Why Smartphones will never truly compete with a handheld device

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Whenever a new flagship smartphone from Samsung or Apple is released, the press by and large go wild by stating that the latest iteration of device X is going to be the model that will slay the dedicated handheld giant. By this I of course mean Nintendo since Sony have by and large papped the Vita.

The thing is though that despite there being numerous iterations of these smartphones, not one of them has been able to provide the end user with an experience that matches a 3DS right out of the box.

I know that many will jump up and state that you can play GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas on your Android/iOS device. So what? To properly play it you need to get a gamepad because otherwise the overall experience is just dire. Lets bear in mind as well that depending on your device, your performance will vary wildly so you’re not exactly getting an optimal experience.


When it comes to handheld systems like the 3DS, these have been purpose built for gaming. Whilst the smart devices can play games the quality of them is by and large pretty terrible. There are some real gems and good old fashioned time wasters like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but then you’ve got the really dire ‘games’ such as the Kim Kardashian one. And therein lies the next issue.

Microtransactions are one of the biggest reasons why smartphone gaming will never truly beat the more conventional dedicated handheld games market. There are so many ‘games’ out there that force players buy atrocious amounts of rubbish in game just so that they can play the bloody thing. The simple fact is, you could have the best smartphone at the lowest price, but the issue remains that with this cancerous form of spending on mobile devices, Nintendo (and possibly Sony if they make another handheld) won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

When you marry that up with the fact that the hardware itself doesn’t lend to a proper gaming experience since there’s a lack of buttons on it, any proper gamer is not going to plough their money into smart device games the same way they would with a 3DS or NX when it’s released. So sorry to the news outlets as well as Michael Pachter, but Nintendo handhelds are here to stay and won’t be getting rushed out the door by smart devices.

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