By insanejedi 9 Comments
A few years ago, a lof of us who are heavily invested into the game industry thought that there is no way that mobile cellphone games could ever replace something like the Nintendo DS or the PSP. Unfortunately whether that's true or not, it's increasingly becoming evident that people like us who care about tactile responsive controls more than convenience of a single device are falling by the way side.
Now don't get me wrong, there are some awesome Android/IOS games that are definitely worth playing like World of Goo, Myst, and Puzzle Quest 2 have all the depth that a lot of us are looking for in games, yet feature controls that make sense and are not dependent on exact responsive movements. Although the reason why many of these games work is because they were primarily designed as games you can play with a mouse with one button; take Myst for Example.
With the falling out of the PSV and the 3DS, it might seem like a very dark road for anyone who would enjoy a great platformer like Braid, VVVVVV, or Mario and have to face it on a completely unresponsive and unrealiable for gaming touch screen. Some people have had a go and fixing this by launching stuff like the Playstation Phone, or an Ipad with physical buttons that attach to the device, but all these solutions have a single fatal flaw which is software support for these devices. The Playstation Phone only supports a couple of games, and I have yet to see anyone support these dumb IOS physical control peripherals. That and the third party devices are usually too bulky and impractical to use.
But there is a solution, and it may lie in Windows 8...
Now before you hit the back button to look at some kittens on the forums or hit reply and say "OH MY GOD WINDOWS 8 IS GARBAGE!" take a look at the picture and video below.
That is the Razer switchblade, it's a concept device much like a concept car that never really came to full production, but they have full working prototypes that play games like WoW or Dota 2 with these fancy display keys that change depending on what kind of gaming your playing. It features a 7 inch screen with full multi-touch screen support. This is all great in concept, but much like those peripherals and the Playstation Phone above, the key problem is who is going to support this stuff for a small hardware company like Razor? Not only that but the Windows 7 OS wasn't designed with touch. Now look at the picture below.
Now imagine if those display keys on the bottom are replaced with an Xbox 360 Controller like below. I think you know where this is going...
If you caught on now, you would realize that there are many many PC games that support the 360 Controller, Bastion, Skyrim, Braid, Dirt 3, Crysis, Saints Row, GTA 4, and on and on and on. Now Windows 8 on X86 makes it easier to navigate with a touch screen, but most importantly it is able to play all these games. The best part is that all of these games needs little to no patching because they already have support for 360 game pad controls! So if you released a concept like the Razor Switchblade on Windows 8, it would not only have hundreds of games supported on day one, but It's also a full OS tablet! That you can use for all sorts of things like word processing, web browsing, watching movies, or sending emails.
I realize there are several factors to look at such as battery life, where you get CPU's and GPU's that do the power without having too much heat or killing the battery, and how small the device can be. But At least Razer has proved that it can work with the Razer Switchblade and that was launched in 2011. Chips have advanced during that time and this concept becomes more and more possible. So if you are like me and find most of the mobile games wanting, there is very much light at the end of the tunnel. It will just take some company to figure out the internals like Razor, Alienware, MSI, or Asus to have the portable gaming machine to end all gaming machines, because at the end of the day it would have all the functionalists of a regular PC.
Mobile gaming is dead. Long live the Mobile PC.
(huge pictures because the blog formatting was being stupid)