I thought this was a great article from Joystick Division, that comments on the merits for dedicated portable gaming systems.
Some complain that the majority of portable games aren’t suited to pick up and play sessions. I’d argue that that isn’t what portable gaming is for anymore. I’m not sure that’s what it was ever for, actually. The market has evolved and, if that’s what you’re looking for, then mobile is absolutely the way to go. But while there are also plenty of quick-fix games available on portable consoles, what I look for in these devices is something that will give me a console experience in the palm of my hands.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The real question is at what price will portable consoles survive? Are we at a point where the economy is driving slower sales? While everyone doesn’t need a top tier smartphone, I can’t think of anyone I know that doesn’t have some sort of smartphone, even an older generation one just used for taking calls on the go.
Portable gaming is different – it is a luxury, and as more and more casual gamers (even my wife plays games on her Razor and Kindle Fire) join the ranks of gaming, a $29-49 game is going to be a tougher and tougher sale. You can’t compare any of these casual experiences to something offered on the Vita or 3DS, be it a Mario or Uncharted title, but there is a price to pay for a quality portable gaming experience.
It should be really interesting to see how things play out with Nintendo and Sony over the next 9-18 months.