May 30th, 2011


On dominant technology

A stat I recall seeing bandied about a few months ago was how the iPhone is doing more business in mobile games than the DS or the PSP. I own an iPod Touch for gaming purposes, so I can understand the sentiment, but I also have a DS and a PSP- so I have developed strong opinions on the matter.

Believe it or not, the PSP is actually my preferred system. The DS' touch screen just isn't how I want to control most of the games I want to play; I prefer the precision of a digital pad. (I play Advance Wars DS/DoR with the D-Pad, not the touch screen, for one.) The PSP simply has a better control layout, and its single screen is more practical for the majority of games; it's hard to make full use of two screens, it seems. The iPhone has it worst- I really can't play action games on a touch screen, I've found. (It's excellent at Civilization, though.)

Signed homebrew on the PSP- homebrew using the fact that Sony's security key was broken and therefore can load and run without any sort of PSP hack at all- is also excellent, which helps. (My attention is mostly on Tyrian and GBC/GBA emulation, I admit.) DS homebrew, despite my buying a flash card for the purpose, really hasn't held my attention.

It's pretty obvious to me why the iPhone is winning, though. An iPhone or iPod Touch can be a "good enough" handheld game system, and the game prices are dirt cheap, so someone who has one may have very little incentive to buy a dedicated console. A dedicated handheld console isn't stopping smartphone sales any, though.

Smartphones are becoming dominant enough that this factor may well threaten the viability of dedicated handheld gaming consoles as a whole, a generation out. I think it's a little premature for this one, but I may just be optimistic in favor of dedicated systems...

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