By Astor Sonnen
While innovation in technology continues to create new and exciting ways to make our lives easier, let’s take a moment to consider the pieces of technology that have been lost along the way. In particular, let’s look at the fate of a piece of design that was once dear to my heart…
Last week, Sony announced that it is going to stop shipping its landmark PSP console. Whilst the PSP itself is not something I was particularly attached to, I was attached to the handheld gaming consoles of old. Nintendo set the standards with the Game Boy in 1989, before providing us with a conveyor belt of devices and a plethora of games, which included famous names like Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Pikachu. It was a time of basic and fun gaming, and I defy anyone to make a game with a more satisfying theme tune than Nintendo’s original ‘8-bit Tetris’.
Mobiles are the biggest reason for the handheld gaming decline. Apple, HTC, Samsung and so on already make up a long list of companies producing phones that are more powerful than handheld consoles. The effortlessness of transitioning between your Twitter feed and a game or, just the stigma attached to an adult playing a games console on the train, means sales have been declining. King Dedede and his hammer have been hovering over the nail in the coffin for a while.
Arguably, the lack of competition has also led to the market demise. Only Sony and Nintendo currently produce handheld systems, and the two companies are targeting different consumers. Some would say it’s difficult to stay innovative when there isn’t anything to keep driving you forward. The mobile gaming market is now the leader when it comes to ‘gaming on the go,’ and with the Internet of Things becoming more and more prominent, it’s unlikely that any company will see a handheld console, which is purely designed for gaming, as a worthwhile investment.
So whilst some will argue that the handheld gaming era had already ended with the introduction of the iPhone, Sony’s announcement does mean that the end is perhaps now clearly visible on the horizon – a sad occasion for any 90’s gamer. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the gaming of old, or maybe, I just really still like Pokémon.