For the people that grew up with any of Nintendo’s Game Boy consoles, spending over 100 hours on a game wasn’t uncommon. Despite often being a generation or so behind graphically, the best of the Game Boy allowed gamers to engross themselves in an epic adventure.

In more recent times, the development of smartphones has massively changed how we play games. For one thing, over 80% of the world’s population now own a smartphone. Developers now have a much wider audience to market their games at but has it resulted in those huge adventures becoming a thing of the past?

What are people playing on their phones?

In a previous era, a gamer could use a mobile phone to play Snake. For gamers in 2022, they have a massive library of games on their smartphone. Many choose to play something that aims to replicate their favorite casino game. Poker, blackjack and roulette all have a huge presence online. With a visit to a casino still being a popular activity for so many, you can see why many mobile casinos such as have found themselves with a huge player base.

Research indicates that around 120 million people play poker online. This means it has a player base comparable with most traditional games consoles. New versions of the game are constantly being created online, only adding to its popularity.

Nintendo’s impact on the handheld market

When it comes to handheld consoles, Nintendo’s impact has been enormous. The Game Boy Color launched in 1998, and together with the original Game Boy, they sold over 100 million units. Their later DS console was also hugely popular. It was even more successful., becoming the best-selling handheld game console of all time. The DS had several different types of games that were aimed at all sections of society. Some loved Metroid Prime Hunters, but others preferred the likes of Nintendogs. Both were huge hits, but one would indicate the future direction of many handheld and mobile games.

Sony tried to rival Nintendo with the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and later the PlayStation Vita. Both consoles had their fans but neither quite had the impact that Sony had hoped. In the end, Sony dropped out of the handheld market to focus their attention on their main consoles.

The launch of the Nintendo Switch

Following Nintendo’s less successful 3DS and Wii U consoles, many were wondering about the direction they would go in. They responded with the Switch. A key selling point has been the console allowing you to play as a traditional home console and also as a handheld. The brave decision to do this was a wise one. The original Switch console has already managed to sell over 80 million units. They also released the Switch Lite, a purely handheld console. This alone has sold over 17 million units and perhaps shows the demand for a handheld console.

Where will handheld gaming go in the future?

The fact that Nintendo allowed for their Switch console to be used as a handheld has perhaps shown there is still demand to play longer-form games on the go. New entries to Nintendo’s biggest franchises have all received positive reviews, with many enjoying them on the Switch Lite.

The graphical prowess of smartphones is constantly improving, but it remains to be seen if developers will utilize the technology and create an epic adventure style game. The success of games like Angry Birds perhaps shows that many mobile gamers prefer shorter pick up and play style games. Could this success come at the expense of more traditional games behind created for mobile devices?