What is the future of handheld gaming systems in your eyes?

mesakagi

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I would like to hear some of your thoughts on where you see handheld gaming in the future.

Personally I would love to see Nintendo continue making more 3DS-like handheld systems with unique hardware features and form factors but I think it's clear that Nintendo knows hardware like the Switch is going to be standard for portable systems going forward. Single screened devices with or without hybrid functionality using modern specs capable of running modern games with the exception of most AAA games.

I think dedicated handheld systems will face some big hurdles in the future though as demand for such devices continues to slowly fall due to mobile gaming & other platforms while simultaneously expectations of what these systems can offer will rise, such as the desire for higher specs and compatibility with applications like multimedia functionality, web browsing and streaming.

What do you guys think?
 
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Mythical

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I figure there'll be less consoles and more PC stuff over time. Maybe there'll just be a mainstream consolesque OS eventually (I know there are some out there, but there are linux based iirc and while that has upsides it can get in the way of performance at times)
 
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I would like to hear some of your thoughts on where you see handheld gaming in the future.

Personally I would love to see Nintendo continue making more 3DS-like handheld systems with unique hardware features and form factors but I think it's clear that Nintendo knows hardware like the Switch is going to be standard for portable systems going forward. Single screened devices with or without hybrid functionality using modern specs capable of running modern games with the exception of most AAA games.

I think dedicated handheld systems will face some big hurdles in the future though as demand for such devices continues to slowly fall due to mobile gaming & other platforms while simultaneously expectations of what these systems can offer will rise, such as the desire for higher specs and compatibility with applications like multimedia functionality, web browsing and streaming.

What do you guys think?

Everyone has a phone and Nintendo is already trying stuff on phones. With the upcoming of Google Stadia and the competitors that are trying to rise, the next big hype will be streaming, so market is shrinking for dedicated hanhelds, so no big company is investing on handhelds. What I see happening is that for now Switch will reign and after that either Nintendo invests on a new hybrid and that'll be it or everyone will just focus on streaming and mobile games for games on-the-go. Although the multitude of mobile games that exist is massive, there is desperate need for proper AAA titles to be developed for it, once someone tackles that, I think it'll explode again.

On the other hand what I see that could happen is that some company could take the GPD WIN approach and better market it and probably would be a success. Most big games launched on Windows support XInput, and so is kind of the best handheld you can have right now.
 
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mesakagi

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Everyone has a phone and Nintendo is already trying stuff on phones. With the upcoming of Google Stadia and the competitors that are trying to rise, the next big hype will be streaming, so market is shrinking for dedicated hanhelds, so no big company is investing on handhelds. What I see happening is that for now Switch will reign and after that either Nintendo invests on a new hybrid and that'll be it or everyone will just focus on streaming and mobile games for games on-the-go. Although the multitude of mobile games that exist is massive, there is desperate need for proper AAA titles to be developed for it, once someone tackles that, I think it'll explode again.

On the other hand what I see that could happen is that some company could take the GPD WIN approach and better market it and probably would be a success. Most big games launched on Windows support XInput, and so is kind of the best handheld you can have right now.

You bring up an interesting point in seeing how Nintendo's handheld strategy will possibly need to change after the Switch's life cycle to include some level of compatibility with mobile games and game streaming. Although such system would appear to be a hard sell to mobile gamers as it'll be missing the utility and feature set mobiles currently offer but also because mobile gamers have access to peripherals allowing them to play their games with physical buttons. The only selling point would appear to be Nintendos high quality first party titles and I wonder if that's enough. Either way I'm curious to see what Nintendo's strategy will be with their next handheld and weather it will be able to extend it's reach beyond it's core userbase to other types of gamers.

I too can also picture the emergence of a different kind of handheld, one that is more pc-oriented in architecture similar to that of GPD as you say. I believe that there is strong enough demand for such system but I can imagine the obstacles involved in actually making and releasing such system. Speaking of which, I just googled Smach Z which I've been very loosely following and it seems such system may finally be coming to fruition sooner than we think although it's $699 retail price is rather steep.
 
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FAST6191

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Dedicated general purpose handhelds for the next decade or so?
Probably done for now just like small cameras, mp3 players and similar such devices. There might still be some low volume devices and things from China like we see for the previously mentioned devices, but nothing as mainstream as even the 3ds (which I consider a failure in many regards, or at least the last gasp of handhelds you might actually fit in your pocket).

Hopes?
Someone realises Apple are not onto anything with their less is more thing with the buttons and touch screen, that 15mm is not that much different to 5mm when it comes to thickness so thinner is not necessarily better beyond a certain ratio, and we get a widespread enough half standard control set, dpad, maybe some kind of twin sticks (or raised nubs on a screen -- some of the electroactive polymers do well here for something that might be generated on the fly) in a device I stand a chance of buying in a real world shop in a decent sized town.
I don't think in the near term it is reasonable to hope for an open device for all this so I will probably have to twist some phone company's offering here.
 
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YamiZee

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Sadly, I don't know what the future will hold. What I do know is, Android annoys me.
Android? Specifically? Not mobile in general? Not phones, but android? IOS and windows phones all good but not android? Blackberry games fine? Just android?
 

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I predict they'll continue, at least for a while - if only due to the major gaming companies' attitude of "world domination through our proprietary platform on which we assert full dictatorship"
 

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Honestly I'd love for Nintendo to do another hybrid console for the next generation after Switch. What with batteries and cooling getting better along with mobile GPU's I think graphic power wouldn't be a problem.
 

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Hybrid consoles appear to be the only hope for handhelds. The market for dedicated handhelds is rapidly diminishing because of how accessible and acceptable mobile gaming is for most people. The hybrid concept brings new motivation to pick up a handheld, though, because suddenly it is also your home console. It's a great idea and is something I wish was done better with the original idea of "hybrid" gaming (Sega Nomad in the 90s) or attempts since then (PSP, PSP go with video output or even a dock and wireless controller support in the case of the PSP go).
 
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kuwanger

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Android? Specifically? Not mobile in general? Not phones, but android? IOS and windows phones all good but not android? Blackberry games fine? Just android?

I haven't used iOS, Windows Phone, or Blackberry so I don't have a specific opinion on them. I don't have a smartphone, only a tablet and a few other Android devices, so I can't complain much about mobile.
 

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Handheld gaming will continue, because gamers will make it continue. Mobile games have always had the reputation for being trash, quite frankly they still are. If you want a true gaming experience handheld gaming and console gaming is the only way to do that. Plus people are getting more and more fed up with micro-transactions which pretty much in every mobile game has.
 

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Handheld gaming will continue, because gamers will make it continue. Mobile games have always had the reputation for being trash, quite frankly they still are. If you want a true gaming experience handheld gaming and console gaming is the only way to do that. Plus people are getting more and more fed up with micro-transactions which pretty much in every mobile game has.
None of that precludes phones, tablets and such from gaining some decent games.

Similarly at various points console games were considered lesser to arcades (they still exist around here but for the US I would need to toss in a "remember those") and later played a distant second fiddle to the PC, today they are still second fiddle most of the time but the differences are usually few enough that you can still be said to have played essentially the same game.

Handhelds even as late as the GBC were also the home of second rate, cut down console ports, cheap cash ins and mediocre games to play in class/when in transport. Indeed it was probably mid-late GBA era and then the DS that things got properly respectable, and for many that was mainly because they got "only if you played the originals would you see the differences" ports of 16 bit era games, and sequels (spiritual and otherwise) to many of said same. Many (devs and players) seemed happy enough to abandon the 3ds before it started and thus we had the rather mediocre showing it got.
 
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osaka35

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What's the difference between xbox, playstation, and a pc when it comes to playing a game? Not much. But folks still buy consoles. Why?

It's important to keep that in mind when discussing where the market is for handhelds. Yes, phones and tablets technically could take over for handhelds, but they won't for many of the same reasons consoles will be around for a while, plus a few additional reasons. For handhelds, you have minimal hardware space and the need for a non-touch interface. for phones, they have to be multipurpose and allow for many uses, reducing their abilities to serve good games, unique games. A handheld needs to focus on just creating games and that experience, meaning it'll get more out of the hardware and controls/software can be made with the singular platform in mind.

But if you're just asking what they'll LOOK like, I'd imagine the best affordable tech with something nifty to keep it fun. Nintendo specifically always tries to find ways to bring people together, physically, so they like to design their fun stuff around this goal.

Let's go crazy bonkers in the future. imagine a world where a pair of glasses are your screen, the device is in your pocket or on your person, and the controls are in your hand. powerglove :P . and you've got a lot of Augmented Reality games. Exploring your world through the lense of another, or using it as VR experience. Or just a traditional experience, overlaid on the real world. Wouldn't that be neat.
 
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FAST6191

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What's the difference between xbox, playstation, and a pc when it comes to playing a game? Not much. But folks still buy consoles. Why?

It's important to keep that in mind when discussing where the market is for handhelds. Yes, phones and tablets technically could take over for handhelds, but they won't for many of the same reasons consoles will be around for a while, plus a few additional reasons. For handhelds, you have minimal hardware space and the need for a non-touch interface. for phones, they have to be multipurpose and allow for many uses, reducing their abilities to serve good games, unique games. A handheld needs to focus on just creating games and that experience, meaning it'll get more out of the hardware and controls/software can be made with the singular platform in mind.

I don't know if I can quite get there. Especially if some flagship phones ship with a controller, or someone better than Asus's ROG nonsense pulls off a thing with a slide out controller and fund some dev to do something for them, and get a bunch of others to offer support for their controls. At that point the same fate as befell personal organisers, mp3 players, portable video players, compact cameras, to some extent handhelds themselves (ignore the sorts of games people around here like and compare the libraries of the DS and 3ds).
 

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Well, if touch screen, mobile phone gaming, micro transactions and streaming, replace good old traditional handheld systems, I will not be gaming in the future.
I despise micro transactions. Instead, I prefer playing hard and overcoming tough challenges to unlock levels, bonuses, hidden secrets and weapons, etc. Plus I need the responsiveness of tactile input (buttons). Touch screen doesn't do it for me. Also I need my copies of my games that I paid good money for, to be in my possession along with my game saves. So streaming doesn't work for me.

What would I like to see? 2 really strong companies with top quality games (first party and third party) battling for supremacy in the market, just like Sega and Nintendo did in their heyday. Competition breeds better creativity.


I kind of like Osakas daydreams for the future. On a similar note, what if future gaming is all done via a computer chip implanted in your brain and you control it all with thoughts?
 
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Well, if touch screen, mobile phone gaming, micro transactions and streaming, replace good old traditional handheld systems, I will not be gaming in the future.
I despise micro transactions. Instead, I prefer playing hard and overcoming tough challenges to unlock levels, bonuses, hidden secrets and weapons, etc. Plus I need the responsiveness of tactile input (buttons). Touch screen doesn't do it for me. Also I need my copies of my games that I paid good money for, to be in my possession along with my game saves. So streaming doesn't work for me.

What would I like to see? 2 really strong companies with top quality games (first party and third party) battling for supremacy in the market, just like Sega and Nintendo did in their heyday. Competition breeds better creativity.


I kind of like Osakas daydreams for the future. On a similar note, what if future gaming is all done via a computer chip implanted in your brain and you control it all with thoughts?


I have to admit, I’m not a fan of touch screen controls for anything beyond puzzle games, or at least games with simple or very well thought out controls. But for a FPS or such, nope.

There are good games on mobile, quite a lot of them actually, though I avoid the IAP, micro transaction laden cash grabbers. I much prefer the traditional, pay up front and be done with it model. Which is what I always use for my own apps and games.

Now that (in iOS 13) we can use an Xbox or PlayStation controller, remote play is much better, as is any game which supports a proper controller scheme. The latest iPad Pro has some decent power under the hood too, nearing Xbox One levels, if anyone decides to take advantage of it. There's also Stadia (if you like) or Xbox streaming on the horizon too. So, mobile gaming has got potential, if you don't mind carrying a controller. I'll take advantage of that next week when the wife drags me off on holiday, I'll still be able to play my Playstation :D

But for me, it's Nintendo and the Switch which has the best potential, with it having controllers attached. If they keep developing that formula, adding more power and capability to it, I'll keep buying it. One never knows, perhaps Xbox Game Pass, Stadia and/or other services will find their way to the current or future versions/successors of the Switch too. Ninty are on a roll with this platform, they've got it mostly right again, so as long as they don't do anything stupid with the formula, it's got amazing potential.
 
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Superbronx

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I have to admit, I’m not a fan of touch screen controls for anything beyond puzzle games, or at least games with simple or very well thought out controls. But for a FPS or such, nope.

There are good games on mobile, quite a lot of them actually, though I avoid the IAP, micro transaction laden cash grabbers. I much prefer the traditional, pay up front and be done with it model. Which is what I always use for my own apps and games.

Now that (in iOS 13) we can use an Xbox or PlayStation controller, remote play is much better, as is any game which supports a proper controller scheme. The latest iPad Pro has some decent power under the hood too, nearing Xbox One levels, if anyone decides to take advantage of it. There's also Stadia (if you like) or Xbox streaming on the horizon too. So, mobile gaming has got potential, if you don't mind carrying a controller. I'll take advantage of that next week when the wife drags me off on holiday, I'll still be able to play my Playstation :D

But for me, it's Nintendo and the Switch which has the best potential, with it having controllers attached. If they keep developing that formula, adding more power and capability to it, I'll keep buying it. One never knows, perhaps Xbox Game Pass, Stadia and/or other services will find their way to the current or future versions/successors of the Switch too. Ninty are on a roll with this platform, they've got it mostly right again, so as long as they don't do anything stupid with the formula, it's got amazing potential.

I've never been an IOS guy. I've only ever used android. It's refreshing to hear you can now use a controller. I remember on older Android devices, we could connect a wii mote. I liked that but then they disabled that capability. I haven't tried recently but maybe it's possible again.

As far as stadia and streaming, I cannot get behind that if it means I can't have my own physical copy or digital copy of games I buy. Also I want my game saves stored locally, not in the cloud. Just in case I want to modify or hack them. Don't want to cheat online but if I want to on single player games, I want that option.

I agree with you about nintendo. I like what they're doing but I have a feeling @FAST6191 would disagree lol.
 
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