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The Monday Musing - Nintendo Switch and the future of mobile games

By , on November 14, 2016
Last modified 1 year, 9 months ago

Mobile gaming in its current form has been around for a while now. Touchscreen play has become the norm for a generation of players, and midcore strategy titles constantly top the charts.

But change is the nature of everything. We either stagnate or we move on. So where is mobile gaming likely to go next?

Well if you listen to Nintendo then mobile gaming is going to start to blur into the console ecosystem. At least that’s what the big N wants to happen with its recently announced Switch console.

It’s certainly an interesting take on a new style of mobile play. A gadget that you can take out with you and continue the same gaming experience whether you’re on a bus or plugged into your telly at home.

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There’s a slight whiff of the unconsole about the Switch. Things like the Ouya promised a revolution as well - small scale gaming using the same OS you were used to on your phone. But they never took off either.

And there was a reason for that - they weren’t offering exactly what consumers wanted. They were a step in the right direction, a step towards unification, but they just added another piece of kit to the list of things you needed to have to play.

The Switch does the same thing, but from a slightly different angle. It’s something else you need to put in your pocket, another device that you have to find room for when there’s a part of you that thinks your phone should be able to do it all.

That for me is the next logical step in mobile. It’s not an extra peripheral or expensive new bit of kit, it’s a way that you can tether your phone quickly and easily to your TV and play the same games in the same ecosystem as you’d be playing on the bus.

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There have been attempts to do this, but none of them have been convincing enough to catch on. And I fear that’s the same fate that awaits the Switch. It’s a good idea, but it feels like it’s two ideas early.

I absolutely want to have the same experience when I’m waiting for a bus that I have when I’m considering whether to leave the house to catch a bus. But I don’t want another thing - I want to be able to do it all on one device.

Call my mum, text my friends, play the latest games. Watch films, read books, surf the web. The modern smartphone is so close to being the perfect device - all it needs now is that final push to secure its place in the home.

Because we all play on the sofa already. We all get distracted by our phone when we’re watching or doing anything. They’re already the centre of our world, they just need to find the best position to rule the roost - quite literally - from.