Sunday, January 19, 2014

Portable Gaming in 2014

Last year, I wrote about my predictions and hopes for portable gaming in the year 2013. Now it's time to do it all over again. The comments on last year's post were riddled with naysayers, but many of them ended up being completely wrong as 2013 went on. In fact, most of what I said ended up being true. In 2014, handheld gaming will only get bigger, smartphones will only get more popular, and free to play will dominate the market.

Game-Changing Headlines

2013 was indeed the year of the 3DS. Once an underdog system with no reason to buy it aside from Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo's DS successor proved to be a success after all. Not only did it outsell the Vita 6:1, but it also stole the crown for top selling game console around the world. Games like Animal Crossing New Leaf, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and of course, Pokemon X and Y all helped the Nintendo sell "45% more" 3DS games in 2013 according to Polygon. Meanwhile, on the smart devices side of things, analysts have predicted that the free-to-play model will generate 80% of game revenue on iOS and Android. However the most surprising headline of all from late 2013 was the rumored Nintendo-made educational tablet, presumably based on Android or a custom OS. This tablet could be introduced as early as 2014 and if it actually exists, Nintendo adopting tablets is a huge sign that dedicated handheld gaming systems will eventually be a thing of the past.

Play All Day

My favorite argument against last year's article was that smartphones and tablets do not have the battery life to replace dedicated handheld consoles. While even a year ago I do not think that was true, 2013 has guaranteed that smartphones and tablets of the future will have more than enough battery life for gaming all day. Phones such as the Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Nexus 5 all can easily game for 6 hours straight, putting them a little bit ahead of the 3DS and Vita in terms of battery life. Batteries will only continue to improve, in fact the Droid Razr Maxx can boast a whopping 12 or more hours of straight gaming.

Choose Your Controls

Another significant breakthrough in 2013 for portable gaming was Apple's release of iOS 7, which has native support for game controllers. Android can be expected to release a similar feature in the near future to compete. CES 2014 introduced multiple iPhone controllers, compatible with more games than ever thanks to their native functionality. Brands like Steel Series and Logitech have already shown off some brilliant controllers, which means many other companies will jump on board the iPhone controller money train in 2014 as well. Controller support means we will see many different kinds of games for smart devices, especially FPS and other 3D games that often work best with a controller. Meanwhile, we will continue to see great touch control games as well.

Upcoming Portable Games of 2013 

(Click the links to pre-order these awesome upcoming games!)


PS Vita


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