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Debate: Handhelds vs Smartphones

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by quantumrand, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Here's a bit of an interesting article talking about the path portable gaming will be taking this coming year: The Future of Portable Gaming | alaTest Blog

    It mentions that Smartphones may become a serious contender in the portable gaming world, pointing out the Xperia Play and talking about the serious power Smartphones will have by the end of the year.

    Do you think Smartphones have what it takes to compete with the Nintendo 3DS and Sony NGP?

    Personally, I think the biggest hindrance to the Smartphone platform will be (and I hate to use the word) fragmentation. Yes, there will be Smartphones as powerful as the NGP, but will developers really create games for them when 90% of Smartphone users will still be on older devices not powerful enough to play them? Going further, would people pay full price ($30-$50) for a game in the Android Marketplace for example? I think not, and I don't see developers being willing to create extensive games that sell for $5.

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  2. dguy

    dguy Android Expert

    Devices like the DS and PSP will disappear in a handful of years. Smartphones make them completely obsolete. Don't be surprised if Nintendo makes a handheld that has cellular connectivity and even phone functionality in the not too distant future.
  3. ParishL31

    ParishL31 Android Enthusiast

    I think the biggest hurdle you'd have to get passed if you're trying to turn a smart phone into a "console" is the issue with controls. Touch screen controls are getting better, but they will never be the same as having an actual controller which the portable consoles will always have over it. Also a majority of the users of smart phone games just want something quick and simple to burn time, the few people that want a full fledged game probably are into gaming enough to already own a portable device and carry it on them.

    I consider myself a pretty hardcore gamer and all, but there aren't any amazing games out there that would make me go out of my way to carry one more device on me. I think that's why smart phone simple games are good enough for me, I already carry my phone on me at all times and it plays games that are good enough for me to enjoy while burning time.

    EA and a few other developers have already shown they're willing to throw money into the Apple market, hopefully Android when it starts to grow more as well. The Apple market has Dead Space, NBA Jam, and a bunch of other ports of real games. That's not the issue. Even Nazi Zombies was ported to the Apple store, but hell the controls on that are so bad on a touch screen I'd rather not play it at all then attempt to on a phone/tablet. I love playing it on XBox but I won't touch it with a stick on touch screen controls.

    The need for a controller for true gamers is the real issue at hand. And it would just be stupid to carry a Wiimote or PS3 controller on you just to play some game in your spare time on your phone, at least in my eyes. Those that feel controls on a touch screen are fine are likely not into gaming enough to really care about many full games on a smartphone.
  4. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Pretty much agree with you on all points there Parish. Smartphones are already way more powerful than today's handhelds, and even when Sony's NGP comes out, there will be Smartphones with the same or even better hardware. It turns into a struggle between the convenience of a single device, or the natural fit of a dedicated handheld.

    We might start seeing more devices like the Xperia Play, which have the best of both worlds, but I think a lot of it comes down to which system has the best titles. There's been speculation that Sony might start merging some titles with the Marketplace, which would be awesome, but I get the feeling we'll never get away from platform exclusive titles. For example, if you want to play the newest Pokemon or Mario, you need a DS.

    I really don't see regular Smartphones manufacturers overtaking Sony or Nintendo in the gaming industry; however, if Sony or Nintendo themselves made a Smartphone gaming device, complete with their usual game licensing, it'd be a different story.
  5. nklenchik

    nklenchik Android Enthusiast

    Case in point: PSP Android powered phone once it comes out :p

  6. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    The problem is that the Xperia Play isn't really a PlayStation device. It's just an Android phone with a slideout gamepad. It works nicely for playing emulators and the like, but it's still stuck playing whatever is available on the Android market.

    There's been word that Sony is bringing the PlayStation Network to the Android Market, such that you would be able to buy Sony licensed games for your Android device, but it's unknown whether or not these games will be your run of the mill Smartphone games or full ports of PSP and PS3 titles.
  7. Scrav

    Scrav Newbie

    While there is some overlap between handheld consoles and mobile phones, there are still massive hurdles between the two. The top three of the top of my head are:

    1. Controls - touchscreen will never be close to physical controls. A mobile is being developed with physical controls, but that is no guarantee this will end up mainstream and developers don't want to be developing for fractured audiences.

    2. Quality of Content - Speaks for itself really. Something that may be overcome with time.

    3. Target audience - Handheld consoles focus on specific target audiences, catering for their needs. It is debatable whether there is even a need to move away from handheld consoles. Developers and Customers may not want to move away from Handheld Consoles.

    I like playing casual games on my mobile, such as Sudoku, but any sort of game that has a vague connection to action elements is not that enjoyable. I have a DS and PSP and personally have no desire to move to a pure phone based solution in the near future.

    There have been arguments that normal consoles (xbox, playstation, etc) are on their way out, in the past, due to the overlap with pc's, but the opposite appears to be true with a move away from merging the two types of technologies (pc gaming declining).
  8. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    That's something that disappoints me. With the Xbox 360 and PS3 being so PC-like now, developers have ended up coding for the console and porting to the PC, effectively stifling graphics development entirely. Take Fallout 3 for example, a 2008 game that runs on the same game engine as and looks like a 2005 game, despite PC hardware that is 4 times more powerful. Hell, Fallout New Vegas is a 2010 game that STILL runs on the same engine and looks like a 2005 game.

    I'm sick and tired of games plagued with abysmal polygon counts and flat, low resolution textures! I won't even get into the crappy interfaces they hack together for the PC versions. I miss the days when they would use the highest detailed models and textures possible while getting the game to run on the latest hardware, and then dumb it down for mid and low end hardware, and then dumb that down some more to get the console version to run well.

    These days, they create the game in super extreme dumbed down mode for the console and then add a few resolution settings and stretch out the textures so they look like crap and call it good enough for the PC. HELLO! My PC has a gig of dedicated video RAM opposed to the worthless 256MB of a console. I can fit nicer looking textures in there!

  9. ASCI Blue

    ASCI Blue Newbie

    Don't be a graphic whore. Most games look great but lack any substance. Great paid $50 - $60 for a 6 hour game (I'm talking about you Force Unleashed, Doom 3, and a handful of others.) Most of the best games I've played are from the late 80's to the mid 90's. Wing Commander except Prophecy and Privateer 2, Freespace, Warcraft/Starcraft, Ultima 1 - 7 although I liked 8 it wasn't as popular as the rest.

    I can remember when my PC was a whopping 4.7 MHz and needed a 386 accelerator card to play stuff, never-mind having separate boot disks for everything.
  10. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'll admit the race for the best graphics ruined a few games *cough* Final Fantasy VIII *cough* but for a lot of games, it really improves the experience. F.E.A.R. is a perfect example of a game that just wouldn't be as good without the cinematic experience.

    I personally enjoy seeing the progression in graphics technology and it's a shame it's hardly gone anywhere in the past 5 years. Crytek seems to be doing things right though.
  11. Essex

    Essex Android Enthusiast

    As others have mentioned, the one of biggest obstacles to smartphone gaming is controls. Most games just aren't that fun on a touch screen. I definitely think the markets for dedicated handhelds and smartphones are merging though.

    At this point, the markets are still distinct enough to justify devices like the NGP, but I'm not so sure that will always be the case. As usual, the volume, quality, and price of games will influence how quickly consumers adopt a particular platform. But once companies figure out how to merge dedicated controls with smartphones (in a compelling, commercially appealing way), handheld gaming will probably migrate away from dedicated handheld devices.
  12. ASCI Blue

    ASCI Blue Newbie

    Crytek should be the next id. Make and sell the engine and leave the game for someone else to make. Crysis was a gorgeous game...but lacked a number of things a good shooter should have. I can't really talk too much though since most shooters to me are a disappointment.

    You probably won't believe this but I've never played the FEAR franchise. It's on my short list though.
  13. dguy

    dguy Android Expert

    There is no FEAR franchise. Play FEAR 1 on the PC and pretend everything else doesn't exist.
  14. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    CryEngine2 was a huge step forward as seen in Crysis (and in stripped form in Aion Online), but I was actually referring to CryEngine3. It looks to me that CryEngine3 pushes the envelope with regards to PC gaming while also making a version that can be played on a console. I am going to be EXTREMELY disappointed if the consoles ruin the games based on this engine.

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