The gaming industry is so large nowadays that it has surpassed both the film industry and the music industry combined – and it doesn’t look as though it will stop growing anytime soon! The worldwide gaming community is also vast – an estimated two billion people across the world take part in gaming as regular hobby.
There is a very rich history to gaming – starting with the most basic games consoles, such as Ralph Baer’s Brown Box, and the world-famous Pong; and of course, the world’s first home games console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Fast forward four decades, and we have games consoles with astonishing computing power that far exceed the computers that sent men into space. Gaming isn’t just a pastime of kids anymore, even fully-grown adults, like the IT engineers at TechQuarters. One of the top IT support services companies in London, TechQuarters has always balanced their professional work with team-building game sessions – gaming can be a fantastic way to socialise, get to know colleagues, and encourage lateral thinking (which can be great for work).
But, what if you want to game on the fly? The history of gaming wouldn’t be complete without the history of handheld gaming consoles, such as the Nintendo Gameboy, the Nintendo DS, and much more. These days, handheld gaming seems less popular now that nearly everyone has smartphones, but there are still some great options for handheld gaming if it is your preference.
Below is a brief list of modern handheld gaming solutions.
Perhaps the most famous producer of games and handhelds, Nintendo has a long and successful history with the technology. Starting out in the 80s with their popular Game & Watch line of handhelds – each one featuring a single game – Nintendo quickly established themselves as leaders in games consoles. The Game Boy line is practically gaming royalty, as is the Nintendo DS & 3DS. But nowadays, the only Nintendo console that matters is the Switch.
Packing technology that the Game Boy lovers of old could only have dreamt of, the Nintendo Switch is the company’s flagship console, holding up to even the heavyweight consoles like Playstation and the Xbox. The beauty of the Switch is that it can be carried around to be played handheld, or it can be cast to a TV for the full home console experience.
A growing market is the wave of retro handheld consoles being produced. These devices take advantage of emulator technology – meaning all you need to do is buy the device and an SD card, and you can download and play hundreds of classic games. Some retro handhelds imitate the design and form factor of classic consoles like the Gameboy, or they are specifically designed for ergonomic use, with enough controls to support playing any game. These days, retro handheld consoles are powerful enough that you can walk around with your favourite Gamecube, Dreamcast, and Playstation 2 games in your pocket. A few examples of retro handhelds include:
- AYN Odin Pro
- Retroid Pocket 2+
A new generation of handheld gaming has been enabled from the computing power that is packed into our smartphones. Yes, in some ways, the best handheld gaming console is the one you may already own. If you are an iPhone user, you can pay £4.99 a month for unlimited access to the Apple Arcade gaming subscription service. Apple Arcade is supported by any iPhone running iOS 13, or iPadOS 13 or later. If you’ve ever grown sick of gaming on your phone due to repeated intrusive advertisements, worry not, because the subscription ensures an uninterrupted gaming experience. In-app purchases are also non-existent with Apple Arcade. You will have access to over 100 games, including original titles, and new versions of classic arcade games from companies such as Capcop, Sega, Bandai Namco, and Konami.
Cloud Gaming is also becoming a massive trend nowadays, and Google Stadia was one of the first services on the market. Capable of streaming games at up to 4K and 60 frames per second, Google Stadia is an excellent way to turn an Android smartphone into an advanced handheld games console. If you’re on Android, you can use the Stadia mobile app to access your catalogue of games from streaming; but don’t despair if you’re an iPhone user – in 2020, Google released a browser-based web app for Stadia, allowing iPhone users to access the service via the Safari browser.
Xbox Cloud Gaming
Xbox offers one of the best-value services on the market these days, with their excellent Xbox Game Pass deal – giving you access to hundreds of titles from a wide range of developers. Microsoft have taken this a big step forward with their Cloud Gaming. Also known as xCloud, this service is available to everyone with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Like Stadia, Xbox Cloud Gaming has a dedicated client that can be downloaded onto a supported Android device, or it can be accessed via a Safari web application on an iPhone.