Day Nineteen – A Gameboy Without Buttons

19 01 2010

I realize that referencing the defunct Gameboy isn’t the cool thing to do, but for my purposes, it works. The Nintendo Gameboy was the last handheld to completely dominate the market in my eyes. Yes, the Nintendo DS isn’t a failure by any means and remains dominant to this day.

The future of handheld gaming can do more than just play games.

I just think the market is shifting.

I recently got the Apple iPhone and after a couple months of using it, I can see it becoming the new handheld king.

Don’t get me wrong. The Nintendo DS is a far superior device for handheld gaming; it’s built with that in mind. Where the iPhone has an advantage is the same that the Playstation brand gave to DVD and Blu-ray. If I already have the phone, I may as well try a couple games on it.

My phone is always on me. My DS is not. It’s that simple. I’ll probably be spending a lot more time playing Flight Control on my phone than I would playing Brain Age on my DS. I can pull out my phone at any time when I’m bored and fire up a game. I need to plan to be bored in order to bring my DS.

At this current moment, the last advantage the DS has is the games. However, that looks like it can change very soon. The #1 game on the App Store since its release last year is Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. This is a game that could have been on the DS.

Today “could have been” isn’t even relevant, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released for the iPhone as well. According to Touch Arcade, it’s pretty much the same game you can find on the DS – at a third of the price.

This is only the beginning for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the gaming realm. The one thing they’ll need to avoid is becoming like the Atari. They need a system to limit the amount of crapware that becomes available on a daily basis. Though the quality will come through, the poorly made games will find there way around as well and creates a danger of defining what the new handheld era will become.

Before I got my iPhone, I didn’t think that a device that’s primarily a iPod and a phone could bring any threat to the handheld market. Now that I have had some time with the device, I’ve been converted.

In a matter of a few short years, I expect to see the iPhone, or similar devices, to be the only handheld gaming devices on the market. Multi-purpose is the future of technology and gaming is no different.

I hope your thumbs are ready.