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Communications Handhelds Games

Why Has No One Made a Great Gaming Phone? 303

andylim writes "According to Engadget, John Koller, Sony's head of PlayStation marketing, recently said that 'Apple's entrance into the portable gaming space has been a net positive for Sony. When people want a deeper, richer console, they start playing on a PSP.' What's odd though is that everyone knows that the mobile phone gaming market is a huge and yet neither Sony nor Nintendo has made a gaming phone yet. thinks that Nokia could enter the space with PSP-like devices and it has come up with a concept phone called the Ovi Orion, which would bridge the gap between phone and console, 'If the iPhone is Wii, then Ovi Orion would be Xbox and offer Xbox Live style features. A serious gaming phone for serious gamers.'"
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Why Has No One Made a Great Gaming Phone?

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  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brian0918 ( 638904 ) <> on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#30985650)
    Because phones are for TALKING. :P
  • They did (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbobborg ( 128330 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#30985662)

    There was a gaming phone a few years back. It flopped. No one revisited.

  • Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:59PM (#30985706)

    The kids who play the games can't afford the service plans or phones themselves...

    Most adults have other things to do, or more powerful systems at home to play "serious" games on.

  • meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by milkmage ( 795746 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:03PM (#30985806)

    serious gaming? on a mobile device? c'mon. games on a phone are at best, distractions or time killers (babysitters).

    the LAST thing I want to do is get heavy into a game and get a fucking call.

  • by cjeze ( 596987 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:04PM (#30985808)
    Great can be measured in many ways, you need to specify what way/how you want to measure great phone.

    I'm sure there are plenty iPhone users out there that believe they have an amazing gaming phone,

    heck, even I with my old Nokia and Tetris thought I had a great game phone.
  • Re:uh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:04PM (#30985820) Journal

    That was true 5 years ago, but lots has happened. Look at who is getting all the US localization of Cave shmups. The Xbox 360. Gaming doesn't get much more serious than a Cave shmup.

  • Because .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phoxix ( 161744 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:06PM (#30985856)

    You can buy a DS/PSP without a freaking multi-year ass-rape contract.

    Buying a gaming console should never be a long term financial decision.

  • Re:Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zero_out ( 1705074 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:07PM (#30985872)
    Except when you are sitting on the toilet for 5 minutes, and want to play a quick little game to help take your mind off the digusting biological processes going on around you. Sure, there are other options, but not for true gamers. We game every chance we get.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <> on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:12PM (#30985986) Homepage Journal
    Because I have a large wide screen TV attached to my consoles at home, multiple computers in my house running multiple OS'es, a DS, a PSP, an iPod Touch, and yes a MAME cabinet. I don't need my phone to play any games. I barely use my iPod Touch to play games, and that seems crazy to some people. Maybe because I'm a 'serious' gamer (as named by various media and/or gaming companies) as opposed to all this talk of 'casual' gaming. If you want real gaming, toss your DS or whatever in your car, or grab a backpack/messenger bag/stylish-bag-of-your-choice and pop it in. I carry my Blackberry and iPod around without problem.

    Clearly I need more caffeine or something. And get off my lawn. Damn, when did I get old?
  • by Anarki2004 ( 1652007 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:12PM (#30985996) Homepage Journal

    Why couldn't i use my PSP as a phone?

    Actually, the PSP does support voIP via Skype; at least it used to - I had the second gen PSP. I'm not sure what the newer models support.

  • Re:Because (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:17PM (#30986058) Journal

    And browsing is especially good to have on phones. No, I wouldn't use it for basic surfing because it's nowhere as nice as computer, but it has been really helpful in many situations where I wasn't at home or workplace. Or the rare case where I had to look up my ISP's adsl modem settings from the internet as I reset the settings and forgot to do it beforehand.

    This is why iPhone "one-size-fits-all" is kind of bad too. Sure it's generally good for everyone, but you don't have the choice to choose like with other manufacturers. Nokia, HTC and others have many models to choose from exactly the one that suits you best.

    The usual "phone is just for calling and texting" rant is stupid. People have different needs.

  • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:20PM (#30986102) Homepage

    I use my phone for texting, web, facebook, twitter, maps/navigation, ssh, games, exercise/nutrition tracking, barcode scanning, comparison shopping and whatever else takes my fancy. I make an actual voice call maybe once a week, so it's one of the least important features for me (although it does have to work of course).

    People are different and have different needs. Although to be honest there's very little chance I'd buy some kind of specialised gaming phone.

  • Lifespan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:23PM (#30986170) Homepage Journal

    ... because the lifespan of a cell phone has been around 2 years so far and no developers wants to invest in building apps for a platform that people throw in the trash every time they switch carriers...

  • by mykhailjw ( 910121 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:29PM (#30986270)
    Just what we all need, one more thing for people to do while behind the wheel of a vehicle besides actually driving.
  • Re:Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaBear ( 9872 ) * on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:33PM (#30986356)

    Agreed. And where people tend to upgrade their phones more or less as often as they change underwear, a portable gaming console will have to last longer simply because of the investment in software people make. Just look at the media cost on the PSP to see why that is.
    Besides, the high powered CPU and GPU needed for decent gaming would slurp a phone battery dry too fast, phones these days are expected to last at least a few days between recharging.

  • Re:Not necessary. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:36PM (#30986390) Homepage Journal

    Agreed. Many times, graphics isn't about how advanced your engine is, but how creative you are with it. Still, probably my favorite graphics of all time are Okami, a fairly mid-budget PS2 game that blows away the graphics of most 360 and PS3 titles I see. The creators decided to go in an incredibly artistic direction with their graphics, but did them in sutch a way that they didn't require a lot of horsepower. In fact, the shots of the DS sequel (yes, that's right, DS), is remarkably similar, and the DS is one of the most underpowered devices out there. It's not how advanced your graphical power is, it's what you do with it.

    Golden Sun is a dream too.

  • Keep the cheap phones for making phone calls and the game computers for playing games.

    One device for browsing the web, one for playing music, one for watching video, one for playing games, and one for making calls. Now your pockets are bulging, even if they are all tethered over Bluetooth. The only big benefit I can see of having several pocket-size devices is that the cheaper phones don't require a data plan, which means cheaper service if you don't make a lot of calls.

  • by gninnor ( 792931 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:39PM (#30986458)

    We knew that were in a bad reception area when my wife bought her phone and so we asked which ones were known for better signal reception. She decided on the cute one instead. Fashion beat out function.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:42PM (#30986516) Homepage Journal

    Different way to look at it: why do people want 50" plasma TV sets? Because they don't want to squint at a 7" or a 13" TV. I find watching a movie on the iPhone is equally disappointing. I can see the idea, I can understand the plot, I can hear the dialog, but I cannot get the experience.

    So who wants to "game" on an iPhone? I'd never want to play Bioshock or Portal on the tiny screen. Bioshock would be exactly this scary: *boo*. Portal would be exactly this humorous: *ha ha*.

    Different kinds of games such as solitare, sudoku, that kind of puzzle stuff, they're all great on the iPhone, because it's a different type of gaming. In real life nobody buys Scrabble HD Edition, or Wide Screen Edition Triominos. They're not needed. This is just the same thing in reverse.

  • Re:Because (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:51PM (#30986660)

    Not to sound like a fanboy here... But the iPhone even my old one. Is rather decent at gaming. I am not sure what people are expecting for a full gaming phone. It does 3d Display and some 3d games and there are some fun games for it. I myself tend to limit myself to free games for a few minutes a diversion before I go back to work. Even comparing to a PSP and a DS the iPhone can stand up rather well.

  • by grahamtriggs ( 572707 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @04:52PM (#30986674)

    Pockets full of devices? I can't see why. Two devices would be perfectly reasonable - one for things that demand connectivity (talk, text, net), and one for the other stuff (games, videos, music). Even if the 'other stuff' has occasional connectivity capabilities to download new music, etc.

    When people say phones are for talking, it's not a frivolous argument - they need to be available for talking. Which has two implications:

    1) What should happen when you have an incoming call? Do you lose your position in game, etc?

    2) The battery needs to stand up to the demands.

    As it is, 3G devices struggle to get through a day. It's not going to help matters by gaming on them for an hour or two - pushing the cpu, graphics, display to the limit. If your games console runs out of juice, it's generally less of an issue than if you suddenly can't make or receive calls.

  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @05:17PM (#30987126) Homepage Journal

    Xbox is FAR more profitable then Wii overall. Wii owners attach rate is horrible, not to mention the Live Marketplacestore does alot more volume. Wii is popular and made a slight profit on every unit sold, but they arent generating the long tail cash like the LIVE is.

    So you're saying that Microsoft has been lying in its quarterly and annual reports to the SEC that show that unit losing millions of dollars since inception?

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @05:44PM (#30987560)

    [...] A two-handed interface works best when the hands are relatively fare apart, meaning a set of controls on each end of a "stick" device, implying a horizontal interface. A one-handed device, or any device with a screen in general, is meant to be used vertically, so the screen is as far from the hands as possible, for maximum visibility.

    Touch-screen interfaces are sub-optimal two, since you end up obscruring the display by using it.

    Are you sure you didn't mean to post this in another current Slashdot discussion []?

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday February 01, 2010 @05:56PM (#30987746)

    But I know what you mean.

    Don’t worry. Soon mobile phones and handheld consoles will merge (e.g. PSP + N900 style), just like cameras, GPS navigation, music player, USB stick, etc, etc, etc.
    I give it 5 years, tops, until they become good.

    Remember that Nokia already did make the N-Gage. Which was not great, but a start. (The start is never great. Just as the first iPhone was a true p.o.s. in everything except the cool multi-touch UI.) The point is that it has (already) started, and needs a bit of time to mature, finds its customers, etc.

  • by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @06:34PM (#30988244) Homepage Journal

    This is why Sony nor Nintendo should be looking to create a gaming phone, they should be looking to create PSP/DS with phone capabilities. Otherwise it's just going to fail.

    Actually, I really don't think so. The time will come where what you say is correct, but I believe now is not the time. Here's why.

    Basically, both phones and portable game systems are, in terms of their hardware and software, and the expectations of the users, continually evolving. However, I think phones are still evolving faster than game systems. New telephony technologies continue to be rolled out, network coverage in the US is still inconsistent between carriers and spotty in some places, and the iPhone, which is the item by which most people have set their standards and expectations for a high-end phone, is at present just a few years old - and has already gone through a couple revisions. Compare this to Nintendo DS and Sony PSP: DS has gone through two major hardware revisions in five years, and only the most recent of those changed the hardware specs significantly. The situation for the PSP is similar: roughly the same amount of time, and a similar amount of change to the platform over time.

    I think that combining a phone with a gaming device at this time would probably still be a bad idea. Turning a phone into a game platform involves more than adding game controls to it - it means turning it into a platform stable enough that players and game publishers will be willing to invest themselves in it. Game platforms stay the same for years so that publishers can make money on software. Phones, at present anyway, are still caught up in a mad rush to one-up one another. A game machine with phone capabilities could be good now, but a couple years down the road its capabilities as a phone would practically be a joke. This doesn't preclude establishing a stable game system as a subset of a particular phone line's capabilities - but then the "game platform" games would be inferior to the "phone native" games or something like that...

  • Re:Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dewin ( 989206 ) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:38PM (#30989208)

    Nokia would have a reasonable chance as they did a lot of development recently and could easily put together a gaming platform (hard and software). They have another problem though: they don't have much reputation in the gaming community (as they would be pretty much newcomers) and they don't have the games.

    Nokia has plenty [] of reputation in the gaming community. It's just a reputation they'd rather not have.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.