The casual gaming market has typically been found in handheld devices as throughout modern console cycles, the handheld devices have always typically been cheaper and had a certain style of game that is played on them. This has changed in recent years however with mobile devices becoming a primary form of gaming too, but it may provide an opportunity for the handheld gaming market to change.
Much as it had been on handheld, the gaming market is primarily formed of casual and hyper casual games as a changing demographic has come with an older audience that typically wouldn’t play games very quickly becoming the primary consumer – the gap has closed by removing the barrier of cost, without the requirement of spending hundreds on a new console and games, the phone market has propped itself up for this change. However the game genres that are played are typically very different, although puzzle and arcade are still popular there has been a huge surge in popularity for mobile casinos on mobile devices, despite changes to regulation there are also a growing number of services to players unable to access some sites too as UK players can still play USA casinos despite the region difference and serves as a great example of the difference between mobile device gaming and traditional handheld options.
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As mentioned this does provide an opportunity for the handheld market as it may be able to define itself away from the more casual styled games and grow a market in the more enthusiast section of gaming like has been recently seen within the Nintendo Switch – if changes can be made for handheld to separate itself from similar styled games to mobile it may be easier for those on the fence to justify the cost. It may also be a little too late, however, as mobile gaming now makes up over 50% of all gaming on all platforms, unless there is a newer handheld platform close and on the way it may be difficult to capture an audience any time over the next few years, especially with how quickly our mobile devices are changing and how quickly new tech such as VR is being introduced. Similar has been speculated for bigger consoles such as the next gen offerings from Sony and Microsoft as there are many suggestions that despite the advancements made the price tag may turn some people away, especially when they’re able to play games on their phone all the same.
Either way, it’s a very interesting time if you’re a gamer on any platform as things are starting to move very quickly now that there’s a wider interest in the market as a whole, although the future for many may be in mobile gaming there is certainly now an opportunity for handheld to redefine itself, much in the way the Nintendo Switch has done, it may now just be to find a unique feature that can’t be replicated on modern mobile devices.