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Why Has No One Made a Great Gaming Phone?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the holding-an-xbox-to-your-ear dept.

Communications 303

andylim writes "According to Engadget, John Koller, Sony's head of PlayStation marketing, recently said that 'Apple's entrance into the portable gaming space has been a net positive for Sony. When people want a deeper, richer console, they start playing on a PSP.' What's odd though is that everyone knows that the mobile phone gaming market is a huge and yet neither Sony nor Nintendo has made a gaming phone yet. Recombu.com thinks that Nokia could enter the space with PSP-like devices and it has come up with a concept phone called the Ovi Orion, which would bridge the gap between phone and console, 'If the iPhone is Wii, then Ovi Orion would be Xbox and offer Xbox Live style features. A serious gaming phone for serious gamers.'"

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Because (5, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985650)

Because phones are for TALKING. :P

Re:Because (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985740)

Really so. I buy a phone for talking and texting, same as most of the people I know. They may have a fancier phone but this is about all they do with it. Keep the cheap phones for making phone calls and the game computers for playing games.

Re:Because (5, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985892)

Really so. I buy a phone for talking and texting, same as most of the people I know. They may have a fancier phone but this is about all they do with it. Keep the cheap phones for making phone calls and the game computers for playing games.

Why a one-size-fits-all mentality? Why not use your cell phone for calls and texting, and others can use their "phones" for games, calls, texting, surfing, whatever else they want to do with it.

I know people who basically don't use their home PC anymore. Anything they want to do (email, facebook, casual games, watching videos, streaming music), they can do from their smartphone. Not my style, but good for them. I don't think they should be held back just because I only use my phone for calls and the occasional text message.

Re:Because (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986058)

And browsing is especially good to have on phones. No, I wouldn't use it for basic surfing because it's nowhere as nice as computer, but it has been really helpful in many situations where I wasn't at home or workplace. Or the rare case where I had to look up my ISP's adsl modem settings from the internet as I reset the settings and forgot to do it beforehand.

This is why iPhone "one-size-fits-all" is kind of bad too. Sure it's generally good for everyone, but you don't have the choice to choose like with other manufacturers. Nokia, HTC and others have many models to choose from exactly the one that suits you best.

The usual "phone is just for calling and texting" rant is stupid. People have different needs.

LOLZ FACEBOOK 'N TWITTER!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986418)

Lolol look @ da front page & all the icons so u can facebook it! OR BETTER yet tweet it lulz!! Slashdot is gettin so cah-ute! ^_^ and up wit da times ;) ;)

Re:Because (4, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986102)

I use my phone for texting, web, facebook, twitter, maps/navigation, ssh, games, exercise/nutrition tracking, barcode scanning, comparison shopping and whatever else takes my fancy. I make an actual voice call maybe once a week, so it's one of the least important features for me (although it does have to work of course).

People are different and have different needs. Although to be honest there's very little chance I'd buy some kind of specialised gaming phone.

Re:Because (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986284)

One of the least important features as you say but you wouldn't keep the device in your pocket without it.

Now your pockets are bulging (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986402)

Keep the cheap phones for making phone calls and the game computers for playing games.

One device for browsing the web, one for playing music, one for watching video, one for playing games, and one for making calls. Now your pockets are bulging, even if they are all tethered over Bluetooth. The only big benefit I can see of having several pocket-size devices is that the cheaper phones don't require a data plan, which means cheaper service if you don't make a lot of calls.

Re:Because (2, Funny)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986560)

Really so. I buy a phone for talking and texting, same as most of the people I know.

No no, phones are for talking. Tele-P-H-O-N-E. Sound only. No texting allowed. Heretic!

Re:Because (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985762)

This is why Sony nor Nintendo should be looking to create a gaming phone, they should be looking to create PSP/DS with phone capabilities. Otherwise it's just going to fail.

Re:Because (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985834)

Because phones are for TALKING. :P

Sorry, what?

phone (n.) - Any small electronic device which you can carry with you. Older, obsolete models allowed vocal communication with other parties, though this was generally regarded as an optional feature.

(From Oxford English Dictionary, 2045 edition)

Re:Because (3, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985872)

Except when you are sitting on the toilet for 5 minutes, and want to play a quick little game to help take your mind off the digusting biological processes going on around you. Sure, there are other options, but not for true gamers. We game every chance we get.

Re:Because (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985900)

Because phones are for TALKING.

And GAMING phones are for SIDE TALKING.

This may be why they never quite caught on.

Re:Because (1)

semiotec (948062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986380)

Bring back my tacos!

Re:Because (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986016)

Mostly agree.

Games are for computers, whether that be a regular desktop/laptop, or a gaming system.

Phones are not gaming systems. Not to mention stuff like the battery life would need to be much much better.

In other words: Why can't my toaster play games?

Because it's a toaster.

Re:Because (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986372)

Nitpick: VIDEO games are for computers. I don't need a PC to play Kick the Can or Chess =)

Re:Because (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986286)

Err, what? My phone is primary a web browser and SMS toy that happens to do phone calls.

I see people play games on their phone all the time. Every phone is a gaming phone. I guess the author thinks gaming means 3D FPS and kiddies yelling profanity at each other to be 'real gaming.'

Re:Because (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986470)

No, your phone is a phone that you happen to use as a web browser and an SMS device.

I guess I should slowdown, cowboy.....commencing operation slowdown...NOW.

Two minutes between posts is lamer than a 2 legged horse, btw.

Re:Because (4, Interesting)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986314)

Specifically, they're designed for different interaction methods. A phone is meant to be used in one hand (zero, for handsfree), and held to the head (or in a pocket for handsfree). A gaming controller is meant to be held in two hands for maximum expressivness. A two-handed interface works best when the hands are relatively fare apart, meaning a set of controls on each end of a "stick" device, implying a horizontal interface. A one-handed device, or any device with a screen in general, is meant to be used vertically, so the screen is as far from the hands as possible, for maximum visibility.

Touch-screen interfaces are sub-optimal two, since you end up obscruring the display by using it.

Re:Because (3, Insightful)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986356)

Agreed. And where people tend to upgrade their phones more or less as often as they change underwear, a portable gaming console will have to last longer simply because of the investment in software people make. Just look at the media cost on the PSP to see why that is.
Besides, the high powered CPU and GPU needed for decent gaming would slurp a phone battery dry too fast, phones these days are expected to last at least a few days between recharging.

Re:Because (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986528)

And where people tend to upgrade their phones more or less as often as they change underwear,

And that, slashdotters, is why you have trouble getting a date. The only thing less likely to get you a woman than showing off your 'leet original motorola startac clamshell phone from 1996, is only changing your underwear when you upgrade.

That also has interesting attire implications for people whom don't own a cellphone. How does that joke go:
"So ... there's no cellphone worn under your kilt?" or something like that?

Re:Because (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986384)

Just like computers are for DOING MATH. [wikipedia.org] :P

Because phones are for TALKING. (2, Insightful)

gninnor (792931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986458)

We knew that were in a bad reception area when my wife bought her phone and so we asked which ones were known for better signal reception. She decided on the cute one instead. Fashion beat out function.

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986538)

My phone is for texting, checking the time, and playing sudoku at work. Otherwise, it has this nifty feature where it collects voice mail messages that I'm never going to listen to.

They did (4, Insightful)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985662)

There was a gaming phone a few years back. It flopped. No one revisited.

Re:They did (2, Informative)

Grindar (1470147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985698)

It was a phone called the N-gage, as I recall.

Re:They did (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985716)

Did you miss the "great" qualification?

Re:They did (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985772)

Have you seen one in person? They had an awful form.

Re:They did (1)

Thomic (793502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986184)

Yes, I owned one;) Actually it was Nokia's first N-series phone. I played mostly java and C64 games with it:)

Re:They did (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986578)

There was a gaming phone a few years back. It flopped. No one revisited.

It's a good thing that not everyone has that mindset.

Wilbur Wright: "Wouldn't it be great to build a flying machine?"
Orville Wright: "Did you hear about that guy Otto Lilenthal who tried to make one?"
Wilbur: "No, what happened?"
Orville: "He crashed and died."
Wilbur: "Oh well, then that proves it can't be done ever."
Orville: "Yup, lets get back to making this bicycle and never talk about flying ever again."

uh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985666)

"xbox" is "serious gaming"? according to whom? maybe if by "serious gamers" you mean "13 year olds who like to call each other mexican jew lizards while killing hookers".

serious gaming is and always has been on the PC.

Re:uh (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985820)

That was true 5 years ago, but lots has happened. Look at who is getting all the US localization of Cave shmups. The Xbox 360. Gaming doesn't get much more serious than a Cave shmup.

Re:uh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986094)

Well since you brought it up it is hard to miss the contradiction in terms inherent in pairing "serious" with "gaming". I mean, come on - a game is for fun and serious is for, well, not fun. Those two items don't go together. I think most of the time when we see them together they are euphemisms for something a bit more narcissistic or destructive. The "serious gamer" tends to:

1) game so much as to replace healthy socialization with images on a screen.
2) spend so much time gaming as to hurt their kids/family/jobs/education
3) Think that gaming can ever be serious

I can't see anyone calling themselves a "serious gamer" in any kind of a positive light. Now, I am sure some people use it to mean someone who really enjoys that one hour playing a quality game - almost like some folks really enjoy having 1 80 year old scotch. But I think the vast majority of the time it should be the "slacker who does nothing but play video games".

Wouldn't work (1)

decoy256 (1335427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985670)

We'd get gaming at the cost of losing good phone features.

Re:Wouldn't work (1)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985730)

exactly- the iPhone 9and Android to an extent) are popular because of the wide range of things they can do... I know I wouldn't give up high quality maps/gps for gaming on my phone. Building out a phone like that almost requires that you build a killer app store with it.

On the contrary (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985678)

I have an ngage you insensitive clod!

Re:On the contrary (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985778)

I think a rock would make a better paperweight, and probably costs less too. You should look into that Free Open Source Solution.

Re:On the contrary (1)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986148)

You have my condolences.

Re:On the contrary (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986154)

I have an ngage you insensitive clod!

How does it do as a paperweight?

Because... (4, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985706)

The kids who play the games can't afford the service plans or phones themselves...

Most adults have other things to do, or more powerful systems at home to play "serious" games on.

Re:Because... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985968)

I know a lot of middle aged people who own portable systems. Admittedly, they are usually the parents of kids who own powerful consoles.

I can think of at least 3 single moms that love their portables for just sitting down and relaxing during work breaks or when they get home to some gaming. They aren't hardcore gamers, but certainly do game.

Interestingly enough, I don't think any of them own cell phones.

Re:Because... (3, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986510)

I know a lot of middle aged people who own portable systems. Admittedly, they are usually the parents of kids who own powerful consoles.

I'm one of them, or at least I used to be. I owned a Nintendo DS Lite (Cobalt), and I liked it a lot. I bought it so I'd have something to keep me entertained during my step-son's day long wrestling matches. There's a lot of dead time between rounds. Then I found a lot of the same games were available for my iPod Touch for a fraction of the price. Besides, being "middle-aged" means that I don't really have a whole lot of time to play games anymore anyway--but gaming is going to be great when I retire! So same games for lower price, plus one less device to carry around, and no cartridges made dumping my DS Lite for my iPod a no-brainer. I've found the games on the iPod Touch to be at least as good quality wise as a PS One, which is fine for a middle-aged old school guy like myself.

Re:Because... (1)

b4k3d b34nz (900066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986128)

I have other things to do, but it's nice to have games when I'm sitting in the doctor's office, waiting to pick up a pizza, or sitting on the crapper. I certainly wouldn't complain about having a game with good graphics either.

Re:Because... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986306)

This is true. I carry my DS everywhere I go, but seldom find the time to spend more than 10min a day on it. When I get home, there's a dozen full sized consoles hooked up to a big TV in front of the couch.

Re:Because... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986332)

>Most adults have other things to do, or more powerful systems at home to play "serious" games on.

Or the adults dont want to pay EA 20 dollars for the phone version of Battlefield or whatever and also 60 dollars for the full PC version.

There's already a market for free/super cheap phone games. If anything "phones" are the most popular gaming platform. Trying to upsell us to 3D FPS and more expensive phones, and expensive software is just a failed market strategy.

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985718)

I don't want to be beaten by my phone.

Why not go the other way (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985722)

But why not go the other way? Integrate phone capabilities to PSP or DS. It's a lot easier than creating a new platform which can never really live up to those two.

Nokia did already try it, but it lost to PSP and DS. It was semi-popular with guys in my country and at my age, but I didn't really felt like getting one. And there really wasn't any good games.

Re:Why not go the other way (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986014)

It would be good for download games, especially if they bundled the transfer fee into the cost of buying the game, with no monthly contract.

You're going about it the wrong way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985756)

Why couldn't i use my PSP as a phone?

Re:You're going about it the wrong way: (2, Insightful)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985996)

Why couldn't i use my PSP as a phone?

Actually, the PSP does support voIP via Skype; at least it used to - I had the second gen PSP. I'm not sure what the newer models support.

Not necessary. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985758)

If you're gaming on a portable, you've already sacrificed a ton of graphics. You're not going to get anything with a "wow" factor. The fact is that a DS gives you pretty much all the power you need to make a good game. If you can't do it, your problem isn't hardware.

Even something like a Droid Eris is probably sufficient. Not a lot of reason to buy dedicated hardware.

Re:Not necessary. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986050)

Golden Sun still "Wow"s me.

Re:Not necessary. (3, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986390)

Agreed. Many times, graphics isn't about how advanced your engine is, but how creative you are with it. Still, probably my favorite graphics of all time are Okami, a fairly mid-budget PS2 game that blows away the graphics of most 360 and PS3 titles I see. The creators decided to go in an incredibly artistic direction with their graphics, but did them in sutch a way that they didn't require a lot of horsepower. In fact, the shots of the DS sequel (yes, that's right, DS), is remarkably similar, and the DS is one of the most underpowered devices out there. It's not how advanced your graphical power is, it's what you do with it.

Golden Sun is a dream too.

I'd love it (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985770)

I'd love a gaming platform that I could still voice chat on (maybe VoIP only, and just pipe a 3G data plan to the device?), but the telecos are a pretty large barrier to entry.

Re:I'd love it (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986044)

Apple just released the ban on this the other day. Skype and AOL have already readied their apps, they should be launched within the next few weeks.

Is there really a need? (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985774)

I'd rather keep my phone/sms/chat separate from my game play. To play on the go needs something a bit larger and more tactile than an iPhone... the PSP is nice but I'd never stick it in my pocket on a night out. Plus, and particularly with the iPhone, a couple of hours playing games and your battery would be dust. Not only putting an end to game play but taking down your comms as well. Personally - when travelling the PSP is great (especially for the kids), if its a long time away from the PS3/Wii then I'll take a laptop.

Re:Is there really a need? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986112)

the PSP is nice but I'd never stick it in my pocket on a night out.

the night out opens the door to a whole new world of gaming for the geek. assuming his batteries are at full charge.

Re:Is there really a need? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986530)

I wish tethering 'just worked'. My phone has an unlimited data connection, wifi, and bluetooth. Data doesn't interfere with the phone's ability to make/receieve calls. My GPS should be talking to my phone to get traffic info. My DS or PSP should be asking my phone for a net connection so I can play on-line. My laptop should be able to talk to my phone for a net connection if nothing's around. My camera should talk to my phone to auto-upload pics to my FTP site. Then we wouldn't need a 'game phone' or whatever.

Quoted for the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985804)

As stated in the summary, "the iPhone is wee".

Seriously, it does nothing that high-end asian PDAs haven't done for almost a decade (and costs as much today as those did back then).

Re:Quoted for the truth (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986516)

Different way to look at it: why do people want 50" plasma TV sets? Because they don't want to squint at a 7" or a 13" TV. I find watching a movie on the iPhone is equally disappointing. I can see the idea, I can understand the plot, I can hear the dialog, but I cannot get the experience.

So who wants to "game" on an iPhone? I'd never want to play Bioshock or Portal on the tiny screen. Bioshock would be exactly this scary: *boo*. Portal would be exactly this humorous: *ha ha*.

Different kinds of games such as solitare, sudoku, that kind of puzzle stuff, they're all great on the iPhone, because it's a different type of gaming. In real life nobody buys Scrabble HD Edition, or Wide Screen Edition Triominos. They're not needed. This is just the same thing in reverse.

meh. (5, Insightful)

milkmage (795746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985806)

serious gaming? on a mobile device? c'mon. games on a phone are at best, distractions or time killers (babysitters).

the LAST thing I want to do is get heavy into a game and get a fucking call.

Re:meh. (1)

JcMorin (930466) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986142)

"the LAST thing I want to do is get heavy into a game and get a fucking call." Hehe funny!

Incredibly subjective article (2, Insightful)

cjeze (596987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985808)

Great can be measured in many ways, you need to specify what way/how you want to measure great phone.

I'm sure there are plenty iPhone users out there that believe they have an amazing gaming phone,

heck, even I with my old Nokia and Tetris thought I had a great game phone.

Because .... (5, Insightful)

phoxix (161744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985856)

You can buy a DS/PSP without a freaking multi-year ass-rape contract.

Buying a gaming console should never be a long term financial decision.

Re:Because .... (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986420)

Buying a gaming console should never be a long term financial decision.

I feel the same way about phones.

Not the way to go, jamming things together (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985858)

Sometime streamlined/less is better, right?

Does your alarm clock really need a radio in it?

Re:Not the way to go, jamming things together (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986436)

does your clock really need that alarm in it :P who wants to get up for work anyways.

Because gaming isn't cool enough (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985882)

Despite gaming trying so hard to convince itself it's the greatest thing ever, gaming isn't cool enough to have a phone that looks like a controller of some sorts.

I've had a few ideas I've toyed with under the assumption I would patent it but patents are expensive, I don't see myself being a patent troll and I couldn't even fucked to pay to get a mock up done.

But I do believe the key is to make it not look like a gaming device while having decent controls and it can't be too delicate so it can handle some gaming over excitement.

Single Purpose Devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985896)

Companies prefer to sell you dozens of single-purpose devices, rather than one device that does it all. There's more money to be made that way.

What I want is a single portable device that is all the portable devices combined into one, and when I get it home I can dock it into a "workstation shell" so that it becomes my home PC. The workstation shell has extras that aren't portable (DVD burner, dual monitors, a larger hard drive that contains files that I don't need to haul around wherever I go). Additionally, it could dock with other shells, so my home computer would become my work computer when I get to the office and dock it there. Ideally, it would also have a laptop shell I could dock it into for when I'm on the road.

A guy can dream, can't he?

The great irony is... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985934)

... why haven't console makers displaced phone makers by making their own portable phone hybrid handheld? They have all the background necessary to make a killer phone that could wipe out most other phones.

Re:The great irony is... (5, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986326)

Not really. Phones and game devices use vastly different technology, and even more vastly different infrastructure. Infrastructure is the most complicated part of making phones. Working out networks, contracts, etc. By comparison, the infrastructure for game devices is a walk in the park. When you make a phone, you're somewhat beholden to the phone companies which hold all the cards. Game hardware manufacturers control their own infrastructures, like XBox Live and Playstation ("home" is it called? I don't have a PS3). Also, the interface designs and hardware functionality is quite different. It's not particularly intuitive to combine a phone with a gaming handheld and not lose a bit of one side in the process. You hold them differently, the speakers locations for each are not ideal for each other, handhelds usually sacrifice some portability for ergonomics, phones must maintain an even smaller form factor. The two are really very different devices. The fact that they have screens and are essentially computers is the only major similarities. The control systems that are typically ideal for handhelds don't really make much sense for a phone. So then you either have tacked-on gaming controls which take up more space than your phone functionality needs, or you sacrifice gaming control to make up for the portability that a phone needs.

That's why contextual control devices like the iPhone are probably the MOST ideal. They're deffinitely not perfect, but they do both things relatively well without sacrificing too much. Now its a up to the game manufacturers to create control systems that are ideal to the non-tactile nature of the device. For instance, I've played a few very playable platformers on the iPhone like Soosiz (which uses large virtual left, right and jump buttons), Bounce On (which utilizes the tilt functionality of the iPhone remarkably well, for control). But on the flip side, Sega's port of Sonic the Hedgehog (which simply places a tiny virtual D-Pad) is almost entirely unplayable. This isn't Apple's fault, it's Sony's fault. Bounce On and Soosiz are both very similar to Sonic, and they play extremely well, so it can be done.

Why? (2, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985986)

Because I have a large wide screen TV attached to my consoles at home, multiple computers in my house running multiple OS'es, a DS, a PSP, an iPod Touch, and yes a MAME cabinet. I don't need my phone to play any games. I barely use my iPod Touch to play games, and that seems crazy to some people. Maybe because I'm a 'serious' gamer (as named by various media and/or gaming companies) as opposed to all this talk of 'casual' gaming. If you want real gaming, toss your DS or whatever in your car, or grab a backpack/messenger bag/stylish-bag-of-your-choice and pop it in. I carry my Blackberry and iPod around without problem.

Clearly I need more caffeine or something. And get off my lawn. Damn, when did I get old?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985994)

How many serious gamers want to play games on a massive 2 inch screen? Show of hands?
Now if there was some sort of heads up display technology involved I would consider it.

Re:Really? (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986562)

*raises hand*

There is more to games than the resolution they are played at. Unless you equate "serious" with "twitch FPS."

Sony's scared (2, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986008)

Phones and Games mix about as well as SPAM and Phad Thai. Really, the only seemless way of doing this is to create a contextual device that changes from one to the other seemlessly... wait... we already have that, it's called the iPhone. And it's the most rapidly growing gaming platform on the market. With titles outselling the PSP about 20:1. Now, it's getting handheld console ports like Broken Sword, Spore, Myst, Super Monkey Ball, and on and on. With capacity and processing power that outdoes the PSP, Sony really should be worried. And they are, but this kind of speak that their using in the above quote reaks of double-talk spawned by latent fear. Basically, they realize they're in trouble, and their trying to make it sound like everyone is jumping on board with the PSP from the iPhone... but where are the numbers? The PSP hasn't had any major sales increases, in fact, I've heard that their numbers are falling. This is all speculation, wishfull thinking, and advertising on Sony's part.

The big hurdle is control. Buttons are always very nice for many kinds of games, though finger-pad is really nice for other things, and stylus is great for other things. Adding a d-pad to a smartphone is going to be either combersomb or unneccessary or both. There are games with extrodinary control systems on the iPhone, and there are games with terrible control systems. Same goes for the PSP. But I honestly don't think control system is going to be a big loss for people when the games are 1/4 of the price, run smoother, and are more portable.

Sony should be scared, and it's fairly clear that they already are.

Re:Sony's scared (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986230)

I am old enough to remember people wondering whether someone would ever come up with a game control system that took advantage of the mouse.

Re:Sony's scared (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986456)

Yes, and as good as mouse-keyboard control systems are, console titles (which use simple joy pads) outsell PC games like 3:1. Which either means that people don't care about control (which I would say is false), OR more likely, developers have learned how to utilize what control systems they're given, to an extent that most times, people aren't bothered by either.

It's all about what you do with the control scheme's you're given.

A serious gaming phone for serious gamers (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986026)

Same reason no one has made a serious fart machine for serious teenagers.

HELL YES! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986076)

That would be awesome. I was just texting a friend about this the other day while on my regular commute on I-95*. He said it nobody would use a phone for games when they have much better graphics at home. Then I pointed out how many people were stuck in this bumper to bumper traffic each day. I mean, there's only so many people you can talk to between the beltway and Manassas. I tried reading but it just wasn't, well, engaging enough to command my attention and I found myself getting bored.

I know that the whole gravity-sensor-tilt thing is hot with the kids, but it might just be worth it to get a stationary mount on the dash, and some bluetooth buttons that would clip onto the steering wheel. I'm all about safety, and to play those tilt games properly takes both hands way too often. Then again, I can text pretty well while driving with my knees, so maybe it's not a big deal once you get used to it.

.
.
.
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*of course I don't live or drive anywhere near there, but you get the idea.

Re:HELL YES! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986432)

I know that the whole gravity-sensor-tilt thing is hot with the kids, but it might just be worth it to get a stationary mount on the dash, and some bluetooth buttons that would clip onto the steering wheel. I'm all about safety, and to play those tilt games properly takes both hands way too often. Then again, I can text pretty well while driving with my knees, so maybe it's not a big deal once you get used to it.

On behalf of the other people on the road with you, drive your damned car, and don't play with your video game or anything else that divides your attention from the road.

I can't tell you how often I see some tool behind me texting on his Blackberry, reading the news paper, or assembling some bit of Ikea furniture. Usually they're driving erratically and cutting people off because they're only marginally paying attention to the road. I don't want to get slammed into by some idiot who thinks he can have both of his thumbs on his Blackberry and still actually be driving the car.

I wonder how often after an accident someone ends up hiding their phone so it's not obvious that they caused the accident in the first place? There's a reason lots of places are banning use of a handheld device while you're driving.

It's the buy and chuck mentality (1)

sarysa (1089739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986108)

May not be true for this crowd, but the general public* has a buy-and-chuck mentality with their phones. They buy the latest and greatest device, watch a generation or two of "latest and greatest" devices dethrone their device, and end up buying that when their contract expires. Knowing this, they're not going to spend more than $10 on a game, let alone $35. (average DS release price)

*General public in this case refers to people who actually buy games on their phones, and these people generally don't get the free(with contract) phones.

iphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986114)

for the non anti-Mac people

Phone tech still not there for full games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986144)

We will see more games on phones as tech gets more powerful/efficient. The phone environment is tough. People want 5+ hours of active battery life, doing almost computer class tasks, in a package the size of a deck of cards. The market is highly saturated and competitive. The user control on any phone for games is still not as good as dedicated platforms. A DS or PSP copied phone would be too big and heavy. If Nintendo or Sony really wanted to get into it they wouldn't be able to completely control the platforms like they more or less do on their consoles as well.They would have to be subject to wireless providers such as Verizon and ATT. Finally, games on phones need to be cheap. I don't think people would pay $30-60 for a cell phone game. At least not for a while.

Why so serious... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986168)

"A serious gaming phone for serious gamers."

Am I the only one who chuckled at this? There is nothing serious about a gaming phone, unless you call bedazzled or solitaire serious gaming.

Lifespan (2, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986170)

... because the lifespan of a cell phone has been around 2 years so far and no developers wants to invest in building apps for a platform that people throw in the trash every time they switch carriers...

Please don't (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986212)

There is enough crap on my phone. In fact, the iPhone has so many apps and games for it that Apple had to make a larger model called an iPad :P

Serious gamers? (3, Informative)

xxuserxx (1341131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986220)

Serious gamers use a PC. Anything else might as well be Learning with Elmo.

Re:Serious gamers? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986448)

No, serious gamers play in arcades.

Portable Starcraft 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986226)

Give Koreans a portable version of Starcraft 2, and I promise you that within a month Shenzhen will crank out the most bad-assed cellphone / gaming handheld.

How 'bout the iPhone? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986232)

I don't know what you mean with a 'gaming phone' but the iPhone does a pretty good job playing games. It has OpenGL 2.0 and a fast enough processor to play a bunch of games incl. high-end like Spore, Need for Speed etc.

What you should ask is: why has nobody made a great game for a phone and the answer is obvious: the devices are too small (you don't want to walk around with an iPad-sized phone), they don't support any type of controller (see yourself walking around with an Xbox controller or keyboard/mouse?) and even if they did, it would be useless anywhere but at home where you're much better off with a continuously connected computer/console.

There are some great gaming devices out there like the Nintendo DS or PSP but they're way too big and heavy to be considered a viable phone. They're in the category of portable game - when you're on a trip in the car/bus/train or laying in a bed/couch, not portable as in put it in your pocket and nobody notices.

What we're waiting for is a screen that is able to fold/roll out to a viable size (12") or project in thin air like those old 3D laser movie shows.

Re:How 'bout the iPhone? (1, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986428)

No d-pad. Instant gaming fail.

Re:How 'bout the iPhone? (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986504)

Not neccessarilly. There are many games on the DS that hardly use the D-Pad, and I've found very playable control-heavy games on the iPhone, where I don't really even notice after playing for about 5 minutes. It's all about how you use the control schemes you have been given.

The biggest problem with the iPhone is that there's no standard in control schemes. Some companies do extremely well, and some are terrible at it.

Problems with the iPhone: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986550)

- no dedicated gaming buttons: a "touch" style interface is terrible for any game more complex than brain age
- unreliable: when i want to play a game, i just turn on my DS and go, with the iphone it just takes too long and is too unreliable, plus it kills the batteries too quickly

Because we don't need people driving and playing (2, Insightful)

mykhailjw (910121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986270)

Just what we all need, one more thing for people to do while behind the wheel of a vehicle besides actually driving.

Almost an oxymoron. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986334)

The reason nobody has made a great gaming phone, IMO, is because the criteria for "great gaming device" and "great phone" are so at odds with each other.

For a phone, you want to ensure that the primary use (communicating with people) is always available -- you don't want the battery to run down because if it does, you're screwed in an emergency. For a gaming device, you don't want the design to discourage people from gaming all they want. For a phone, you want the usability of the core functions (sending and receiving communications) to be as trivial and obvious as possible. For a gaming device, you want enough input options that a variety of types of games are easily supportable.

I do not expect Nintendo or Sony to try to make a great gaming phone, because if they did, I'm sure it would fail in the marketplace. And I'm sure they see that.

Now, what should they do? IMO, they should make it so their portable platforms can use other mobile devices.

Specifically, for example, how about some bluetooth headset support? There are a lot of bluetooth headsets out there. Can I bond them to your device to use both for audio output and spoken input? The Nintendo DSi has speakers and a microphone, and headphone jacks. But if I'm already using a bluetooth headset because of my phone, why not let me share that headset with my gaming device?

Another example: bluetooth PAN support. When wireless iPhone tethering is turned on, this is how it will work, and there are other phones that do this too. It's great if your gaming device can be a wifi client, but that's not the best way to get connectivity from most phones. Bluetooth is better for this for a variety of reasons.

Reason: Power (1)

kregg (1619907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986352)

Games require alot of power and communication with cellular networks do too. At the moment, you don't care if your DS or PSP runs out of battery but it is a bit more of an issue with a phone which you may need in an emergency.

Because the market is to small and fragmented (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986376)

The DS is the DS, the PSP is the PSP, but what exactly is a phone? Both the hand holds are designed for gaming and nothing else. They suck as phones or even as computers. But a smartphone has for a long time been hampered by the need to have a keypad. That keypad is fine for dialing a number but sucks for gaming input where handhelds TEND to have buttons on both sides because you hold the device with both hands. So, how are you going to create a phone that is both a high quality phone worthy of its high price AND good for general gaming AND a big enough success to have development for its design?

the nGage is the anser, you don't. The ngage failed because it was a lousy phone design and that lousy design made it a lousy handheld design and that lousy design meant no existing proper games worked on it and that meant only java games were half-heartedly ported for it that could run on any decent phone.

And the problem ain't really just with phones, MP3 players are lousy gaming platforms as well. Only with the iPhone that did away with the keys altogether managed to break this mold. And Apple is going to hit a limit really soon. Either they upgrade their phone and split the app market or they don't and become relics. The DS and PSP are by todays standards horribly underpowered. They can't upgrade to much, because who is going to produce a DS++ game for 1 million handhelds instead of DS game for millions more?

That is the final answer why there is no gaming phone, phones advance to fast to develop for. Develop a 1 year title starting at launch and the phone will be hopelessly obsolete.

Re:Because the market is to small and fragmented (1)

matrixskp (629075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986584)

That is the final answer why there is no gaming phone, phones advance to fast to develop for. Develop a 1 year title starting at launch and the phone will be hopelessly obsolete.

I guess a smart company would develop an OS that would allow you to change the hardware underneath without having to redevelop all the applications and development tools, and also release the development tools before the devices. And to answer the question posed in the title... Apple makes a great gaming phone, its called iPhone. Maybe you should have asked the question "When will the power of mobile chips match gamers unquenchable thirst for CPU and graphics horsepower?" and we all know the answer to that already.

Okay, let me get this straight... (2, Interesting)

Roogna (9643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986434)

If you're a company and you're putting out a product, which of these two product markets would you rather be? The Wii (iPhone according to the Ovi Orion article), or the XBox (their supposedly spiffy idea). Hmm... Massively huge gigantic market selling at a profit or Middling market that started out selling as a loss leader. Choices, choices, choices.

Perhaps that simple market comparison itself right there is why no one has bothered again with a "gaming" phone. Heck, even comparing portable gaming units. Which would you want to sell, the DS with it's again, gigantic huge massive casual market? Or the PSP with it's middling "hardcore" market? Now the true gamers most likely have both, I know my household does. But the casual gamer, of which there are a great many more? They've got the DS if they've got one at all.

Nokia already tried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986616)

...Nokia tried with the N-Gage and missed the mark. I would be all for it if a Nintendo DS phone or a PSP phone came out.

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