When you think of portable gaming devices, what do you think of? Game Boys? A Nintendo DS? Playstation Vita? Yep, these are all great portable gaming devices. But despite Sony and Nintendo’s best efforts, they are no longer the best portable gaming devices available. Why? More and more people are buying iPhones.
When’s the last time you’ve carried around a Nintendo DS, or a Playstation Portable with you? Chances are, this doesn’t happen that often – and if it does, it’s probably not on a constant basis. Now let me ask you another question – when’s the last time you’ve left the house without your cell phone? Chances are, that doesn’t happen very often.
People carry around their phones with them more often than they carry around a Playstation Vita, for example. The games are there when they want to play them. Speaking of games…
Let’s also take a look at the games available on an iPhone, and games available on a standard portable gaming system such as the Nintendo DS. A typical Nintendo DS game costs at least $20. Not only that, but you have to carry that cartridge around with you, wherever you go. This means, when you want to carry around your DS around with you, you also have to carry around a bunch of games. That’s not convenient at all, is it?
Let’s compare that to an iPhone. There are thousands of games instantly available for download off of the App Store. The games that do cost money, often only cost a dollar or two. So for the same price as one DS game, you can get 20 or more iPhone games. Not to mention, since these games are downloaded directly on the device, they are always there. You could have hundreds of games, available for instant access, on your iPhone. All in your pocket. You won’t ever have to carry around any disks or cartridges. Convenient, right?
And let’s be real here – we are always looking for something different, and the sheer quantity of games available ensures we always have something new to play. This is especially important among casual games and children.
The types of games available for the two systems are completely different as well. The typical Nintendo DS or Playstation Vita game has a set story. You are given a problem, you solve it, then the game is over. It’s usually played for a long period of time – maybe even hours. The games are complex, with highly developed stories, and personalized characters. These types of games are great – but are best on consoles, rather than on portable game systems.
Games on smartphones are completely different than those. Few iPhone games are made to be played for hours at a time. Instead, the majority of iOS games are simple, short games that are able to be played only for only a few minutes at a time. This means you can play iOS games whenever you have free time – you don’t have to dedicate a time slot for your gaming habits.
Finally, it’s a lot easier to produce games for iOS than a typical platform. You don’t have to worry about licensing fees, production of physical objects such as disks, shipping, manufacturing and such. In fact, you only need $100 for a developer account in order to start making applications for the iPhone. This means that anyone can create a game for the iPhone, so developers with great ideas can bring their ideas to life. This is not possible with a typical platform game. It’s much, much harder.
In conclusion the iPhone is the best portable gaming device for two reasons. One, games on the iPhone are so easily accessible, since so many people carry their iPhones around with them. And two, the games are casual, and made for ‘pick up and play’ gaming. Smartphone gaming is only going to become increasingly popular, and it’s something Nintendo and Sony can do nothing about.