Why Consoles Have Nothing To Fear From Mobile Gaming [OPINION]

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Mar 16, 2013 02:35 PM EDT
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Samsung's Galaxy S4 was finally unveiled earlier this week, and as the hot new gadget, no doubt a great many will rush right out and pick one up as soon as it's available, whereas others could not care less. Now, whether it is indeed the future of handheld gaming or not, consoles are in no greater jeopardy now from ANY mobile device than they were ten years ago.

Mobile gaming's strength has always been accessibility, particularly in regards to cost, and portability. Or at least they used to be. While devices like the PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and smartphones certainly aren't cheap, their prices pale in comparison to Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. With a new generation of consoles set to release most likely later this year, unless something comes completely out of left field, don't expect the cost of consoles to go down with this new generation. Prices have been fairly consistent with each new console release. $250 for the NES, $210 for the SNES, $190 for the Genesis, and so on. While prices did rise, you could argue it was the result of a combination of inflation, as well as the consoles being able to do increasingly more with each subsequent generation. Handheld gaming devices have kept their prices fairly consistent as well, but they were never a threat to consoles because they do different things.

Prices for smartphones, on the other hand, have skyrocketed to as high as $700 before the added costs of monthly data plans, boosting memory, and whatever other charges that carriers can think to tack on.

Unless you're pretty handy with a soldering iron, handhelds have it all over consoles as far as portability. Always have, and probably always will, especially in regards to smartphones, with nearly everyone having one. Not every smartphone owner plays games. They're content to use them and their iPads to simply surf the 'net, manage their calendars, and maybe watch some Netflix. Perhaps it's because I find myself in the cateogry that still scoffs at gaming's changing style with this new fangled touch screen tech, but as good as "Dead Trigger" looks on my Droid, when offered a choice, I'd rather blast zombies on a full screen with a controller in my hands, than smear my greasy fingers across a screen and leave smudge marks all over it.

That's why I'm looking forward to the Ouya console running Android. The project blasted past its Kickstarter goal in a mere 8 hours, and raisied over $8 million by the end. Developers like Namco Bandai and Square Enix quickly jumped on it, announcing they had intentions of bringing games to this new platform. Obviously, we'll have to wait and see if the new console is a success, but with the cheap cost of the system, and over 400 games confirmed for the system, it's off to a great start.

Over the last twenty years, the technology has improved rapidly on both platforms. Portable devices are still outmatched when it comes to their console brethren, and it's going to take something extraordinary for handhelds to catch up, and even more before they're considered a viable threat.

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