sponsored bannersponsored banner

The Future of Handheld Gaming

6 min

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron
The Future of Handheld Gaming
Find out what's new in store for the handhelds

When Nintendo released the Game Boy in 1989, it revolutionised how video game players would experience content. While other companies had attempted to transfer the entertainment from bulky consoles and arcade machines into a compact, handheld device, they were simply unable to replicate the sleek graphics, charming sounds, and most importantly the robust exterior of the Game Boy, which released some classic games like Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, and Yakuman.

Then, at the turn of the millennium, Sony released the PlayStation Portable (PSP) a console that was far ahead of its time. The action that players had experienced on their PlayStation consoles was now available in the handheld format, with a wider screen and revolutionary analog stick, which changed the way players could move.

While the ambitious Playsation Vita never quite replicated that success, these handheld machines paved the way for gaming, and with so many advancements in technology, it’s easy to see why portable gaming is back on the rise.

Indeed, the rise of social media and the demand for on-demand content that can be accessed anywhere in the world, has meant that gamers value that accessibility more than anything when selecting which games to play. There are a variety of modern machines that have been upgraded with the latest developers honing their craft, and the industry is suddenly bursting with innovation.

We expect the boom of handheld gaming to continue as players slowly transition into a cartridge-free metaverse of action, as plenty of new companies try and stamp their authority to compete with Sony and Nintendo. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best handheld gaming consoles and see which ones could dominate the market for years to come. Read on to find out more.

Nintendo Switch

Let’s start with the most popular handheld console on the market, the Nintendo Switch. Released as a predecessor of the Nintendo DS, perhaps the company's most popular console, the Switch came out in 2017 to a flurry of interest, allowing players to not only play on their TV but to combine the controllers to act as a remote device. This hybrid method of gaming allowed players to take console-worthy graphics on the road with them, accessing popular titles like Super Mario Bros and Zelda into remastered formats.

The Switch has sold almost 150 million copies and with Nintendo recently breaking its silence over the release of a second console, anticipation is high, with the company’s president Shuntaro Furukawa promising an announcement before March 2025.

Asus ROG Ally

Asus has put its own spin on the handheld gaming world when they brought out the ROG Ally last year. Regarded as the next big thing in the world of portable gaming, this slightly bigger device, which has over eight hours of battery, has been in development for over five years and is winning players over for its strong performance despite still being in its infancy - operating as more of a steam deck than a console.

On the ROG Ally, players can experience a range of titles after integrating Windows 11 software to stream games with optimised graphics settings, allowing for a full portfolio of games from Call of Duty to Grand Theft Auto. With a store that can rival the top mobile casino apps in the US and a web browser to access social media, the ROG is certainly breaking ground in the industry, however it commands a pretty high price, with devices costing upwards of £600.

Steam OLED Deck

When the rise of online gaming and competitive tournaments meant that players could build entire careers off of video games, Steam became the go-to platform for competing with consoles. It was inevitable the company would then leverage that popularity and create their own hardware, with the OLED Deck allowing players to login to their accounts and access their library of games away from the PC or laptop.

The Steam Deck has 30-50% more battery life than its competitors and is integrated with Wifi 6E, to allow players optimised bandwidth and lower latency, meaning they will lag less when playing online. This also means games can download faster while their stability remains intact. Expect plenty of updates in the near future for those that are still concerned with any performance issues.

Overall, Nintendo has paved the way for how handheld gaming can perform, but you wonder how long before the baton will be passed to an all encompassing solution in one of the streaming devices.

New players want different things and while creating an interesting story to take on the road with you in order to kill a few hours used to be enough, the demand for short-form, quick-paced online content from players has meant an increased need to stream games and the new wave of devices seem to be a sign of the times and the direction that gamers are heading for. It’s certainly sad for Nintendo aficionados but it will be interesting to see just how far these new consoles go.

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron