ( ps3, xbox 360, wii. etc) wasn't released yet. imagine the current console being released in parallel with the smartphone's release. Only then you will see the divide. don't you think it would lessen the smartphones sales on that release? that's also one factor why the console market is smaller than the smartphone market. Most of the people who buy smartphones already have the gaming consoles. Just because it has a bigger market it doesn't mean its a better idea (for gaming specifically). you will notice that alot of good ideas were trashed because people didnt realize how solid that idea was. dont get me wrong. smartphones can be a solid idea for gaming but not in a sense that it will replace the face of "portable" gaming. it can be a good gaming device but in a entirely unique way of its own.

if portable gaming consoles does die out, it will die before its time. The years spent on trial and error just to create the perfect design for portable gaming. creating a design that's comfortable and tough enough for prolonged gaming. Another solid idea is going to be trashed again i guess.

great games came out because of gaming consoles.i mean all the good games on the smartphone came out first on gaming consoles. now if portable gaming consoles will be replaced we will say goodbye to the days of good quality portable games and welcome the age of "impulse" quality games.

If/when traditional handhelds die off in favor of a more universal gaming/communication device, I think it'll result from shifting publisher and/or developer support. We're already seeing companies like Square do things on iOS (TWEWY remix). If they'd want to continue making the kind of profits they do now, they'd have to keep making high-quality games. Most mobile games are crap because they're made by fledgling companies trying to get their foot in the door on a platform with a relatively low barrier of entry, not because of weak hardware.

Smartphones are already killing dedicated hardware, talk to any journalist about that and they will tell you the same. In terms of sales and how commonly used they are, smartphones win hands down. Casual gamers are taking over the market because there simply are not a lot of hardcore gamers these days.

Also toys or tech talked about the marketing of the products, not the hardware itself. Did you even read it?

It's 2022, and I was right about what I said.

most of the mobile exclusive games are pretty shit, and consoles are alive and well in the age of extremely powerful desktop computers.

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