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Lucky enough to live through and grow up in the nineties, arguably the best era in video gaming with its 16-bit to 64-bit debut, I believe former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates once predicted that computing will become portable in the coming years. Here we are in 2018, and we can purchase items online using a cell phone, at the touch of a button, without hopping in a car and driving to the store.
There's no question Nintendo dominates the handheld market, making their Game Boy series a huge staple in video gaming history. When you think handheld, the Game Boy is one of the first ones to come to mind, let alone the Nintendo DS. Sony, keeping in competition with Nintendo, have released their line of PSP handhelds—PlayStation Portable—in which its features has caused Nintendo to lose sleep continually, when comparing the two. Nintendo then has released the Nintendo Switch, their current console that acts both as a stand-alone console and also a portable system. Astonishing.
Apparently, Microsoft has snagged a piece of the video gaming pie with their XBox consoles, but why not a portable system? Personally being a part of the portable gaming audience, it wouldn't hurt to even try and appeal to portable video gamers. The decision to 'mobilize' console games, or release a fresh new line of games, is completely up to Microsoft. Nevertheless, while there were rumors and speculation, the company still hasn't sparked any interest in releasing a handheld system. Okay, so why is that?
I believe Microsoft has released smartphone and tablet devices compatible in downloading video game apps to open a new breed/choice in portable video gaming. Because mobile gaming has become incredibly convenient, it's almost a waste to spend on a separate handheld console. We all know what happened to Sony's PSP Go, but perhaps because the market wasn't all that ready for an all-digital handheld. Also, whether this possible XBox handheld would've required purchasing mini disks, game cards/chips or cartridges, it'd be an extra hassle. With the best smart device you can afford with a solid amount of space, plus an SD card, downloading the app to play on a device that we all frequently spend time on using couldn't have been a better way to grab hold of the portable video gaming department.
You see, including myself, I perceive smart devices like cell phones and tablets as "personal" and "business" uses. If I wanted to play a game, I'd look to a video gaming system, be it a home console or a handheld system. It's the nostalgic factor that keeps folks, like myself, to hold on to the memorable days when Life was easy and fun while slowly keeping up with the modern times that now involve financial stability and various other adult responsibilities. Yes, I can play games by downloading its app without the aid of whining about it in an article like this. However, doing that is like someone telling me that I could use a hardcover book to hammer a nail: Just because I can doesn't mean I should/could. (I've personally kept my traditionalist behavior all these years, and stuck with the philosophy of using the right tool for the job.) This is not to say video gamers shouldn't use smart devices to play games, as I'm talking from my point of view while sharing it with those who feel the same. In the case for Microsoft, there still is a slew of portable video gamers who don't mind laying down a handful of cash to own a handheld console they've finally released.
Whatever the real reason(s) may be, it never hurts to try. Sega did so with the Game Gear and the Nomad; NEC tried with their Turbo Express handheld; Even rinky-dink companies like Watara, and their Supervision handheld, Creatronic, and their Mega Duck, Hartung, and the obscure Game Master, and Bit Corporation, and their Game Boy-like Gamate—I can keep going. Since Microsoft is sitting well against Nintendo and Sony, I don't see a reason why they can't release a handheld of their own. Hey, even if it flops, they'll still be in good competition with the other two giants. What have they got to lose?
What do you think? Is mobile video gaming enough not to consider an actual handheld system from Microsoft? Or would you like to see one, just one, handheld system from them? Let us hear it from the comments section below!
Speaking of which Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire is available! Play now: