Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Future of Handheld Crossing Console Gaming

The announcement of the Wii U controller with a built in screen brought an idea of mine to life, making a dream that much more of a reality. What is this dream you may ask? This dream is to bridge the gap between home console gaming and handheld gaming systems.

Here's a look at what that would be like and how it could be done in a new generation of gaming.

The Wii U is only the first step in the right direction, and it still leaves a ways to go before this is complete. The upside of course with the console wars is with the Wii U's controller out now, Microsoft and Sony will probably be trying to figure out their own controller scheme to compete with Nintendo's new direction.

Nintendo has long ruled the handheld market, though Sony has made a grab for consumers with their PSP. Both company have had recent consoles that could use their handhelds as contollers, going back to the Gamecube and the Gameboy Advanced up to the PS3 and the PSP. These connections allowed players to play handheld games on their TV screens and play console games on their handheld screens, as well as trade information and items from one to the other. Wireless controllers have diminished the need to physically connect with a console to play on it, with most new generation consoles have only wireless controllers.

The portable consoles and the current home console controllers
are still designed similarly

A handheld system used as a controller for a console could store profiles, achievements and various player information that they could take with them. Being able to sit down and play a game on a console then pick up and play on the go with just the handheld would liberty players from sitting on the couch. With a wireless handheld connected to a console you could play a console quality game anywhere in your house, moving from room to room and beyond!

If the console game could be played, whether in whole or partly, on the go, players could continue playing even after they have left the house. Mobile gaming isn't new, but with a home console as a base and back up handheld gaming could become more fluid and increase in power. Being able to take a favorite console game with you via your handheld controller console system could unlock new items and downloads as you visited real world shops and locations. Console games could be played on the go online with handhelds connecting to wifi hot spots.

Even just being able to take your handheld controller with you from your console to your friend's console could help bridge the gap with hardcore and casual players. Players that normally only buy and play console games would suddenly be portable gamers. They could be able to play as they travel with no extra purchase requirements besides the console controller they already have! Casual gamers that only play their handheld games could now sit down and join their friends on a console system. Even casual console players could start taking their games with them and playing for short spurts as they go about their every day lives.

Instead of hoping your friend has 4 controllers, or having to lug around your own controller, if you could jump in on a friend's system with easy. Taking your portable system with you and connection to a friend's console would be so natural it would be a small adjustment for most players.

A the next step is erasing the difference between the home console system and the handheld portable system in the consumer's mind. No longer would you have console and portable buyers, but one audience to market towards.

This is something I would like to see in the future of gaming, as both a gamer and a game developer.