Community Discussion: Blog by Lord of the Thunder | Android phones with Outershells are the future of handheld gamingDestructoid
Android phones with Outershells are the future of handheld gaming - Destructoid

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When gaming came to smartphones, no one would think they would be successful as it is today, with games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope being so successful with casual gamers, everyone wants a piece of the action, even core publishers like Capcom and Square Enix tried to claim the market using virtual buttons. Third parties are moving away from the 3DS and Vita to work on the next generation of handhelds, but despite the massive amount of content the iOS platform is getting, there's still one problem, and the problem is controlling the game. The lack of buttons and sticks are the main reasons people are even touching the 3DS and Vita. If we had a device that would allow us to use our phones with an outershell that had everything that's on a 360 controller, along with a store that has minimum censorship, then the Vita and 3DS would be dead on it's tracks.

The problem is that the iOS and Google Play stores don't have good rating systems for video games, If we allowed a system like the ESRB that would allow content to be sold on android, than devices like the WikiPad and Shield would be much more successful, but if Nvidia's Tegrazone store started to allow other devices to buy content from the store, along with the Shield's base controller to connect with any android phone, then games for the core audience would go through the roof. Right now the Vita and the 3DS are the only devices that allow you to buy games that require buttons and sticks, while touch controls are good and maybe even better for some games, they don't fit in with action games, racing games, shooters, RPG's, etc. I like the concept of the Shield because it looks like it's going in the right direction, but it lacks the important element of using what you already have. If I could put my phone in a case like the Vita's and then just carry that around along with my wallet, then I would do just that, but the problem is that hardware manufacturing are making extra hardware instead of just making cases.

Valve should enter the android market and put Steam on the Android platform. If Steam was on Android phones, then developers could create a large scale project instead of half assed ones, while hardware manufactures would only. It's a win win situation and all Valve has to do is take it seriously. Valve might be able to allow indie games that don't require a whole ton of CPU/GPU juice like Shank and Cave Story+ to be playable on Android, However if Valve or Nvidia want to succeed they'll have to have original content. Outershells might be the next big thing for gaming on smartphones, all devs need to do is follow a curtain programming layout that would allow hardware manufacturers to work with the software that devs put out. I'm actually very surprised that Valve hasn't thought of such an idea, the smartphone market has a massive amount of potential for gaming, and while Nvidia has seen this potential, they screwed up by making the Shield a new hardware device instead of custom external cases for popular android phones.

People don't want to carry a shit ton of hardware with them, they just want as little things to carry as possible. Outershells get rid of the burden of carrying your 3DS, iPhone, Wallet, Vita, chargers, etc. It would allow everything to be within one solid piece of hardware. I personally don't want to carry around a shit ton of stuff, because it's annoying to switch between devices when only one is needed. While I like the games that Sony and Nintendo put out, closed off dedicated handhelds are dying. I would fully expect for this to be the last generation of the dedicated gaming handheld, because if a store like Steam is created to supply games like Metal Gear Rising, Serious Sam 3, Burnout Paradise, Team Fortress 2, Persona 4 Golden, etc, all on the go, then what need would there be for gaming handheld, besides pokemon. A Phone with an outershell would already satisfied the needs of a gaming handheld, why waste resources by making another one? Supplying games for Android would bring in much more revenue and awareness to a product, why bother with the 3DS when it has only one game, when your smartphone and outershell already has thousands of games for everyone.

I don't think Apple realizes that their strict app publication rules, will not allow iOS gaming to evolve on their platform, nor do I think they care about gaming. Apple has always been about style and simplicity, They don't care for gamers, because it's not who the make products for. They've always made products for people who can't work a normal PC, while I would recommend them as a good gateway into general computing, I would strongly not recommend them for a power user. The same logic applies to iOS, they aren't focused on the power of the phones, nor are they interested in getting powerful applications and content for their device. They want to be in complete control of everything so grandma can't make a mistake and buy her son porn, or break her device. The reason I like Android is because of the lack of super strict control, and if we could implement an outershell for gaming then the same devices that we use to communicate with others can also be the ultimate gaming device.

This is the perfect chance for the gaming industry to create a new mobile gaming revolution with Android. Devs need to program the game to implement controls from more than one type of hardware, Valve should bring steam to android, and bring with it a marketplace for quality gaming titles, along with hardware creators to create cases for the many different phones on the market place, and while the technology is a bit expensive and new, Thunderbolt can already allow desktop video cards to run from a case to your notebook. If people have the money then why not implement Thunderbolt technology into future smartphones to give phones much more power while connected to the Outershell? I wouldn't be surprised if I see something like that in a couple of years, with laptop graphic cards. While tablets and phones will not replace the desktop for general use, I can see Valve having using the same steam software and games for android phones, that they use on linux. The post dedicated gaming handheld era will begin soon, and I personally could not be more excited.

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