Is That a Joystick On Your Phone?

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Comments Off

Recently I found myself on a six hour road trip with my best friend and his well-behaved, yet still very nine year old daughter. Two hours into the drive her perfectly respectful behavior was briefly interrupted by a pair of dead batteries in her handheld gaming device. While I was having traumatic flashbacks to the same situation from my youth and preparing for the inevitable four hours of “are we there yet,” the situation didn’t fluster her at all. Without batting an eye she calmingly asked for the nearest smartphone and went back to playing her games.

What impressed me about the situation was just how surprisingly casual her solution played out. She was able to plug in her own headphones, access her favorite games via 4G connectivity and use the car adaptor for unlimited power. The whole situation just made so much sense. The screen of my phone is larger and higher quality than her gaming device, the processor was able to handle the graphics better, and hey, if she got bored with that game — she had all of Google’s Play Store at her disposal.

Not being a gamer myself I am apparently late to this conclusion as consumers are already abandoning traditional gaming hardware. Most recently the trend was cited as a main reason for Nintendo’s $531.1 million annual loss, the first annual loss for the company in over 30 years. Of even more interest however is the true potential the marriage of mobile and gaming has to offer. While Nintendo may see some roadblocks when trying to enter the smartphone market, major players such as Sony and Microsoft have easy ins. Additionally, emerging technologies such as pico projectors, wireless TV pairings, and Quadcore processors invite creative new scenarios. One can imagine a not-so-distant future where Kinect like technology comes embedded in all smartphones thus fully mobilizing the gaming industry.

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