I read some interesting articles about the portable gaming systems on CNET today. Both articles found here and here argue that portable gaming systems will most likely become obsolete in light of the attractive gaming market targeted for the Android and iOS. The main point of both articles is that the portable systems for Nintendo and Sony can’t compete in the generation of smartphones where everything is an all-in one package. Another point the articles make is the portables tend to be expensive and the games you want to buy with them aren’t any cheaper either. Most games found on an Android or iOS can be downloaded off the App Marketplace for free if no one feels like slapping down the extra cash to buy a game. Just simply browse the marketplace, find the game you want to play, and then hit download. Within seconds you will be gaming your way through Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja in no time.
I own an Android device and I do have Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja among my app games I play on the go. While I do find these games fun and entertaining to pass the time waiting for my train going to work, I still like my portables. When it comes to playing games on a smartphone, it eats up battery juice faster than you can blink.
My only gripe with smartphones is the battery life is very limited. I can understand how doing most of your gaming on your phone is easy and accessible. However, when it comes to making important phone calls or answering a text, I do not like to have my phone near dead because I spent most of my time flinging birds at pigs or reading a NY Times article on my phone. A near dead phone means I have to find an outlet stat to bring my phone back from the clutches of black screen of death.
I still like portable gaming systems. They were meant for that purpose––to play games. The games created for these devices are of high quality and are made to be played and completed over a gradual period of time. If it’s a well-made RPG, I am much more willing to play it on a DS, 3DS, or PSP over my smartphone. A lot of smartphones these days have touch screens and there are some games that don’t seem like they would do well as a touch screen game. I can’t imagine trying to play Final Fantasy IV on a smartphone or iPad. People may disagree with me, but that’s how I feel. I like the feel of a portable system in my hands. It feels right to me.
Considering how short our attention spans are these days, I think the CNET writers of those two articles may be right about one thing, portable consoles just may become obsolete. Just look at how the music industry has changed. More people prefer to buy their music/albums digitally rather than buy a CD. If more people prefer to play games on a smartphone or iPad and refuse to carry around a 3DS or PSP on the go, then Nintendo and Sony will have to start catering to the changing times and release their games in App Stores for Android and iOS devices.
I’m starting to miss those days when a phone used to be just a phone.