Did The Smartphone Mean The End of Traditional Handheld Console?

Nintendo's GameBoy and DS range of consoles were the kings of handheld gaming. They offered a gaming experience that would keep you entertained despite not being the same quality as the home consoles.

We all like to game when we’re on the go. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, Nintendo’s GameBoy and DS range of consoles were the kings of handheld gaming. They offered a gaming experience that would keep you entertained despite not being the same quality as the home consoles.

However, from around 2010, the smartphone in your pocket became capable of delivering a similar gaming experience. It has resulted in a change in gaming habits. The lack of new handheld consoles since that time speaks volumes.


What games are people playing on their smartphones?


From a developer’s perspective, the beauty of creating a game for these devices is that almost everyone has one in their pocket. It has meant developers can look to make a game that has an audience outside of the traditional gaming market. Several games have been created based on classic casino games. Whilst it can never truly replicate the feeling of playing a game with friends and family, they do offer a unique experience. They are also more accessible on a mobile phone, as a quick search for online roulette shows many versions of this classic game are available to play on your mobile device.

Outside of games based on traditional activities, the likes of Angry Birds have also become massive around the world. This is very much a pick-up and play type title that will attract the non-traditional audience we have already mentioned.


Iconic handheld games that have made the jump to smartphones


As we have already said, many new games have been created since more people have started gaming on their smartphones.

However, many handheld games from the Nintendo GameBoy and DS era have now had new additions playable on smartphones. The first handheld game played by many back in the day was Pokemon and in 2016, Pokemon Go became one of the most downloaded smartphone apps ever. After that, versions of Mario and Mario Kart have since been enjoyed by gamers on their mobile devices. These are perhaps unusual for a company like Nintendo that has often seen their gaming mascot as something of a traditional figure.


The end of an era


In 2006, the Nintendo DS launched and sold millions of copies straight away. However, this would turn out to be the last traditional handheld console that became a success. Its successor, the 3DS, never quite reached the popularity of that predecessor. Around the launch of the DS, Sony launched the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and despite it being a graphical powerhouse, it never really had that success. Perhaps this was a sign of the change in the markets.


A hybrid console that could be the future


One thing that we have seen in recent times is developers trying to create an experience that can be utilized in different formats. With some of the games mentioned previously, you can play on your smartphone. It means you can always be engrossed in your favorite game wherever you are.

In 2017, Nintendo launched the Switch. It’s a console that provides gamers with the traditional experience. A console plugged into your television. However, it also enables you to use it as a handheld console. The relative success of this device means that developers might start to think twice about disregarding games on the traditional handheld console-setup.

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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