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Why smartphones are this generation’s Game Boy

Smartphones have taken over almost every facet of our everyday lives. They are personal computers in our palms. While there are some quarters that like to argue that the smartphone has diluted interaction between people, there are more than enough reasons to disprove this. The main one being that the smartphone has allowed for more regular interaction, just in an evolved fashion. However, it is not just social interaction that the smartphone has caused to evolve.

Portable gaming was once the jurisdiction of Nintendo. With the various iterations of the Game Boy almost always sweeping away the competition. However, the smartphone has finally provided a legitimate competitor to the Big N’s dominance. By offering a huge variety of cheap and easy to play, casual games to players, the smartphone has pushed the 3DS and to a lesser extent the PS Vita to a smaller market share than it has ever known. Why is this though?

Ease of use

To put it really simply, smartphones are very convenient. If you want to play games on the go, there is no need to carry a separate device with you anymore. A smartphone allows for a huge library of games to be carried around at any time, without the need for an additional console or a carry case full of games. This makes it much easier to have access to a portable gaming system, as well as lightening the load that you have to carry around.

It is also a lot easier to gain access to new games with a smartphone. Because portable consoles usually require either a physical cartridge or access to Wi-Fi in order to get new games, the smartphone has an instant advantage because it is connected to its own mobile network. So, getting a new game is purely a case of searching for it and downloading it. It also takes up far less room on your shelves because there is no physical media for your games.

Wider variety

Smartphones have a much wider variety of games than traditional portable consoles. While there are most traditional gaming genres on offer, such as action, RPG and simulation, there are also newer genres, such as idle games and online games. 

With wider variety comes a bigger customer base. Because the majority of gamers will also have a smartphone, if the variety and quality of games on offer is on a par with, or above, that of a portable console then they are much more likely to refrain from purchasing the console and just use the smartphone that they already have. This is very much the case over the last five years in relation to smartphones. As smartphones continue to improve, so will smartphone games, which will lead to the continued decline of the traditional portable console.

Nick Saban

By Nick Saban

Nick is a social and community editor for gaming news. He spends his time figuring out how to involve readers better in our journalism, and trying to ensure we cover the topics and angles they want us to cover. As-well-as gaming he also writes about politics, books, music, film, technology and cycling.