With announcements from Nintendo and Sony this week on the release of the next generation of handheld gaming machines, namely, the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PSP2, is upon us, but the big question on most gamers’ lips at the moment is: will the next generation of super-phones and tablets spell the end of the handheld gaming console?
Is it Game Over for the Handheld Games Console?
Today’s super-charged Smartphones and tablets are just as powerful as any handheld gaming console on the market at the moment. And with the first dual core phones going on sale this year, your average Smartphone could very well end up packing more punch than the new offerings from Nintendo and Sony by the end of the year. Even the Smartphone’s big shortcoming, a distinct lack of controllers or joysticks, has been solved by cheap gamepad add-ons, such as the Game Gripper.
Both Nintendo’s and Sony’s consoles have a long and prestigious heritage dating right back to Nintendo’s progenitory Gameboy. But with high-end processors and 3D capabilities, prices for handhelds are becoming prohibitive. And let’s face it, where else can they go from here? Has the handheld gaming device come to an evolutionary dead-end?
The Handheld Console Killers..
Without doubt, it was Apple’s iPad that struck the first nail into the coffin of the handheld gaming console. A wave of game releases over the past few months demonstrated that the iPad could play the most popular games just as well as the average home console and there’s plenty more on the way. The turning point was probably the release of Infinity Blade with graphics that were noticeably better than those on the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, and arguably one of the best games of 2010.
The latest big budget release for the iPad is set to take things even further. Dead Space is the prequel to the Xbox’s blockbusting sci-fi horror, Dead Space 2. But rather than being a simplified version of Xbox’s offering, it mimics every detail of the original. Likewise, Real Racing 2 is taking on Gran Turismo 5 in terms of graphic excellence. And Fifa 11 for the iPhone, despite its simplicity, is probably the best portable soccer game ever.
With all this going on, the lines between Smartphone and handheld gaming console are becoming more and more blurred. Now, with talk of a Sony PSP phone on the way, things are to set to become even more confusing. Is it a phone or is it a handheld gaming station? You decide.
Sony PSP Phone