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3DS and Vita Face Tough Battle Against Smartphones 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
An article at the Opposable Thumbs blog looks at the struggle between portable gaming devices and smartphones with access to a plethora of inexpensive games. "...most games simply have to be 'good enough' and convenient. If you already have a smartphone and an hour to kill, plenty of top-notch games can be downloaded in a minute for a dollar. With the 3DS or Vita, you're being asked to buy expensive hardware and then feed it with games that cost $40 and up. Smartphones also present a compelling deal for small, adventurous developers: it's inexpensive to create a game for these platforms, and developers don't have to worry about physical storefronts, packaging design, or cartridge manufacturing. Sony is now pushing for a digital platform that relies heavily on downloads with the Vita, but Nintendo still seems to believe the future rests with expensive, physical carts. Trying to buy one of the few digital games available on the 3DS via the system's e-shop is a slow, frustrating process."
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3DS and Vita Face Tough Battle Against Smartphones

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  • I kind of agree. Maybe the next step for Nintendo and Sony should either be:

    1) Open the platform for indie development and offer an online store where people can submit games (similar to Xbox live games)
    2) Start creating games for mobile phones

    Nr. 2 seems very unlikely, so I think their best bet is to open the platform up for indie development.
    • by iamhassi (659463) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @03:55AM (#37104554) Journal

      I kind of agree. Maybe the next step for Nintendo and Sony should either be: 1) Open the platform for indie development and offer an online store where people can submit games (similar to Xbox live games)

      Agreed. Apple has actually made a mistake in one department: the latest generation iPod Touch only has 256mb RAM [wikipedia.org] compared to the iPhone 4's 512mb RAM [wikipedia.org]. This makes many games that are compatible with the iPhone 4 not compatible with the latest iPod Touch. Most parents won't buy their children iPhones due to the expensive monthly data plans but a ~$200 iPod Touch is no problem, but since they can't play the latest games it's no good. Why Apple did this is beyond me but it locks out many potential buyers.

      But you're right about one thing: any gaming device, console or portable, better have a well-stocked app store if they want to survive. They better beg, borrow or steal to get developers to make thousands of games if they want to compete with Apple. Apple's App Store might not have the best quality games or the latest 3D hardware but they have millions of paying customers and those millions of customers translate into millions of dollars for developers. Raise your hand if you want millions of dollars. I thought so, so what does Nintendo have? Do they have millions of customers using their Wii Shop Channel? Where's the Wii Shop Channel millionaires? [google.com] There's plenty of App Store millionaires, [google.com] and that's what draws developers. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft need to turn average joe game programmers into millionaires in a hurry if they want to survive against Apple. Honestly, I think they're SOL. App Store has been around for 3 years [wikipedia.org] and in that time Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft just looked at it with a blank stare while their sales have suffered while Apple gathered 200 million iOS users downloading over 15 billion apps and paying developers $2.5 billion dollars. [techcrunch.com] How many more years are they gonna wait? Really disappointed, it's like they saw the tidal wave coming and they sat in shock rather than move out of the way.

      • I think you're wrong in the sense that hardware developers need thousands upon thousands of games. They just need a stable of games that push hardware. I'll grant you that having more games in their online shop will be a plus, but, by and large most people probably won't even see the bottom to such a store.

    • by Gravatron (716477)
      Sony has had PSN for some time now, but i'm not sure whats required to develop games for it, nor am I sure they have announced how PSN titles will work for the PSV. They do have Playstation suite/Playstation certified though, which should allow for android development which can also be played on the PSV.
    • I think Nintendo and Sony need to do 1.

      I think though, they need to be more selective and choosy than Apple is for their game store. Nintendo certainly was around when the market fell out on gaming back in the 80's due to the massive amount of absolute crap ware that was shoveled out. Right now, the big net that's keeping that from happening is that unlike the 2600, the iPhone, the DS and the Vita can offer those games for very cheaply with out taking up store shelve space.

      As a gamer, I'd hate to think th

  • race to the bottom is going to seriously affect the gaming industry.
    • by dintech (998802)

      Interesting that Nintendo choose this path for handheld though. They understand the adantages of the "sell huge volumes of low-tech games on cheap hardware" from their console endeavours.

      • Re:Oh yes, (Score:4, Funny)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @06:29AM (#37105316) Journal
        I'm told that there is an eldrich evil beyond mortal understanding entombed under Nintendo's headquarters. If they don't release a '3-D' gimmick that sucks and craters every so often, it will be unleashed upon the world...

        Somewhere between 2025 and 2026, it is expected that cracks in the earth will again start devouring interns and releasing mephitic vapors in the lower levels of their HQ, and they'll start development of the next one.

        In between these so-called 'darkest blasphemy appeasement' periods, Nintendo will follow a sensible strategy of releasing fairly well designed and popular games on inexpensive hardware, in their selfless quest to remain solvent and stockpile enough cash to be able to survive their next round of saving humanity...

        True facts.
        • by deains (1726012)
          But if the great evil were unleashed, surely Nintendo could just release a plumber, a green-kitted blonde kid and a few small animals with superpowers to go and deal with it? Should sort out the issue in a couple of days, I reckon.
          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            But if the great evil were unleashed, surely Nintendo could just release a plumber, a green-kitted blonde kid and a few small animals with superpowers to go and deal with it? Should sort out the issue in a couple of days, I reckon.

            Yeah, but things often don't work out so well in the meantime, like the kid has to travel to the future to defeat the evil, so we're all stuck under the Ultimate Evil's thumb for a decade. Or the whole world gets flooded and the kid doesn't show up to save us for a thousand years or something.

            • by Yamioni (2424602)
              Not to mention, the plumber found his mushroom, but it just didn't quite have the effect he was used to.
  • ObPA (Score:1, Redundant)

    by PhilHibbs (4537)
  • Aren't smartphone games more for the adult casual gamer with some free time between the events that constitute their life and the nintendo handhelds more for young children with more free time than a life?

    I'm guessing nintendo can depend on the childrens whining to maintain sales though i'm totally unfamiliar with the current state of children with cellphones. Personally i wouldn't pay fora child's cellphone but i guess nintendo could be in trouble seeing as how many parents have no problem buying cars for

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Aren't smartphone games more for the adult casual gamer with some free time between the events that constitute their life and the nintendo handhelds more for young children with more free time than a life?

      Adults play real video games too, you know.
      Actually, the PSP mostly had old-school JRPGs. The PSP was the console preferred by hardcore RPG gamers, which are typically young adults.
      On the other hand, the DS had more games for kids.

      • by Gravatron (716477)
        I'm always surprised at that. the PSP started off trying to be a portable ps2, but due to the lack of a second stick, never really pulled that off. Instead, what we had was the best Portable for RPG lovers, like ever. Remakes of classics, enhanced ports, and completely new titles. I really hope this trend continues with the PSV.
        • There are rumors of Square Enix porting over some or all of their back library to the Vita, or even bringing FFXI (their successful MMORPG, unlike XIV) to the Vita with 3G wireless. I would buy it in a heartbeat if that were true.
      • by residieu (577863)
        I don't consider JRPGs to be fit for hardcore RPG gamers. I want something like Neverwinter Nights or Dragon Age. Nothing like that available on the PSP
        • by loufoque (1400831)

          It could be argued "true" hardcore RPG gamers don't distinguish between western and eastern games, but of course that would be yet another silly "true scotsman" argument.

          It is a fact, however, than in recent years western RPGs have been dumbed down in order to sell more to casual players, while most japanese ones (especially those for the PSP) have gone even more niche.
          There are also korean RPGs emerging now, though the korean industry is mostly focused on MMORPGs. I don't think they're meant to be accessib

    • by edwdig (47888)

      Aren't smartphone games more for the adult casual gamer with some free time between the events that constitute their life and the nintendo handhelds more for young children with more free time than a life?

      That was true in the GameBoy days, but the DS hit a different market. The Pokemon crowd carried over, but the DS blew away the GameBoy because it catered to adults as well. Brain Age and games like that were major sellers - enough so that they released the DSi XL, which was primarily aimed at older audienc

  • by mentil (1748130) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @03:03AM (#37104318)

    Maybe when 6 buttons and an analog stick are standard equipment for smart phones Nintendo might have something to be afraid of; multitouch implementations of buttons and dpads/sticks are terrible and take up screen real estate. Clip-on accessories are available for some phones, but most people don't have these, there's no standardization, and thus most games won't support these things; it also contradicts the premise that people are playing these smartphone games when they're bored and just have a few minutes: they aren't going to lug around the clip-on button pad all day every day just in case they're bored for a few minutes.

    Oh, and there's the fact that an unlocked smartphone costs more than a 3DS or PS Vita, and you need to pay a subscription for the ability to buy or redownload games. If you don't trust your kid to use a smartphone unsupervised, a dedicated games machine would be a better option.

    If you have a dumbphone and are still under contract, then you don't have a smartphone laying around. If you're not technically apt, you don't have a smartphone laying around. If you have an Android/Blackberry and you want an iOS game, you're SOL. If you have an iPod touch, the CPU is too crappy to run the more complex games at full framerate.

    Then there's different markets. If you're 40+ and never owned a games machine before, you might download Angry Birds to see what the fuss is about. If you check IGN every day, chances are you'll realize that different systems get different games and there are games that interest you on every platform -- this means you will be interested in games that are only on the 3DS, even if you hate the hardware and have an iPhone.

    Analysts seem to be repeating this argument ad nauseum, because they see portable gaming systems as less convenient than mobile phones. This is true, but missing the point. I bought a DS not because I wanted to play games when I'm out that happen to be new, it's that games I'm interested in playing happened to be released on a portable system.

    The real question is, why would developers make games for the 3DS instead of smartphone only? The answer has to be: because that's where the gamers are -- the gamers willing to pay $40 per game. That means high production values and budgets, and high-quality games made by large teams for 18+ months. It could also be that something they REALLY want to make requires an analog stick or buttons, but that's less likely.

    Personally I appreciate these high-quality large games that aren't just ports of home console games, but are things that wouldn't be released on any other system -- they're too large for a smartphone and too small for a home console.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      You seem to mostly miss the point. The problem is that there are very few gamers nowadays that are willing to pay US$40 for a game. Very very few. It's just too expensive. Then the convenience app stores provide versus having to go to a shop and hoping that your game is on stock. And finally of course the issue of critical mass: there are not enough gamers to have many developers write games for the platform, which in turn discourages many otherwise interested gamers.

      Sure there will be a market for hand he

      • by mentil (1748130) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:31AM (#37104716)

        The 4 million Japanese who bought Dragon Quest 9 at the equivalent of $64 kindly disagree with your assertion that "very very few" people would pay $40 for a portable game.

      • by qwak23 (1862090)

        http://www.vgchartz.com/weekly.php?reg=America&date=&console=&maker= [vgchartz.com]

        Granted, I'm unfamiliar with the above site and how accurate their numbers are, but to me, 2.7 million games sold in one week across ALL platforms says otherwise. It doesn't break it down by price point, by the top game on their list for the week (Mario Kart Wii) still retails for $47 on amazon. That doesn't sound like very very few to me. Sure having to go get or ship a physical copy isn't as convenient as the instant gratif

      • The problem is that there are very few gamers nowadays that are willing to pay US$40 for a game.

        Nor are there a lot of gamers who would pay $65 per month (estimated price difference between AT&T's service for iPhone 4 and Virgin Mobile USA's least expensive service for a dumbphone) for a games machine.

        • In the US you are limited to Verizon and AT&T for the iPhone; other parts of the world you have different options when it comes to data plan pricing. Also consumers can choose the iPod Touch. While it may not play all the games due to smaller RAM, it still plays many of them. Or even get an old iPhone without phone service. However I seriously doubt anyone looking to get a gaming machine looks exclusively at smartphones. Smartphones can play games so someone can consolidate their devices; if they a
          • by wvmarle (1070040)
            On top of that you don't need mobile data for a smart phone. It's convenient for sure. But not a requirement. They work fine without SIM, or with just a voice plan. They just get a little dumber (and less ads due to no data available :))
            • by tepples (727027)

              On top of that you don't need mobile data for a smart phone.

              Unless they won't sell the phone without the mobile data plan. And even then, how many smartphones work on voice plans as cheap as the $15 per three months voice plan I have with Virgin Mobile USA?

              They work fine without SIM

              I seem to remember reading about an Android phone that wouldn't let the user go to the home screen if the SIM were removed. It would get stuck in the phone app, limited to emergency calls only. Do newer Android phones have this same problem? And which such device without a voice and data contract but with Android

              • by wvmarle (1070040)

                My Android 2.2-based LG P-500 works without SIM present. Just tested. It just adds a SIM icon in the status bar at the top of the screen, and its mobile phone functions are of course limited to emergency calls.

            • by Gravatron (716477)
              In the Us, most carriers won't sell you a smart phone without a data plan.
              • by wvmarle (1070040)
                I don't buy my phones from carriers any more. They're too expensive. The third-party vendors (often found across the street or so) are easily 10% cheaper.
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          I'm paying the equivalent of no more than US$15 per month for three mobile phone accounts (that's the total, the cheapest account is some US$2.6 per month), each with plenty of airtime included. One comes even with a second number for use in China (one SIM, two numbers). No data though, I don't really need that so didn't subscribe, and wifi is virtually everywhere if you really need some. I could go and get an iPhone if I wanted too (instead opted for a much cheaper, probably less capable LG smart phone ins

          • by tepples (727027)

            Not everyone is living in the US.

            But I am. Which country is taking refugees from the U.S. mobile device cartel?

            • by wvmarle (1070040)

              Well you could try Hong Kong... still pretty loose immigration policy for westerners. You can get in as tourist, stay for 3 months (just have your obligatory day to Macau to get three more months), and find a job in the meantime. If you have any teaching qualifications that should be a breeze. Next step is getting residency status (after you get your visa you just have to leave HK and re-enter to change your status), and seven years later you can become permanent resident and then just stay for life. It's j

      • Actually there is a difference, core gamers do not have a problem with buying games for 60 USD, but the casual mass market and kids market is very price sensitive. Nintendo has a far bigger problem on its hands than Sony, because the casual and kids market is where Nintendo has been strong in the past years.
        For a parent it makes a difference if I buy a 99c game my kids play for a while or if I have to shell out 40 USD for something with the same miserable to mediocre quality.
        Add to that that carts are const

    • Maybe when 6 buttons and an analog stick are standard equipment for smart phones Nintendo might have something to be afraid of; multitouch implementations of buttons and dpads/sticks are terrible and take up screen real estate.

      Yes. But the best game developers create games that take advantage of the particular I/O a device has. The best iPhone games use multitouch screen in a way that it's intended to be used - to point and drag objects on the screen. They don't emulate D-Pads and buttons.

      • The best iPhone games use multitouch screen in a way that it's intended to be used - to point and drag objects on the screen.

        How would you recommend that a developer make a platformer like Mario or Sonic work by "point[ing] and drag[ging] objects on the screen"?

        • Equally, the new genres that are coming along that work with pointing and dragging objects won't work so well on consoles that just have buttons.

          Also, your classic third-person shooter was compromised when being ported from PCs with mice to consoles without them.

          The good news is that the new set of opportunities and limitations brought about by a new device category always leads to innovative games.

          For example, whilst classic Mario and Sonic won't work well, Doodle Jump is an extremely popular platform game

          • by tepples (727027)
            So what you're trying to say is that a developer must make a name for himself and "pay his dues", so to speak, by making and selling games in a pointing and dragging objects genre before he's allowed to make games in a buttons genre. Or what did I misunderstand?
            • I'm not "trying" to say anything. I'm saying exactly what I did say, and it'd doesn't resemble in any way your attempted summary.

              If you have a point of your own to make, then make it. But posts that consist of nothing more than misrepresenting what others have said are no use to anyone.

              • by tepples (727027)

                If you have a point of your own to make, then make it.

                I've made it several times before, and I didn't make it again here for fear of being moderated Redundant. The manufacturers of handheld video game systems with buttons are unfriendly to micro-ISVs. Only established businesses whose employees have "relevant industry experience" can qualify for a license develop video games for systems with buttons (source: warioworld.com). Others have suggested developing and selling touch-based smartphone games in order to gain such experience.

    • Personally I see portable consoles replacing home consoles.

      It allows you to play anywhere (eg. on the couch, laying in bed), you don't have to fight with the rest of the family for the living room TV, you won't distrub anyone sleeping if you play at night and you get privacy.

      A bit more convenient too. Just pick up and play, instead of turn on TV, find disc, wait for the console to boot ...
      Allowing a more "spur of a moment" gaming in contrast to the "let's sit down and play a game" "planned event" we
      • It allows you to play anywhere (eg. on the couch, laying in bed), you don't have to fight with the rest of the family for the living room TV, you won't distrub anyone sleeping if you play at night and you get privacy.

        Are you talking about dedicated handheld game systems, smartphones, or laptop computers?

        Just pick up and play, instead of turn on TV, find disc, wait for the console to boot

        With the DS, it's no different: find Game Card, turn on system, wait for health disclaimer.

        Allowing a more "spur of a moment" gaming in contrast to the "let's sit down and play a game" "planned event" we have with current home consoles.

        That's not a planned event. A planned event is a LAN party, in which the host makes sure before everybody comes over that they 1. own a separate copy of the game, 2. own a PC capable of running the game, and 3. "fight with the rest of the family for" permission to borrow the PC for the night. Multiplayer on portable is similar, exc

        • Are you talking about dedicated handheld game systems, smartphones, or laptop computers?

          Handhelds and smartphones.

          With the DS, it's no different: find Game Card, turn on system, wait for health disclaimer.

          Allowing a more "spur of a moment" gaming in contrast to the "let's sit down and play a game" "planned event" we have with current home consoles.

          That's not a planned event. A planned event is a LAN party, in which the host makes sure before everybody comes over that they 1. own a separate copy of the game, 2. own a PC capable of running the game, and 3. "fight with the rest of the family for" permission to borrow the PC for the night. Multiplayer on portable is similar, except #3 is far easier to come by. But with a home console or one of the (admittedly few) games that support HTPCs [pineight.com], you'd just put in the disc (only one, not one per player), plug in or pair your controllers, and go.

          Well it feels like a "planned event" to me personally. Maybe it's just me.

          I explained it in an earlier post (last 2 paragraphs):
          http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2381150&cid=37107792 [slashdot.org]

          Could have copied and pasted it here, but that kind of feels like spamming.

    • by Simulant (528590)
      Much of what you say is true, but.... A smartphone is enough for most of us adults who have to have one anyway. Though the games aren't the same (nor as good in many cases), my smartphone packs more than enough entertainment (web, books, video, audio) to keep me occupied. That said, I'd still love to have some Nintendo games on my phone... an official emulator would be cool. However, I get my real gaming fix on a PC and since I'll probably have a smart phone for the rest of my life, I'll probably neve
      • by tepples (727027)

        A smartphone is enough for most of us adults who have to have one anyway.

        True, but having to have a phone doesn't necessarily imply having to have a smartphone. A lot of people have a dumbphone because all they need to do is make the occasional urgent call, and pay-as-you-go dumbphone service through Virgin Mobile USA costs literally one-tenth of smartphone service through the major carriers.

        The casual adult portable gaming market is permanently lost to smartphones.

        I thought the App Store didn't allow "adult" games.

    • by tepples (727027)

      If you have an Android/Blackberry and you want an iOS game, you're SOL.

      If you have a PSP and you want a DS game, you're SOL.

      It could also be that something they REALLY want to make requires an analog stick or buttons, but that's less likely.

      I disagree with you.

      Another problem with the dedicated handhelds is their restrictions on who may develop for them. Nintendo has never been a fan of micro-ISVs; documents on warioworld.com indicate that a developer is banned from Nintendo platforms until he has had a chance to relocate, build a resume, and start a company. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that this involves building up tens of thousands of dollars on which to live while seekin

      • by edwdig (47888)

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that this involves building up tens of thousands of dollars on which to live while seeking a job; moving to Silicon Valley, greater Seattle, or some other area with multiple major video game developers; somehow landing a job with major video game developer; and working there for several years.

        No, it doesn't. There's no need to work for a major developer. The closest small developer near you is fine. If you're looking to make handheld games they'll probably be happy

        • by tepples (727027)

          The closest small developer near you is fine.

          Which web site do you recommend for searching for video game development jobs near (say) Fort Wayne, Indiana?

          There's tons of remote iPhone contract work available.

          Can one do iPhone contract work with just a Mac and an iPod touch?

          • by edwdig (47888)

            Which web site do you recommend for searching for video game development jobs near (say) Fort Wayne, Indiana?

            GameDevMap.com is a start - it shows 4 companies in Indiana, including one in Fort Wayne.

            Check the usual stuff. Craigslist has postings all the time. Check development boards for your platform of choice. Go to IGDA meetings or similar things and meet people there. Keep an updated LinkedIn profile, and subscribe to lots of relevant groups.

            Can one do iPhone contract work with just a Mac and an iPod tou

            • by tepples (727027)

              Go to IGDA meetings

              I thought of that until I realized there were no chapters [igda.org] in Indiana. I'd have to take a bus to Chicago or Detroit and rent a hotel room.

              Check development boards for your platform of choice.

              That's my problem: I don't yet have a mainstream platform of choice beyond native development (that is, Windows).

              Keep an updated LinkedIn profile, and subscribe to lots of relevant groups.

              So I don't need an invitation from an established member?

              Most of the time people say "iPhone" it's shorthand for "iOS devices".

              Except when it's an iPhone 4 and the product under development requires the larger RAM in the iPhone 4 and not the iPod touch 4.

              If you're doing a project for a company, they usually won't have a problem loaning you a device you don't have.

              I wasn't aware of that. I thought there were so many job seekers that candida

              • by edwdig (47888)

                I thought of that until I realized there were no chapters [igda.org] in Indiana. I'd have to take a bus to Chicago or Detroit and rent a hotel room.

                Look for similar stuff. Lots of areas have other regular groups / conventions / etc.

                That's my problem: I don't yet have a mainstream platform of choice beyond native development (that is, Windows).

                Then just pick one. iOS and Android are easy to get into and in demand, so they're probably the best choices now. Make a few small games or apps and get them on the ma

              • by edwdig (47888)

                So I don't need an invitation from an established member?

                Missed that one... no, you don't need invitations on LinkedIn - at least not that I've ever seen. To cut spam, a lot of groups require approval to join. I think that simply means that a group admin looks at your LinkedIn profile and approves you as long as what you say in your profile looks somewhat relevant to the group. For most groups you'll get approved within a day or two.

    • by sunfly (1248694)

      It appears you are of the demographic that would enjoy a Sony Vita. Congratulations. The point is that although there are millions like you, you are now the minority, as most people are content with a few $0.99 games on their smart phone to play while waiting for their wife to try on clothes at Kohls.

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      Maybe when 6 buttons and an analog stick are standard equipment for smart phones Nintendo might have something to be afraid of;

      Agreed. Until phones are released that are designed for playing games, gaming devices will be superior in their niche. Right now, gaming on phones is still like the talking dog; the impressive thing is that it talks at all, not on how well it does it.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      http://icontrolpad.com/ [icontrolpad.com]

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Thank you. Also, I'd love to know what the summary considers to be a "top-notch" game sold for a dollar. Really? I don't have an iPhone, but I do have an iPad, and most of the $1 games (hell, most of the sub $10 games) are absolute garbage, at least as far as I'm concerned. Novelty games, sure, but sorry, they don't really hold my interest.

      It's funny, Gabe of PA posits: you buy one $40 game and I'll buy 40 $1 dollar game, and we'll see who has more fun. To be honest, I'm the sort that tends to prefer q

  • The people who say that iPhones and tablets are going to kill handheld gaming systems are the same people saying that netbooks and laptops will replace the desktop computer. They're different systems with different intended audiences and are completely distinct in terms of user experience.

    Angry Birds is a fun game, but it has a time and a place. You cannot play games like Mega Man or Metroid with a touch screen and motion controls. If the Wii and DS have taught the gaming industry anything, it's that touch

    • If the Wii and DS have taught the gaming industry anything, it's that touch and motion controls are not a substitute for buttons.

      How so, given that the Wii outsold the competitor consoles and the DS outsold the competitor hand-helds?

      • by edwdig (47888)

        They sold a ton, but the DS also has a traditional button layout surrounding the screen. Plenty of games don't use the touch screen for anything other than menu navigation.

        Most Wii games aimed at traditional console gamers use buttons heavily.

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        If the Wii and DS have taught the gaming industry anything, it's that touch and motion controls are not a substitute for buttons.

        How so, given that the Wii outsold the competitor consoles and the DS outsold the competitor hand-helds?

        Perhaps because Nintendo was smart enough to include buttons and d-pads on both? They realized that motion/touch controls alone are not adequate for a general purpose gaming device.

        Hell, Microsoft's Kinect is massively advanced over touchscreen, and yet if the 360 ha
        • Perhaps because Nintendo was smart enough to include buttons and d-pads on both?

          But that doesn't "teach the gaming industry" anything. Other than Nintendo made the choice to include buttons.

          *IF* systems without buttons were bound to be a massive failure for games, then Apple wouldn't have such a successful mobile gaming platform. But they do.

    • by dingen (958134)

      The people who say that iPhones and tablets are going to kill handheld gaming systems are the same people saying that netbooks and laptops will replace the desktop computer. They're different systems with different intended audiences and are completely distinct in terms of user experience.

      It's not about "killing" anything, it is about where the money is. In that regard, the desktop PC is already long gone. Sales have been declining, laptops have been outselling desktops for years and profit margins are nearly non-existant. The desktop PC has become a products for some niches (office workers, gamers, some professionals), but the general public isn't too interested in desktops anymore. That doesn't mean the desktop is "dead" or you wont be able to get a desktop in the future or something, but

    • Re:No, they don't. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:15AM (#37104956) Journal

      Yes, I think this is basically right. As somebody who would describe himself as a gamer, I can honestly say I've got little to no interest in smartphone games. In fact, I haven't even bothered picking up a smartphone myself.

      Thing is, smartphone games can't hold my attention for more than a few minutes. My handhelds get most use when I'm travelling - on the plane or train to my destination, or while I'm away. When I'm at home, I have access to a gaming PC and all three current "big" consoles - so unless there's a really strong handheld exclusive title, I'm not going to bother with a little screen there. And for an 8 hour flight - or even a 2 hour train journey - the kind of games you get on smartphones just won't cut it - and nor will their woeful controls.

      There's a lot of doom and gloom around handhelds at the moment because the 3DS is failing (and if things haven't picked up by Christmas, then I think we can start saying "failed" in the past tense). As a 3DS owner who tried to give the machine a fair shake, I can tell you now that the main reasons for this are:

      - A lack of decent games to play now (despite the nostalgia-fuelled review scores, even Zelda hasn't stood up that well to the test of time) and a lack of interesting games in the pipeline.

      - Game prices which are, I would estimate, 30%-40% too high - for both boxed and downloadable games.

      - Dire battery life which is inadequate for any trip of over 3 hours or so.

      - A 3D effect which is impressive for a few minutes, but then headache-inducing and nigh-impossible to use on the move. Oh - and which results in big "not for children under 6" warnings all over the thing.

      - A sense that in technical terms, leaving aside 3D, the machine is actually lagging behind the 7 year old PSP.

      - Rubbish online functionality, with an eShop that is a usability nightmare.

      - Less significant than the other reasons, but still not trivial - region locking.

      However, all of the above are specific mistakes on the part of Nintendo - not elements that are essential components of the handheld gaming market. Moreover, in the 3DS's biggest region of failure - Japan - it's not smartphones its losing out to, but the PSP and even its own predecessor. It feels a bit odd and worrying because the habit in recent years has been for Nintendo handhelds to Just Not Flop (TM), but it's not unprecedented (Virtual Boy).

      Sony will avoid some of the mistakes above with the Vita, may or may not avoid others and could possibly add some mess-ups of its own - but we probably won't know until much closer to its launch. The launch games lineup is, at least, much stronger, which gets around one of the 3DS's biggest problems. I would say the main deciding factors for the Vita now (given that price and games lineup are known) will be the price of games and the battery life.

      • In fact, I haven't even bothered picking up a smartphone myself.

        Then,

        Thing is, smartphone games can't hold my attention for more than a few minutes.

        So, how would you actually know? There are other games than Angry Birds [youtube.com].

        • by RogueyWon (735973) *
          It's not actually impossible to have played smartphone games without owning a smartphone. Plenty of people around me desperate to show off their latest toy...
    • Currently on my touch device I have GT Racing, Civilization, Dead Space, Assassins Creed, GTA... To name a very small few. You are never going to convince anyone who has actually used games on a touch device that there are no good games.

  • xmas gifts depend on physical cartridges. as did the quality of your average gba game depend on gift giving.

    so with xperia play, you can play all gba games better than on a real gba.

    but, the library is still just a handful of good games.

    • xmas gifts depend on physical cartridges.

      How so? I've heard a lot of cousins ask for an iTunes gift card last Christmas; Nintendo Points cards are not much different. But why do people hold back generosity until a birthday anyway [pineight.com]?

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        that's _not_ the same thing.

        points cards are like giving money, only worse than money. in dilberts words it shows defective thought, but buying a license made piece of shit game(of whatever brand the kid in question thinks is cool) shows more, even if just as defective, thought - and is physical, you can wrap it up or possibly the kid can adore it at the game shop, or the kid can wander off in the supermarket to see them - on the web the games have to compete with free flash games which the kids are well aw

  • I am a Nintendo fanboy. I have a 3DS and an iPad. Right now I use the iPad more for my entertainment purposes. Like any nintendo fan you learn to wait for the good games because there are some great ones. Bu you need something to do while waiting. I tried playing games on the iPad but they are terrible. You would think some games like RTS or Sim City type games would be perfect for porting but with the price pressure they come out horrible. I mean advanced wars for the old Game boy is better than anything I

    • by windwalkr (883202)

      I found SimCity on the iPad to be pretty good actually. Not perfect- it could do with a few minor fixes- but well worth the money and one of the bigger time-wasters for me.

  • http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/08/01 [penny-arcade.com]

    Sums it up pretty nicely.

    • Fun is not an absolute concept quantifiable by value that adds up that way. Mario, Zelda and Metroid, as well as Metal Gear, God of War and Uncharted are fun in different ways among themselves and than Angry Birds. A significant amount of people is not gaming just for killing time and even if there cheap smart games that are fun, they sometimes they can't provide the same value as a $40 game.

  • It's not just about games. With the proliferation of smartphones, kindles, etc. It really comes down to what would I rather do with my idle time? Instead of paying for a 3DS or Vita, I can read a book; watch netflix (yes, I know you can do that on the 3DS, but thats not a differentiator); play a cheaper game; or surf the web (see netflix comment above). That's why smartphones are going to kill the 3DS and Vita - it is easier/cheaper to waste time on them.
  • more than likely the market is just cyclical.

    everyone has a phone so everyone bails on handhelds and plays crappy 20 minute games with either crappy directional controls or good touch ones. people clamor for better controls so (like the new sony phone) they make built in buttons and pads. then better graphics processors then games for those processors. suddenly we have games for only some users (not everyone will have the hardware) then people will want games with more depth than the 20 minute crappy games

  • The original DS is pretty much my favorite game system right now and I don't even want a 3DS. Not interested in 3D functionality, and there's still countless great games for the original DS I can get used copies cheaply. I do favor that style of game over the 99 cent style time-wasters (Angry Birds was free on android, and that fulfills that niche enough for me), but until there's quality games on the 3DS that match that of the original DS, I'll be waiting.

  • plenty of top-notch games can be downloaded in a minute for a dollar.

    Apparently their definition of 'top-notch' is much more lenient than mine. 99.9% of smartphone games are crap. And most of the remaining could be more accurately described as 'diversions' than 'games'.

    I have a bunch of games on my Ipad and Iphone, but none that I would want to play for more than 10 minutes at a time.

    In short, I would rather have 1 Dragon Quest game for $40 than 40 $1 games.

  • All these articles nowadays saying dedicated handheld gaming systems are threatened by smartphones need to stop. The justification that smartphones offer cheap and good-enough games is like saying no one would buy a an original Game Boy because buying a crossword puzzle book would be cheaper and good enough. As long as smartphones don't have physical buttons, they are at a serious disadvantage. I'd rather pay 40 bucks for Street Fighter 4 on 3ds than pay 1 dollar for it on an iPhone.

    • by Gravatron (716477)
      True, but the argument is more about casual gamers, who bought Ds's to play brain age style games, to play on the way to work/waiting for dinner to finish/etc. Nintendo heavily catered to that market the last few years, and it's the market that smartphone games basically took over.
      • Well Nintendo may have made a mistake then to focus so much on casuals. But casual gamers can't be dismissed too easy as still wanting dedicated portable game systems over smartphones, they will still want good gameplay that iPhones can't often provide for many game genres. Like Call of Duty I consider more of a casual game. Most people who for example bought CoD4 would play on hardcore mode (makes all weapons kill quickly for example), which removes much of the gameplay variations and cheapens the necessit

  • I've an iPod Touch 64gb and a lot of games on it but really they just aren't very good and I personally can't wait for the Vita. On top of that the Itunes games are a minefield of freemium and IAP's which I can't stand it's like being harassed by beggars. I've bought a lot of games on itunes probably close to 300 in all and yet there are only a handful I've put any real time into the rest are just space fillers.

    Battery life playing games on the Ipod is terrible and you are lucky to get an hour and a half o

  • The 3DS does not face competition against SmartPhones. It faces competition against the DS and DSi. And the only advantage it has is 3D, which nobody is going to pay $200 for if they already have everything else.
  • Smartphone controls = utter shit, because it's not the focus of a smartphone.
    Handheld console controls = 1000x better because that's the only point of the system.

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