PlayStation tried. I mean, they really did. At its launch, the PlayStation Vita was a powerhouse handheld that Sony touted as the only dedicated handheld of the time that could take home console experiences on the road. To be fair, they were close! Start playing on your PS3 or PS4 and continue on the road with Vita! That’s what we were promised and to a degree, that’s what we got. But we were so limited. There were so many hurdles. Remote play dependent on a wireless connection, not every game could be remote played, memory card and storage limitations, two copies of a single game, cross save, lack of all of the shoulder buttons, and on and on.
PlayStation was on the right path but they came upon many roadblocks and imperfect features when trying to marry separately developed devices as one gaming experience. Now the Vita has been discontinued in North America and its support in the West has almost all dried up. Thankfully Japan still supports the Vita but as it is, a handheld device with handheld games.
Enter Nintendo’s Switch! The time has finally come! True on the go console gaming experiences will finally be available to us in March 2017. Who knows if Nintendo learned any lessons from Sony’s failures but they surely look to be on the right path. Instead of two machines trying to do one job, the Switch is one machine, doing the job of two – a home console and a portable. And it looks like it’ll do a great job at it too.
Powered by NVIDIA tech, the Switch will allow gamers to use one unit and hook it up to your TV via a dock or take it on the go anywhere. Unlike the portable console gaming experience that PlayStation tried to give via remote play, the portable part of Nintendo’s Switch is in fact the console itself. The screen, processor, the game card slot, and all the buttons and tech you need are a part of the portable device. While early rumors seem to suggest that the dock may have additional processing power, it’s not necessary to keep your game going from the TV to the street in a matter of second. There’s no need to be tethered to a WiFi signal to mirror your home console’s screen and controls. No need to upload your game save to the cloud and then redownload them again for your portable version of a game. The portable unit is the console and will play full console games on the go.
PlayStation doesn’t look like they’re in any rush to get back into the portable gaming business after what some consider to be a failure with the Vita; Especially now that PS4 is their bread and butter plus the new VR venture that they have invested in is taking off fairly well. With that chapter in Sony’s history just about closed, for gamers who want that true on-the-go console gaming experience, Nintendo looks to be the savior. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Vita still and it has great handheld games. However, it never really pulled off that console gaming experience that we were all hoping for to the degree that we wanted.
Obviously, we have to wait and see what the details are and hopefully Nintendo has looked at their past along with those of their competitors and learned from the mistakes made while creating the Switch. Hopefully this will be a dream come true for those of us who want to have that big gaming experience while under our covers in our bed, on the road, or yes… even on the toilet (make sure to wash your hands)!
I don’t know about you but I for one can’t wait for more details on the Switch and this portable option could prove to be a huge deciding factor for what console I play my multiplatform games on.
What about you? How big is console gaming on the go for you? Is this something that could sway you from one console to another? Sound off in the comments below!