Handhelds Popularity Coming To an End?

Handheld gaming has been an amazing juggernaut among over the past 10 years. Up until now there has never been a reason to think that trend would slow down. To be honest at this point in Handheld gaming it really feels a bit weird to even call it a trend. With the recent burst of popularity with smart phones and tablets, do Handhelds still have a place among gaming?

When I think back over the past 10 years, when I think of a handheld, I think of a DS or a DSlite, and so on. So, when the 3DS came out, I never thought that it would not be as popular among the masses. The PsP on the other hand proves that if something isn’t hot right off the release it can gather steam, but is this a time to have to gather steam? Now we have the Sony Vita coming down the pipe and you have to wonder if it may be doomed before it’s ever released? With the sudden and abrupt price drop on the 3DS all these questions and more come into play. Now, normally I would say that a price drop may not be a bad thing, but the price dropping almost $100 bucks in a few short months seems out of place. Now, there could be several reasons as to why this happened of course, but the two reasons circulating around in my head are pretty simple. The first would be that this is just further proof that 3D is indeed a passing trend. That would be my hope, but unfortunately I think it’s something else completely.

Tablets and smart phones are a functioning game device as well as something you can run most of your life on. Multi-purpose devices are taking over everyone’s attention. The 3DS is an amazing example of how far handhelds have came, but int he same thought some of that same innovation is being used to boost the popularity tablets and phones making them superior in almost every way. Why buy something like Street Fighter 4 for $29.99 when you can buy it somewhere else for $9.99 and get similar if not exact same gameplay and enjoyment? Also when I think of comparing the two devices for some reason the 3DS seems aged. By no means am I saying that the 3DS is a failure. I’m simply saying that this could very well be the start of a increasing down slide for handheld systems. When you talk about the games themselves, you think of what games are popular. It seems that puzzle and RPG games are taking over handhelds when at the same time every genre of game seems to be accepted on tablets and mobile devices. Now you ask how does the Vita fit in to tall of this?

I think it’s pretty simple. If no one wanted to pay $250 for a 3DS why would anyone want to pay $250 for a Vita. Yes, it is more functional than a 3DS and you can even buy a 3G model. Really though, as cool as it is I can bet that bunches of people want to get a Vita will wait for a price drop to buy one. Plus, wouldn’t it be weird to have an extra $300 and buy a Vita instead of a Ps3. Because due to the recent price drop in the Ps3, now when the Vita launches it’ll cost more than a Ps3. Seems like Sony is cutting their nose off to spite their face. I’m not saying the Vita will fail. It’s really another great innovation in the handheld market, but once again it seems things will be rather grim for the Vita at launch.

I like handheld gaming. I think that gaming would be rather dark without the fun and different gameplay that each system brings to the market. I do however think that due to lots of reasons, even more than I have talked about that the handheld market is in decline.


Author: Eric Baumgardner View all posts by
I operate this site. I also have been gaming for 23 years. I am an Xbox LIVE Ambassador and an Xbox Community Xpert. Need anything find me on Twitter @junegore or email me at junegore@jgghgames.com