- Nintendo Switch was a landmark in portable consoles, as the magnificent device renewed the love of handheld gaming. Now, Switch 2 seems to be close and it looks like a grand upgrade.
- Mobile Gaming was slowly getting bigger as time passed, but it seems to have taken a big leap with the new iPhone 15 Pro’s ability to run console-level AAA games.
- Steam Deck was the most important player in recent times that brought the demand for portable devices to new heights. Valve’s revolutionary device also led to many other handhelds following suit.
- Handheld gaming has always been a desirable horizon, but hardware and game library limitations hindered it. Switch and Steam Deck came to rectify these demerits and it’s just going to get better from here on.
Technology has come a long way, and gaming devices are no exception. A mere two decades ago, the concept of a full-fledged PC the size of your hand was a wild speculation at best. The stuff we couldn’t even dream of back then has become a reality, and we couldn’t be happier. The ability to play the latest games in all their graphical glory on a highly convenient portable device is now the future.
Although we had portable gaming consoles for quite some time, none had the same impact as Nintendo Switch. And this brilliant device renewed the joys of handheld gaming in the hearts of modern gamers. To further reinforce this, Steam deck came to blow us all away; the power of PC gaming in the palm of your hand. The portable craze started to heat up and now we have several options to look at that could make handheld gaming a dominant choice.
Nintendo Switch Was A Big Deal, Switch 2 Could Be Bigger
At this point, no one is oblivious to Nintendo Switch’s enormous success, as the magnificent device brought back the glory days of handheld gaming. Bringing a library of splendid games like Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild to name a few iconic ones, the portable device held its own for two generations of consoles. It not only became the second-best console for Nintendo after DS but also the third-best-selling console of all time.
The Nintendo Switch has surpassed sell in of 100 million units, reaching 103.54m as of December 31, 2021.
It reaches the 100m milestone faster than the PS4 and Wii (The DS reached 100m faster).
The Switch has also surpassed the Wii (101.63m) and PS1 (102.49m) in lifetime sales. pic.twitter.com/T5hOiEBUNg
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) February 3, 2022
What made Nintendo Switch such a big deal? There were a few integral factors. The most important was probably the highly impressive line-up. Portable devices generally feature toned-down versions of games released on other platforms, but here we had the same high-end titles running on a handheld device. Couple that with magnificent exclusives and the ease of portability, and you get a brilliant device that was a huge success for Nintendo.
One department the Switch lacked was effective hardware, which resulted in a somewhat weaker performance than the competitors. However, it looks like we’re about to get amendments with the release of the unnamed Switch successor. This supposed Switch 2, might be here sooner than later, as Nintendo secretly demonstrated their upcoming device to the devs at Gamescom held not too long ago.
Ever since then, leaks and speculations have started flooding in regarding the new portable device. The most prominent of all is the presence of considerably strong hardware in Switch 2. The new handheld console will supposedly run games at a higher resolution and solid 60+framerates, thanks to its beefy upgrades and the reported use of DLSS. This means we’re potentially looking at a device that can far surpass the Switch.
Mobile Gaming Is Getting A Huge Boost
A major factor that played a role in the popularity of portable devices was the invention of Smartphones. At one point, mobiles were simply a convenient means of contacting others. Now, we can’t imagine our lives without them thanks to the billion features a single phone can pack. Bearing the advantages of PCs in a highly portable package, the importance of Smartphones cannot be understated.
It wasn’t long before mobile gaming became a popular thing. The ability to play whenever you can amidst a busy schedule was the stuff of dreams, and phones provided easy access to that. One limiting feature, however, was the quality of games you could play. There are indeed many exceptional mobile games and you can also emulate older platforms. Still, the console and PC games remain miles ahead.
That might be changing soon. Mobiles already had the advantage of portability and 24/7 availability regardless of location, and now we’re about to get the big games, too. The upcoming iPhone 15 Pro is bringing the ability to play major AAA games like Resident Evil 4 Remake, RE Village, and Assassins Creed Mirage. This is just what we know so far, but there are bound to be more titles too.
The iPhone 15 Pro will be able to run AAA games natively with hardware ray tracing.
• Resident Evil Village (late 2023)
• Resident Evil 4 (late 2023)
• Death Stranding (late 2023)
• Assassin's Creed Mirage (early 2024)
Absolutely insane. pic.twitter.com/TisDffnllA
— Okami Games (@Okami13_) September 12, 2023
As for performance, if nothing else we’re sure to get a solid 30 fps at least, and I think that’s an excellent start. Of course, you might be wondering if the new iPhone’s price makes it a viable purchase compared to other options, but that’s not my point. What I mean to infer from this is that if this step becomes successful, portable devices will get a huge boost and soon more and more phones will be available with excellent gaming capabilities.
Steam Deck Took Portable Devices To New Heights
Steam Deck’s contribution to the portable devices cause is truly undeniable. Valve’s handheld system took the world by storm, as you have an appreciably strong device to run almost all of your Steam library in a convenient portable manner. What makes Steam Deck stand out the most is that it is not a console but a PC, which means you can use it any way you expect to use a PC, opening up a myriad of possibilities.
I’m sure your first question would be can I install Windows in it? And Valve has a pretty satisfying answer for you; yes, you can! This automatically makes Steam Deck a much more worthy purchase, since it gives you a great deal of freedom. You can not only run your Steam games but also set up the device to run any third-party software, including the ability to download and run emulators, which vastly expands your library.
Since it is PC gaming, you get access to all its perks, most importantly modding. You get a portable device that you can use to enjoy your games at your convenience and also get the ability to customize them with any creatively hilarious mods you wish to employ. Multiple factors made Steam Deck such a revolutionary addition, but I think the most critical was its influence.
Steam Deck’s popularity ended up influencing the creation of more handheld PC devices. Take a look at ASUS ROG Ally for example. Although pricier than the Deck, it offers beefier hardware and can run all your PC games quite easily. And this is just the start. I’m sure we’re bound to see a lot more PC portable devices since this concept has considerable merits. We have Valve’s Steam Deck to thank.
Portable Gaming Devices Are In A Great Position
Portable devices have always been an object of fascination for gamers. It is because of the many merits associated with the system. First and foremost is the ease of use portability provides. Not everyone can set aside a solid chunk of time for gaming and sit still in front of a screen to enjoy games. And that is where these handheld consoles come in. Whenever you get a short break in your schedule, you can pop these out and have a good time.
This is facilitated by the ability to carry these devices wherever you go. You’re getting strong gaming hardware in an easy-to-carry package. It can be easily brought alongside you and you can enjoy your games on the go. This is an undeniable advantage. Next up we have the battery play, which allows you to continue gaming without an active power source. Although it might not seem much, this can be a solid point for some gamers.
Consider gamers residing in areas with electricity problems or unforeseen outages. Portable devices ensure their experience is not hindered due to these problems, and they don’t suffer from data losses as a result. Portability has always been a favorable aspect for many consumers, but we had a difference in game quality before, with handhelds receiving downgraded versions. However, Switch and Steam Deck changed it all.
In conclusion, recent advances are pointing towards a coming boom of handheld gaming and portable devices. Switch 2 is coming allegedly with pretty sturdy hardware, mobile gaming is about to join the big leagues, Steam Deck continues to reign in popularity, and more devices are following suit. Couple this with the inherent advantages of a portable formula and we’re looking at a considerably bright future for handheld gaming.
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