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back to article Mobile gaming: battle of the gadgets

Reg Hardware Mobile Week Gamers are everywhere nowadays. Often gamers who don't even consider themselves gamers. Take the woman beside me on the Sardine Express to London last week. Late-30s, attractive, suited and well-manicured – far removed from the stereotypical gamer. But there she was, 7:30 in the morning on a packed …

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Really?!

Android has "increased piracy"?

Not sure how you've come to that conclusion ... I've got both iPhone and Android devices and I'd argue that Piracy is far more prolific on iOS devices than on Android.

Now, from a technology standpoint I'd agree that it's easier to run pirated games on Android devices as you don't have to root, whereas you would have to JB an iPhone to run dodgy games, but it's far easier to find dodgy pirated iOS games/software.

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Stop

Re: Really?!

yes really. You dont even have to root your phone. Look at applanet - lots of paid apps just sat there cracked. Obviously I bet each and every one of them are littered with trojans...

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Windows

But...

So if we believe that mobile gaiming will increase year on year then why do we keep moving away from phones with tactile input? Seriously, MWC has been on for a week now and not one flip out QWERTY...

Europe may see the Droid 4 in a few months time but it isn't a great phone and is already old hat! It almost feels like we are being pushed in one direction when as the article states we should be moving in the other. Why so much touch screen when there is much more money to be made in people playing games on there phones?

Some company needs to get a high spec phone, large battery and a flip out QWERTY and Im sure we will have a game changer on our hands...

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Re: But...

Have to agree there. I have tried playing a 3rd person game on a touch-screen (iPad) and the controls drove me mad. Then, of course, there are non-gaming uses for phones.

Touch screens are likely cheaper though and many people think they're modern and real keyboards adn controls are old fashioned. The same goes for portable media devices also -- proper easy-to-find controls are being ditched for having to tap a piece of glass in precisely the right place with no feedback as to whether it worked.

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Pint

Re: But...

Why not make a phone with two touchscreens, one where the flip out keyboard would be and then the main screen. The keyboard touchscreen could look like anything, a keyboard or any of the current game console pads?

The Motorola Raxr is pretty thin, could you imagine two of those or more so one and a half... You could squeeze in 2 batteries, quad core 1.2Ghz and it would only be 14mm thick.

A beast of a phone i would defo buy!

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What about the playbook?

I have a playbook and IPad2 and the gaming experience on the smaller tablet is 10x better than the Ipad, games like Nova 2 and Modern Combat, proper 3D games are more convenient to play due to the small size and the Playbook at cut-throat prices is a way much better option. If not for lack of skype it would have been the best tablet out there, still is for the budge concious though !!

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Xperia Play

"whose ageing tech and reliance on ancient PlayStation One games for exclusive content left it DOA"

Midrange hardware, definitely.

Reliance on PS1? As a USP but not the only USP, that gamepad really is nice and I have dozens of Playstation Optimised/Certified games to prove it. Failing to deliver even the PS1 support wasn't good though - 6 months with just 1 (bundled) game. What were they thinking.

What really killed the Play was unrealistic pricing. They tried to sell midrange (AKA ageing) hardware at very premium prices. Couple that with failing to deliver the sort of Playstation support everyone expected and you have poor sales. A gamepad and an emulator does not justify a 40% price hike. Soon as it dropped to £150/200 they started flying off the shelves, launching at £300 might have worked. Launching at £500 was the kiss of death.

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There is nothing on iOS (Or my Xoom for that matter - excluding using a 360 pad which is inconvenient) better than playing Sonic CD on the Xperia Play with the pad. iOS cannot even have emulators legitimately.

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FAIL

Price, Price, Price!

£40 for a Vita game, vs £5 for Shadowgun on my Asus Transformer Prime.

As a casual mobile gamer, it's easy to drop £5 on a game, but not £40. The Vita will pick up the hardcore gamers, but it's casual gaming where the real money is!

Angry Birds anyone? ;)

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Re: Price, Price, Price!

But how long before many of these casual gamers start to get bored with shallow and simplistic mobile games? When they want a more fulfilling gaming experience some will surely look to dedicated gaming devices like the DS and Vita. There is only so much you can do without real physical controls.

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Meh

Re: Price, Price, Price!

Not all mobile games are shallow and simplistic you know! ;)

Galaxy on Fire 2, Shadowgun, and GTA III are all extensive, in depth, mobile titles and all are priced at a *fraction* of PS Vita games. Yes, I can play Uncharted

The DS, and to a lesser extent, the PS VIta, are more likely to appeal to kids than the people who can actually afford the £40 per game that these require. The Vita will still appeal to hardcore gamers for a time, but Sony seem to think that the platform will last 5 to 10 years - given the pace of mobile development, it simply won't be competitive hardware-wise in 1 to 2 years, let alone 5 to 10, so it will lose those hardcore gamers too.

Sony actually had the right idea with the Xperia Play - an updated version of that could've owned mobile gaming, and they could've easily produced an updated version every couple of years to tie in with cellular contracts.

The age of the dedicated gaming device is over IMO. Convergence is where it is at.

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Van

Re: Price, Price, Price!

"£40 for a Vita game, vs £5 for Shadowgun on my Asus Transformer Prime."

I would expect people who post here, to be slightly more savvy than to pay RRP for console games. Even if you don't like shopping online, following many of the hot deal websites or bargain forums, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys always end up knocking a good £10 or £15 off.

Still, quoting the £40 RRP seems to be winning a lot of arguments at the moment. Just as it did when PC gamers often tried to justify the expense of a PC v Xbox 360 gaming.

I've yet to pay over £23 for a 360 game and have some real quality for that money.

You should also consider the technology inside the VIta for the subsidised price, compared to the extra £200 + you pay for your less portable gaming device.

At the end of the day, most of us only have a certain amount of time and money to spend gaming anyway.

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Stop

Re: Price, Price, Price!

It's perfectly apposite to quote RRPs in this context. I've got plenty of Android games free from Amazon App of the Day, but that doesn't mean I should be comparing these based on "actual cost" (which is zero). Simple fact of the matter is that Vita games are, in general, several multiples more expensive than comparable Android games.

Asda and Amazon are both selling Uncharted for Vita for a shade under £35 with an RRP for £45,, so hardly the savings you are suggesting. In general, even 360 games won't be significantly discounted until after they've been on the market for a few weeks, and by then the hardcore gamers will have already purchased them. Hardcore gamers (the Vita's target audience) won't generally wait for a game to hit a budget price point!

If you look at phone gaming, for many the price of the device is free when they've tied themselves into a 2 year contract, so the subsidy argument doesn't really work too well for the Vita. Given that most people will have a mobile phone anyway., why carry two devices when you can carry one.

At this precise moment in time, the Vita is an impressive bit of kit, butl the technology in the Vita will be out of date compared to mobile phones before this year is over, let alone the 5-10 year lifespan that Sony predicts. Yes, it has the dedicated controls, when then again so does the Xperia Play which is a line where Sony should've concentrated their mobile gaming efforts.

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Go

Re: Price, Price, Price!

There's only so much you can do when you're on the move as well... if I want a "fulfilling gaming experience", I'll go home and play on my PC. If I want to kill ten minutes waiting for a bus, I'll go mobile, and play something that I can pick up and play in seconds - that doesn't require a high learning curve - basically, something fun.

The trouble is that gamers have been increasingly spoiled. Back in the days of the amusement arcade, it was all about games that were quick to get into and fun to play. The idea of a game that took hours to play was laughable. But now, games expect photo-quality graphics, realistic physics, stereo surround sound... in other words, it's not about fun any more, it's about immersion.

In the rapid-fire environment of mobile gaming, fun games that are easy to play are making a comeback. People are realising that they don't have to invest hours of their lives learning to play something then seeing it through to completion. And so you see people - just like the woman mentioned at the start of the article - getting into gaming...

... and the gamers of the console age are having trouble adapting to the change.

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Re: Price, Price, Price!

@Blank Reg.

That's exactly the point though. As developers we* NEED the customer to get bored and move on. It's not much harder to get bored of a £40 game than a £4 game. It's just the next purchase is far less likely. Casual gaming is huge, hardcore gaming is niche - they both exist, it's just far more risky to serve the hardcore / AAA market. (Although Kickstarter may be changing that also)!

I'll hazard a guess that on the PC we'll start to see a lot more games come in at the £10 mark from the big studios, with DLC and features making the price up. You've only got to look at games like Minecraft, Magicka and Terraria to see that this model can storm.

Dave

PS: That's the royal we, I can't develop a Polaroid, let alone a piece of software.

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Happy

"The Nintendo DS played vanguard in democratising gaming"

ITYF, that was the original Gameboy back in the '80s. And Tetris. A lethal combination.

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jai
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venn diagrams are complicated??

wtf?

but i guess that explains some of the conclusions drawn in this article then

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Pro's and con's

Mobile gaming sure has undergone a paradigm shift over the past decade.

I recall the GameBoy being the device to have, but then the DS and PSP changed things for the better.

Let's not overlook the Nokia N-Gage, a phone that acted as a serious gamer's toy. The pitfall of the N-Gage was battery life if you were constantly gaming and using it as a phone.

The PSP was the king of the handhelds in my opinion, it was ace, it had wireless and enabled one to compete against friends, plus we could watch movies and store games/movies etc. on the Memory Stick. UMD was good but the media was expensive to buy, so the PSP is the device where I fist saw people pirating titles for download.

Phones have come a long way since the N-gage and the Android and IOS platform opened the floodgates of game Apps and porting some of the old classics to the mobile.

Gaming on the phone suits some, but in my experience it kills the battery life and if the phone is the prime source of being in contact whilst on the move it can be a pain in the ass.

Fondleslabs are great for gaming too, I own both a Galaxy 7.1 and iPad2 and gaming is better than ever on these devices, I much prefer them to gaming on a phone. Sure, they are bigger, but they are portable and I often use either of them to keep myself entertained on a long train trip.

Piracy will always be an issue as we all like something for nothing, locking things down tight to prevent this only gives Android and IOS a "bad name" strangely enough.

Who knows what the future holds in regards to the forthcoming technologies and title releases hold for us, it can only be good news as long as the prices are right..

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Paris Hilton

Re: Pro's and con's

"Let's not overlook the Nokia N-Gage, "

"Ha ha hahahahah ha haHa ha hahahahah ha haHa ha haha hahah ha haHa ha hahahahah ha ha hahah ha haHa ha ha!" <breath>.

"hahah ha haHa ha ha hahah ha haHa ha hahahah ha haHa ha hahahah ha haHa ha hahah ah ha haHa ha ha"

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WTF?

Does a gaming phone with wireless connnection to the TV make any sense?

CES saw lots of demos where a mobile device (phone or Tablet) was connected via Wi-Fi or WiGig to a TV. One reason, provided the latency can be issues can be fixed, is for gaming. Gets over the screen size problem (when the TV is available) but does it make any sens to a hard core or casual gamer? Answers on a post card. Oops just let slip that I am well past the typical gamer's age.

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Happy

I'm not a hardcore gamer, but...

I'm not a hardcore gamer (I got out of gaming after suffering work-related RSI) but as someone who was on the road frequently with work a few years ago, I can see the benefit in being able to walk into a hotel, kick off my shoes, jump on the bed and start playing my games. The work laptop always had one or two games on it (up until the drive encryption and app lockdown -- grrr!!!) but that also meant carrying DVD ROMs everywhere.

At the time, a device like the Xperia Play with wireless TV connection would have been a godsend.

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Anonymous Coward

Gaming experience

I have an iphone, a Galaxy tab, a 3ds and a Vita. They all offer very different experiences for me.

iphone is fine when you stuck away from your other devices. Galaxy tab is ok, works well with online flash content (a wee national lottery gamble is my usual online play). 3DS is good for some relaxing play, Vita for some hard core play.

Its funny that the Vita is bashed for its upwards of £40 for games, but wasn't it only uncharted that has an RRP of £44.99, and its only Game/Gamestation that charge that in store. You can pick up uncharted for £34.97 in Asda, meaning its actually cheaper than equally new 3DS titles because 3DS titles don't often drop in cost very quickly. Now thats the Nintendo effect I feel.

Plenty of cheaper Vita games from PS Store, all of which are good.

Personally I think Sony need to sort out remote play for the Vita, do it quick or prepare to fail. The article correctly points out that Microsoft could well nip in an steal a huge chunk of the market with their Xbox background.

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I think you've got that wrong...

"It's not a case of when Vita and 3DS will encounter indomitable competition, but just how soon."

You know that's the same thing, right?

Also, why can't a have the 'badgers' sign any more? Tsch.

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