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Traditional handhelds in permanent decline says Rob Fahey from Gamesindustry.biz

cyberheater

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Mar 10, 2005
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I've got two nDS's and a iPhone. I do all my portable gaming on my iPhone now. If I want a game. I just bring up the AppStore, a couple of clicks later and I'm playing a new game that's fun and didn't cost me £30.

They have a choice. Copy the Apple model or die. I won't shed a tear for the demise of Nintendo handheld gaming.
 
Jun 9, 2011
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Considering I thought the original Gameboy was the stupidest, ugliest thing I'd ever seen when it was first released and how Tetris alone sold like 900 trillion of the things, I'm pretty confident companies will continue to make anything that will sell, and people will spend money on anything if it plays what they want to play.

What we have right now is an enormous growth of the casual market and its correlation to Apple's ability to survive almost exclusively by milking savvy artists and technologically challenged middle to upper class folks who believe commercials that lie to them and tell them they are special and unique if they buy what everyone else does.

You could possibly argue that the casual market wouldn't be growing at all if people didn't end up getting access to games when they buy almost any new phone.

This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the dedicated portable console market, which has been and always will be a specific niche. The only real thing the two share is that they compete for some of the same people's limited money.
 

Cheech

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Aug 14, 2007
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GJS said:
Yeah okay, it wouldn't be selling any better than it is now, it would probably sell worse because it is then competing even more so with all of the other smart phones out there.

If Nintendo brought out a android phone it would have to be near top range at the time of launch to stand a chance so you are looking at £500 for a sim free phone or a subsidised price plus a £20-40 a month contract. That isn't going to attract that many people in, especially not the people who already have smart phones on a contract.

Nintendo launched a $250 handheld that really only plays games. I am not sure what market they thought they were competing in, but they certainly would have been more profitable with a smartphone.
 
May 14, 2011
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theBishop said:
Everyone including Apple:


And as Android-powered tablets really ramp up, Apple will face stiff competition not only from smartphone manufacturers, but also laptop vendors like ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, etc.

A bit misleading considering:

1. Loose definition of 'smartphone' -- seen this chart elsewhere.
2. Apple is playing with a smartphone at the end of its lifecycle.
 
Jul 15, 2004
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That is one of the worst Penny Arcade strips I've ever seen, I trust the accompanying post was better? It doesn't even begin to acknowledge the complexities of the apples and oranges comparison... Gabe will have short, shallow fun flitting from one budget app to the next, Tycho will have fun on his premium, fully budgeted gaming-software-that-actually-has-good-production-values-and-superior-controls. People who make room for both are the ones who have the "most 'fun'"

[Nintex], when exactly did you get so hyper cynical about Nintendo? I've only noticed it in the last few threads, but you've got a real hate-on for them at the moment (specifically the management). Did you import a 3DS for $400 or something? Not saying you're not raising valid points, but they've always been slow to adapt - they don't invest money doing something until its blindly obvious that they really should... I'd say that they still make great games and systems though personally.

I honestly look forward to looking back at this argument in a year or twos time. So many people buying into the smartphone-as-gaming-device hype, it's unreal. I'm a huge Google / Android fan, but there's no way I'm going to do my core gaming on one of these things.
 

jonnybryce

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Sep 26, 2007
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I'm all for it. I've experienced some awesome stuff on iOS from Groove Coaster to Sega All Stars Racing and I like having a gaming machine that's always connected in my pocket. Maybe Vita will blow me away and change my mind but I'm really feeling like this is the way to go.

rpmurphy said:
And what about the Xperia Play? Wasn't that supposed to be the smartphone gaming device that was going to spark interest in high quality games with a proper gamepad? How is it selling compared to other big smartphones?

The problem with Xperia Play is that it played out exactly how everyone expected it to: like a half-assed mess. The exclusive games for it are games by Gameloft that come out on iOS less than a month later and Sony isn't really doing anything to keep it interesting with Playstation titles or PS1 classics. It's just there and it can play some games. It's not an aggressive push which is a shame.
 

theBishop

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Nov 26, 2006
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DaBuddaDa said:
There is definitely a sizable market for dedicated handhelds, but the market that made the DS so large has definitely flown the coop and ain't coming back. This is why I think the Vita might actually be a solid success. It targets and might capture the market remaining in the dedicated portable space better than the 3DS.

Vita has potential to be a kind of "haven" for developers who want to put out handheld games, but don't want to sell them for $0.99. It's coming out in a nice window as the current consoles are starting to look passe, and the new consoles are still a few years off.

I also think it's a good platform for teams like Epic who maybe have some ideas for touch/tilt controls but don't want to build a whole new toolchain based on low-spec hardware.

It will be crucial for Sony to maintain really strong 3rd party relationships and make the publishing/certifications terms very friendly.
 

ampere

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Mar 30, 2007
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MightyKAC said:
Wow, this is the second time I've it's been appropriate to post the latest Penny Arcade strip today.

http://art.penny-arcade.com/photos/i-GgW57X4/0/L/i-GgW57X4-L.jpg[IMG][/QUOTE]
That's a pretty clever one. $40 is a big gamble if you aren't sure if you'll enjoy a game, $1 isn't much of a gamble.
 

1-D_FTW

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Jun 14, 2006
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Duxxy3 said:
Fuck apple. Fuck them up their closed system asses.


What? Nintendo and Sony are a heck off a lot more "closed" than Apple. That's the worst argument you could make on this.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
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I see this as good in that it will force vicious competition for game content and quality. Can you f**king imagine what Pokemon 3DS is going to be like for instance, in order to make absolutely goddamn sure it's a system seller?

I believe we're also riding out the tablet fad until it passes and tablet devices reach their natural level (whatever that is). Reminds me of a conversation with someone yesterday: netbooks were on an insane rise right before iPad hit, but contrary to what technorati would headline everybody does not now just want a tablet. There are a lot of people who still want and need a device like a netbook instead. After the initial fury over tablets subsides, we should see the landscape even out.

Funny thought though - what if the Vita ends up being a positive thing in that, it will be the device of choice for people who do want a "contemporary" console experience on a handheld? If you want to play games as on the 360 or PS3 you're not going to be happy with an iPad. Hell, if you want to lay alot of games as you do on PC, a tablet won't do. Platforms such as the Vita might keep the notion of a dedicated portable gaming hardware on the table.
 

SmokyDave

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radioheadrule83 said:
I honestly look forward to looking back at this argument in a year or twos time. So many people buying into the smartphone-as-gaming-device hype, it's unreal. I'm a huge Google / Android fan, but there's no way I'm going to do my core gaming on one of these things.
I doubt many are. Handhelds are usually supplemented by PC or consoles for the 'core gaming', as you put it.
 

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
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Whats interesting to me about the "handheld games aren't worth $40" argument is that last generation the DS had probably the most varied pricing scheme (outside of PC) Legitimate, non-shovelware games launched at everywhere from $20 to $45. Will the 3DS do the same thing? There is room for games that cost $20-30 as well as those that cost 99 cents and those that cost $40
 

ymmv

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Mar 17, 2007
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ciaossu said:
That's a pretty clever one. $40 is a big gamble if you aren't sure if you'll enjoy a game, $1 isn't much of a gamble.

If you're content with a games library that mostly consists of bitesized mini games.
 

Cheech

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Aug 14, 2007
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I am blown away that so many of you think Vita is going to save handheld gaming, or be any kind of success whatsoever.

PSP Go was an even bigger failure than 3DS. How is Sony going to differentiate Vita enough? That is a huge hurdle. And no, "teh Uncharted graphics!" is not going to be enough.
 

[Nintex]

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radioheadrule83 said:
[Nintex], when exactly did you get so hyper cynical about Nintendo? I've only noticed it in the last few threads, but you've got a real hate-on for them at the moment (specifically the management). Did you import a 3DS for $400 or something? Not saying you're not raising valid points, but they've always been slow to adapt - they don't invest money doing something until its blindly obvious that they really should... I'd say that they still make great games and systems though personally.
Because there's no way to spin this, they messed up and they didn't see it coming. Nintendo fans think in a vacuum just like Nintendo. Like: "They will drop the price and release new software it'll all get better now!" kinda like how Sony fans say the PS3's incredible first party line-up will triumph over the Xbox 360 every other year or the pricedrop is finally going to work. It isn't, there's competitors out there, Nintendo dropped the ball and Apple and Sony are going to do everything to keep them from picking it back up, especially Sony.

So yeah I give credit where credit is due and I still have a lot of confidence in them as far as the Wii U is concerned and I've played a bunch of their upcoming games like Mario Kart 7, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda and they are a blast but I simply can't ignore the fact that they've set course to hit an iceberg.
 

1-D_FTW

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Jun 14, 2006
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ymmv said:
If you're content with a games library that mostly consists of bitesized mini games.

Which many would argue are what portable games should be. Want a console experience, play it on the console/PC.
 

Cheech

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1-D_FTW said:
Which many would argue are what portable games should be. Want a console experience, play it on the console/PC.

Exactly. The idea that handheld games have to be these epic, full blown gaming experiences is a fallacy. The best selling DS games are no more complicated than your average iOS or Android title.
 

rpmurphy

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Dec 6, 2008
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Cheech said:
Exactly. The idea that handheld games have to be these epic, full blown gaming experiences is a fallacy. The best selling DS games are no more complicated than your average iOS or Android title.
What games did you buy on DS this past generation that you would come to this conclusion?
 

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
Jun 18, 2009
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Cheech said:
Exactly. The idea that handheld games have to be these epic, full blown gaming experiences is a fallacy. The best selling DS games are no more complicated than your average iOS or Android title.
...right. I should totally have paid 99 cents for games like SMT: Devil Survivor, Elite Beat Agents, The World Ends With You, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Henry Hatsworth, Pokemon Black...
 
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1-D_FTW said:
Which many would argue are what portable games should be. Want a console experience, play it on the console/PC.
And if that 'experience' isn't available on console/PC? Japanese development largely shifted towards handhelds this past gen, mainly because development costs were too high on consoles - what's wrong with a dedicated handheld that can support small development budgets while offering 'console' style experiences?
 

Gamecocks625

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While I think the dedicated handheld scene is certainly on a downward path...I have to say the hardware design and software situation are most troubling for Nintendo. The 3DS lacks the hardware polish of the DS Lite...at the time. Also, once Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart...heck..hopefully a Mario Golf, etc. come out...we'll probably have a better idea as to the climate and whether or not it's "terminal" or not.

Vita might draw the interest of the hardcore initially, but it won't get hardly any sales of casual game fans. Apple has them locked up.
 

Hari Seldon

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I'm not a handheld gamer but as a PC Gamer I sympathize with my hendheld gaming brothers. Don't worry, these idiots don't know what they are talking about. They just spout off their mouth whenever some new trend comes along and don't truly understand it. The reason why the 3DS faltered was Business 101: Marketing. That part of the article was correct. There is still a market for people who don't want dumpy throwaway iOS games.
 

ampere

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Mar 30, 2007
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ymmv said:
If you're content with a games library that mostly consists of bitesized mini games.
Well for people like my 15 year old brother, that's about what his attention span desires.

I just bought Pokemon White and Chrono Trigger for DS and I'll enjoy that time spent, but plenty of people would rather 'Cut the Rope' or 'Anger Birds'

BlazingDarkness said:
And if that 'experience' isn't available on console/PC? Japanese development largely shifted towards handhelds this past gen, mainly because development costs were too high on consoles - what's wrong with a dedicated handheld that can support small development budgets while offering 'console' style experiences?
Small development budgets? I think the 3DS and Vita are going to have pretty high development budgets for their big titles
 
Jul 15, 2004
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[Nintex] said:
Because there's no way to spin this, they messed up and they didn't see it coming. Nintendo fans think in a vacuum just like Nintendo. Like: "They will drop the price and release new software it'll all get better now!" kinda like how Sony fans say the PS3's incredible first party line-up will triumph over the Xbox 360 every other year or the pricedrop is finally going to work. It isn't, there's competitors out there, Nintendo dropped the ball and Apple and Sony are going to do everything to keep them from picking it back up, especially Sony.

I think they were on course to hit an iceberg as you put it, but I do think they've shown willingness to course correct. I don't buy into the notion that IOS is eating into their hardware sales, I just see no evidence for it -- as I and other posters have stated, they moved 100k shy of half a million handhelds in the US alone last month: the 3DS' biggest competitor is the DS. Regarding the threat from Sony, it *is* a threat, and I think they've got a fight on their hands this time -- however, Vita is still 4/5 months away, maybe more if one territory gets the bump... they were absolutely right to cut the price now, without imminent software its the best hope of generating some momentum. Whether the price cut and the christmas releases will work, I agree, remains to be seen... but I do think they've tried to course correct and hopefully they have experienced first hand the folly of hubris. I'm a 3DS owner, and I like the thing, but I'm actually kind of glad the launch has faltered. The system is back at a sensible price for everyone else, and all of this will factor into their thinking for Wii-U.
 

SmokyDave

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Hari Seldon said:
There is still a market for people who don't want dumpy throwaway iOS games.
Yeah, they can go and play Imagine Babyz instead.

Seriously, this idea that all iOS games are shit and disposable is about as accurate as the perception that Nintendo only make games for children.
 

Cheech

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The_Technomancer said:
...right. I should totally have paid 99 cents for games like SMT: Devil Survivor, Elite Beat Agents, The World Ends With You, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Henry Hatsworth, Pokemon Black...

None of those games sold worth a shit except for Pokemon.

Those junk Dora the Explorer games sell. So does Mario Kart. Both of which have tons of iOS clones.
 

realraptor

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Jun 24, 2007
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SmokyDave said:
Yeah, they can go and play Imagine Babyz instead.

Seriously, this idea that all iOS games are shit and disposable is about as accurate as the perception that Nintendo only make games for children.

Nintendo targets all ages most of the time.
 

Fuu

Formerly Alaluef (not Aladuf)
Nov 22, 2007
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I used to be on the "against-side" regarding cellphone gaming until I got an htc dhd (cognitive dissonance at its best). I still have games I'll play on my ds and psp but I don't really take them out of the house anymore. My phone is always with me and it allows me to do a variety of things, including playing games, whenever I'm outside.

I'm ok with the rise of smartphone gaming, there are a lot of gems out there already and more to come. I don't know if it will kill traditional handhelds or not, but it definitely got me less inclined to buy a Vita or a 3DS. I already have a device that receives a constant stream of new gaming content to play on the go so I'm completely comfortable with waiting for the new handhelds to reach their prime concerning hardware revisions and game library before I consider taking the plunge.
 
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Thats the crux now innit.

If you want the bit-zised games while waiting on the buss. There is no point in owning ds, psp, vita or 3ds if you want that. A phone does that 100 times better. Its smaller, you always carry it with you and the games are cheap.

And that is the cool thing with vita. It goes in the opposite direction. Its not really that portable. Its actually the first portable console. It can unlike iphones offer the complete console experience in your hand. It has a great big screen, dual analogue sticks and uncompromising hardware.
 

VanMardigan

has calmed down a bit.
Oct 11, 2005
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There are some fantastic phone games available, and that's definitely the future, but traditional games just don't work well with touch controls. The Xperia Play is an interesting proposition, but it was too underpowered for an Android phone to consider seriously. Maybe when its cheap on Ebay.
 

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
Jun 18, 2009
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Cheech said:
None of those games sold worth a shit except for Pokemon.
Whats your point? Indications are that if you're game isn't a breakout hit on iOS then your numbers tend to be in the thousands
 

Jokeropia

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May 15, 2006
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Cheech said:
Those junk Dora the Explorer games sell. So does Mario Kart. Both of which have tons of iOS clones.
99¢ clones are not substitutes for Mario Kart or NSMB.
 

Prine

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
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i agree. Smartphones centralize everything, avid gamers may complain about reduced sophistication of games, but the tradeoff for mainstream gamers is worth it. Nobody wants to carry around multiple devices, fact is smartphones are competent games machines, which for most is good enough.

Phones are not luxury items, they're necessary devices, as soon as they began to match portables in terms of gaming experience, handheld days were numbered.
 

MightyKAC

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May 4, 2008
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jmdajr said:
I guess Vita needs to be big in Japan...

things don't look good here

Unless Japan sinks into the ocean between now and the Vita's launch I think it will do just fine.
 
It would be interesting to do this for other regions as well, but since it's the one I've got most at hand, I'm using Famitsu's Japanese numbers. Since January 2000 I'm combining the Game Boys, DSes, and PSPs to get a number for portables in total. Here's how it works out weekly:

And since that obviously has a lot of yearly ups and downs, here's a variant that adds a week with the previous 51, for a rolling yearly total. Due to that, the beginning of this image is January 2001:

The 6 million number things have been hovering around lately is about where things were in mid-2005, shortly before DS exploded.

Source data
 

kinggroin

Banned
Sep 4, 2006
14,204
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theBishop said:
Everyone including Apple:


Top 2 Android handset manufacturers Samsung and HTC exceed Apple's smartphone marketshare when taken together. Factor in SonyEricsson, Motorola, and the increasingly hungry LG, and Apple has significant reason to worry.

And as Android-powered tablets really ramp up, Apple will face stiff competition not only from smartphone manufacturers, but also laptop vendors like ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, etc.

It's 1995 all over again, and Google is Microsoft.

That's a pretty gross misrepresentation of the current mobile situation. While marketshare does matter to an extent (gives you more headroom to increase profits), it's theblast part that matters the most. Apple is murdering the competition when it comes to net $.
 

madara

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Jun 8, 2004
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here's a lot of high quality entertainment to be had for much lower prices Stop reading right there, that to me is just person does not get games, real epic games.
 

M3d10n

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Aug 28, 2006
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Cheech said:
Exactly. The idea that handheld games have to be these epic, full blown gaming experiences is a fallacy. The best selling DS games are no more complicated than your average iOS or Android title.
I own zero current gen consoles because handhelds suit my lifestyle far better. You're telling me if I want to continue enjoying the games I do on the DS and PSP, I should regress into gaming only on the few times I actually have access to the same TV and couch or give up them for games that can fit on a $1~$5 budget or are full of ads or which actually cost $100+ in form of micropayments and bite my tongue "because I didn't pay much for it anyway"?
 

Riposte

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I feel like this thread is made every week(what the guy is saying has been said over thousand times), but the resolution of this is still so far off. Vita hasn't even dropped and 3DS (with price drop) hasn't reached christmas. Even after that, I think 2-3 years later will give a much better position to make a judgment on the next generation.
 

gwarm01

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Apr 5, 2006
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radioheadrule83 said:
I'm going to repost my exact response to this as it was in the other thread:



Good god. Let me nail my colours to the mast here and throw caution to the wind: he's fucking wrong.

How people are coming to such grandoise conclusions is completely beyond me. This, based off of 4 months of sales of a mis-marketed, overpriced handheld launch. Its premature to the EXTREME.

I don't think I know a single person who games heavily who would do their bulk of handheld gaming on an IOS or Android device. I don't know all that many people actually who are glued to Angry Birds or even the likes of Farmville...

Over 200 million dedicated handheld devices were sold in the last generation (DS/PSP) - and that number is STILL rising. Going by those numbers, if the dedicated handheld market is dying, so is the home console market! It's just absolute nonsense to assume that these devices are going away. It's like the people who come to these conclusions have never actually tried to play a traditional game using the shitty touchscreen controls that smartphones and tablets provide. There are reasons people haven't leapt all over the 3DS so far, and why they might hold off on Vita too, but to suggest such a strong correlation to the rise of smartphones is pure supposition. The very worst cases of that supposition often whiff of putrescent iGadget fanboyism.

I fucking GUARANTEE that when there are great games on both platforms, they will both sell very well. Tens of millions, maybe over a hundred million (each!) by their end.

You, sir, are wise. The market for these devices exists and will it continue to exist for a very long time. Grandma might not buy a 3DS to play Brain Age 3D like she would have for the original, but there are still millions of people who will buy these systems and buy many games for them.

I wish more people would stop parroting what they hear or read online and think for themselves every once in a while. Pachter makes some insane prediction and everyone laughs, but if some random tech site says iOS will sink Nintendo EVERYONE agrees.
 

Famassu

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Sep 11, 2010
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Prine said:
Phones are not luxury items, they're necessary devices, as soon as they began to match portables in terms of gaming experience, handheld days were numbered.
How have smartphones matched portables? A majority of the games are shit, a lot of them are dirtpoor copies of popular games and the small minority is any good compared to portable games.
 

AbsoluteZero

Banned
Oct 20, 2010
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cyberheater said:
I've got two nDS's and a iPhone. I do all my portable gaming on my iPhone now. If I want a game. I just bring up the AppStore, a couple of clicks later and I'm playing a new game that's fun and didn't cost me £30.

They have a choice. Copy the Apple model or die. I won't shed a tear for the demise of Nintendo handheld gaming.

I'm glad you're having fun with Angry Birds and Cut the Rope but there's a group of people out here that want a meatier experience in their games.

It's like saying "I love steak, but all I do is visit McDonalds now. $1 and five minutes later I've got a hot McDouble in my hands."
 
D

Deleted member 17706

Unconfirmed Member
There will always be a decently sized market for people who like to play games with buttons on the go.
 

GJS

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Cheech said:
Nintendo launched a $250 handheld that really only plays games. I am not sure what market they thought they were competing in, but they certainly would have been more profitable with a smartphone.
Would it really?

A company like HTC shipped something like 20million smart phones in 2010 but that is across multiple different models, you are only looking at about 4million across a whole year for a single handset model such as the HTC Desire.

Nintendo has sold that many 3DS worldwide in 4 months at it's profitable price but obviously that wasn't enough sales to offset their other expenditures.

With a company such as HTC looking to ship 60million handsets in 2011 across multiple models, where would Nintendo fit into that? I do not think Nintendo would have been able to sell a smart phone and it would have been just as much if not more of a risk then the 3DS and Nintendo would still be in exactly the same situation they are in now.
 
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I'd wait to see how things play out over the next 3 years before I'd decide.

The 3DS is in a decline because it was insanely overpriced and didn't have any killer apps. The PSP has been dead for years and I'd like to see if Sony can prove me wrong by having its successor...well...exceed its predecessors performance.

BlazingDarkness said:
Yep

For as long as there are people like me who want something more than $1 efforts there will always be a market for traditional handhelds, big or small.

iOS can suck my titties

AbsoluteZero said:
I say this with no Hyperbole: If the portable games market one day ends up being only iOS, you can bet your ass that I'll be a permanent retro handheld gamer.

You two do realize that once (if) that happens then all of the $40 games will be on iOS and Android then right?

Like the transition to arcade games to consoles.
 

rpmurphy

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Famassu said:
How have smartphones matched portables? A majority of the games are shit, a lot of them are dirtpoor copies of popular games and the small minority is any good compared to portable games.
And Android has yet to even come remotely close to the quality of iOS gaming.
 

SmokyDave

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AbsoluteZero said:
I'm glad you're having fun with Angry Birds and Cut the Rope but there's a group of people out here that want a meatier experience in their games.

It's like saying "I love steak, but all I do is visit McDonalds now. $1 and five minutes later I've got a hot McDouble in my hands."
If I want steak, I'll fire up the PC.

This argument is Double Quarter Pounder vs a Whopper. Steak doesn't come into it.