Is there anybody out there? Handhelds, hello, hello?
Next-gen consoles fared quite well in a traditionally news focused, slow product release window but the same cannot be said for the handhelds. The DS never needed to be pushed aside but it was by the 3DS, which frankly overestimated its sales potential. A high price point and limited range of top level, must have games put up a few big roadblocks in the way of a system that was not the different than the already solid DS. Most gamers, kids especially, cannot justify the cost and it was noted as the price dropped and sorry-for-that games were offered to gamers who did jump in at high cost. A costly mistake that has allowed sales to drop.
In the same boat of misery is the PSP. While never truly hitting its potential there are quite a few solid games for the powerful system but the new Vita being announced and the Sony Ericsson Xperia released the little steam PSP could have gained is being eaten from the inside. Throw into the equation the power that smart phones are hitting and it’s easy to see why even the most hardcore gamer may no longer carry around their PSP and why gamers may abandon development.
So a sad time to reflect upon the state of handheld gaming but there is hope. The Vita looks amazing thus far and integration with smart phones is not a bad thing as games are going well outside the casual realm but while Sony can see some light there has to be worry about the DS/3DS especially with the crazy controller for the WiiU potentially being a system in itself (guessing here, no confirmation). So how was the quarter … sad, just sad.
Nintendo 3DS/DS – Not sure it makes sense to list the DS anymore which is a shame. The 3DS was not a necessity with the user base of the DS and now developers will shift some of their attention away from a handheld many gamers own.
- Bit.Trip Saga – Solid retro action but this will go over many a young gamers head for its lack of graphical power. Great for adults.
- Star Fox 64 3D – It’s what the original version was but a bit cleaner looking and sadness sets in when we used to consider this a great game.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked – As Persona is unique and fun on the PSP so too is the Shin Megami Tensei series on the 3DS. Great for RPG fans but again, it misses much of the DS audience.
- Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions - A collection of classics that work great in 3D or 2D, does not matter when two franchises offer up three truly unique gaming challenges.
PSP – One title worth its weight and that’s Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin. The PSP is long for the scrap yard but Atlus has been keeping this underutilized system rolling with yet another Persona release. If more publishers used the PSP like this gamers could have caught up on all the great Japanese PS2 era titles never to hit our shores.
Overall the health of the handhelds is failing and failing fast. The 3DS is looking for new hooks and ways to capture gamers but is missing one key ingredient … games. The PSP is done, so here’s to waiting on the Vita. Both systems get an incomplete for different reasons. The 3DS gets an extension in order to get some Q4 games rolling and resolve its sales issue while the PSP waits for its new Vita iteration … evolution.