Is The End Of Gaming Handhelds Near?

Illustration for article titled Is The End Of Gaming Handhelds Near?

Video game handhelds are getting a run for their money, and they're getting it from smartphones. But are they good enough as dedicated handheld game machines? Most serious games would offer a curt "no".

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As Doom programmer John Carmack points, it is possible to create game for platforms like the iPhone that look as good as titles for dedicated gaming handhelds. But, of course, phones lack the dedicated input devices (directional pads and buttons) found on gaming handhelds.

"The smartphone may turn out to be 80 percent as good at gaming as a dedicated gaming platform," Carmack tells The Dallas Morning News.

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"People are going to carry their smartphone, and if it's an 80 percent gaming device, how many people in the gaming market will be satisfied with that? That's the question that's in everybody's mind, and I really don't know."

Carmack recently released an iOS spin-off version of upcoming shooter Rage.

But Carmack adds that game developers are somewhat reluctant to fully embrace smartphones, The Dallas Morning News reports, because the same consumers who might pay $40 or $50 bucks for a DS or PSP game might be more reluctant to shell out a few bucks for a smartphone game.

But if more players are gaming on smartphones, then the industry must follow. According to Carmack, "If that's what the consumers are going to trend towards on there, there may not be much as developers we can do about that."

Carmack tells the paper that the upcoming NGP and Nintendo 3DS could very well be the last generation of dedicated gaming handhelds. Carmack also said that Sony's NGP can perform "about a generation beyond" smartphones with similar specs. But Carmack adds, "You don't always get to build pyramids just because you want to."

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Las Vegas did. But that's besides the point.

Smart phones and tablets becoming video game machines [The Dallas Morning News] [Pic: Getty]

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DISCUSSION

Manly_McBeeferton
Manly McBeeferton

Instead of calling them smartphones, can't we just call them handhelds with the ability to call people? Smartphones, right now, aren't built for serious gaming, but a handheld is. and no matter how hard the iPhone tries I don't see it being able to become a real gaming device that can go toe-to-toe with Nintendo and Sony.

How hard would it be to implement a phone into the NGP? To be honest I'd be more willing to buy an NGP that can call people over an iPhone that can run a game like Crysis. If a device is designed to play games first and do calling secondary, I'd be more interested. But as of right now, smartphone gaming doesn't do it for me. The iPad is fair, but still not enough.

Also, I don't think handhelds are going anywhere soon. If Nintendo and Sony felt that smartphones were butting into their sales or fanbase they would've added a phone feature in the 3DS and NGP. They're not frightened by smartphone gaming. Though the price does seem a little expensive for those 3DS games, but I've not seen it in action, so I can't gauge if it's worth it or not.

Just my opinion.