Mobile Gaming To The Max.
Handheld gaming consoles have been around for quite some time. In fact the first handheld console dates back to the mid 1970’s when Mattel introduced the first handheld electronic game “Auto Race“. Shortly after in 1980 Nintendo put out the infamous line of handheld games known as “Game & Watch“, Which ran all the way until 1991. In 1989 however, the handheld gaming industry evolved in a big way. The predecessor to Game & Watch was released, Known as the Game Boy. The Game Boy was a huge success and paved the way for the future of mobile gaming. After that the Game Boy took on many changes, Adding Color, illuminated screens, smaller pocket sized version etc… Other companies tried jumping on the band wagon, like the Sega Nomad. But with much less success. And with more recent incarnations of the Game Boy (Game Boy Advance and the NDS line) Nintendo has been grasping the portable gaming industry with an iron fist. Sony has tried it’s best to keep up with the likes of the PSP and PS vita. But they always seem to be a step or two behind.
Evolution however stops for no man (or company) and the portable gaming industry is starting to shift. With the rise of Smart devices such as the iPhone and tablet PC’s. Players can now instantly download great games for a device that they already own. And i’m not talking about Tetris or Breakout on your dad’s flip phone. We are talking about high definition gaming located in your pocket, next to some lent and left over change. And with Smart phones becoming more like a PC with calling capabilities. It’s no wonder the boom of mobile gaming has reached such a great magnitude. But again, Evolution continues to move forward. and in the words of the immortal Professor Xavier “This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millenia, evolution leaps forward.”
Okay… Well maybe not a millenia, But it does seem like another leap is on the horizon. And it might not effect mobile gaming as much as it might take a chunk out of console gaming.
Micro portable consoles seem to be a trend that has been picking up steam. With consoles such as the Game Stick and Ouya gaining momentum. They might just open pandora’s box to a whole new realm of portable gamocity. What is also amazing about the consoles mentioned above. Is that they are indie produced and much of the financing comes from fundraisers like Kickstarter. In fact The Kickstarter fundraising goal for the Ouya was raised within 8 hours. And according to Kickstarter, Ouya holds the record for best first day performance of any project to date. In just the first 24 hours the project attained one backer every 5.59 seconds. Ouya also became the most quickly funded project in Kickstarter history to reach one million dollars. Game Stick on the other hand is being highly promoted through the likes of retailer Game Stop. And like Ouya is being funded through a Kickstarter account. Both run off of the android operating system Jellybean (Ouya 4.1, Game Stick 4.2) And both come with bluetooth enabled controllers for easy portability. With these systems Players can connect the tiny console to a TV and have instant access to their digital gaming library. along with other apps similar to your smart phones. Another great feature is that these parties are open source and encourage the players to try their hands at development. You never know who might design the next big game.
Ouya was released to retail on June 25th and has sense been met with a lukewarm reception. But like any early versions, they still need to work out all the kinks. Game Stick however has looked very promising and with a price tag of under a Bill ($79.99) it is quite titillating.
These are just the first pieces of a much greater picture i believe. Ouya and Game Stick are only just the beginning, and many more consoles akin to these two are popping up everywhere. Mobile gaming is no doubt the way of the future, But sometimes there’s nothing like the grasp of a controller in your hand. Or blowing things up on a TV screen that’s larger then your bed. And these micro console pioneers seem to be the combination of both. The digital download and portability of Smart phones, Combined with the comfort and aesthetics of your common gaming system.
Will these tiny consoles be the next step in the gaming evolution of life? (or no life for that matter)
Only Marty Mcfly and Doc Brown know the answers (i don’t want to hear your crap whovians)
You can buy the Ouya online here from many major retailers for $99.99
While the GameStick is available for Pre-orders here for $79.99 and will arrive in August.
What are your thoughts?