Over on the Discord Channel I got to thinking out loud again, and I realized I was on to something in the form of a brief article. In essence, the Nintendo Switch, providing console-quality portable gaming, has started to spoil me. While I still manage to get some time in with the non-portable types, generally PC games, or my docked Switch of course, as a working, commuting adult who is on a bus 8-10 hours a week, there isn’t much more for me to do in that time but to play video games. Actually let me clarify that – that time is locked down to play video games. I even put the cell phone in Airplane Mode.
As a recent homeowner and student in a first-year college course titled “Home-owning 101: How to spend all your time and money constantly,” gaming time is currently taking a dip while we get things settled and make repeated trips to Home F’ing Depot. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is very important to my sanity that I hang out with some vidya and leave the days’ events behind me.
Seriously, a day where I don’t relax a bit with some gaming is one that I mark on my calendar as “depressingly lackluster,” in a way that only a fellow gamer would understand. I don’t need to snort lines of pure concentrated video games for 9 straight hours, but I do need a little bump now and again.
However, lately, I have noticed a trend in my behavior. I read tons of video gaming news every day, release announcements, and all that. But whenever I read about something not on the Switch, Vita, or 3DS, I shrug my shoulders and mentally pass on the title. Now keep in mind that up until about two years ago, I was strictly a PC gamer, and now I won’t hardly touch anything that I can’t play at least somewhere else in the house.
Let’s face it – a lot of us spend the day sitting down in front of a computer, and I don’t want to have to do that anymore. It’s part of why I bought a Steam Link – so I can actually be comfortable when I play, and break the monotony of playing at a desk. But of course, that only works if the game doesn’t require you to use a mouse and keyboard.
With all of the exclusivity announcements being fired off into the gaming atmosphere lately, and having to pass on so many, there are several games that I’d really like to play. All of them happen to be PS4 exclusives, but the point also stands with Microsoft. The fact that they’re PS4 exclusive essentially means that I will never own them, because I’ll never buy a PS4.
With Sony presumably retiring from the dedicated handheld industry, what with the colossal screw up that was the western Vita, we can expect practically nothing good from them on the handheld front. Good work Sony, you doomed us all to be stuck to the couch for all eternity. The millions you sink into R&D is clearly paying dividends.
I could go on, but I’ve already fired enough shots at Sony.
On another corner of the weird love triangle of confusion is Microsoft, who is too busy trying to get players to lock themselves inside and strap things to their arms and head, while standing in front of a camera, dancing in their living room. I don’t want to do this in my living room, and I especially don’t want to do it on public transportation, because I need to be able to use public transportation.
I haven’t liked the direction that gaming’s been going for quite some time. While every other form of entertainment has the mission of allowing consumers to consume their content “anywhere and everywhere,” the gaming industry seems to think tethering players to a TV is the answer. Until, of course, the Switch came along and reminded people that being able to game anywhere is extremely convenient.
So convenient it is, in fact, that I have had trouble becoming interested in any games that are not on portable devices.
Pretty strange how fast that happened, isn’t it? Especially considering that I’ve only got 4 games on the Switch so far, and most of the ones coming out I’m not particularly interested in so far. I only got back into portable gaming less than two years ago, yet I’ve continued to play PC games and old-gen console games. But something about the Switch has changed my opinion on newer games that are coming out. If they’re not for the 3DS, the Vita, or the Switch, I have absolutely zero little interest in them.
And I hope I’m not alone in this. After all, the average age of a gamer is 35, more or less (the number has fluctuated year to year). They’re the ones with the money, but not a lot of time. Gamers spent $23.5 billion on the gaming industry in 2015. There’s kind of a money to be made here. So why is it that Sony and Microsoft don’t seem to care if they play their games when they are out of the house? It strikes me as odd, is my point.
What I hope to see in the foreseeable future is that the major players realize, if even from just a marketing perspective, that having people playing your devices out in public is free advertising. I can’t tell you how many people have asked about my Switch, Vita, and 3DS, and I live in a part of the world where even attempting to get a strangers’ attention is met with a facial expression you’d see before stuffing someone into a car trunk.
Not to mention, having the ability to play anywhere means the ability to spend money everywhere – just look at the mobile games market. Sure, the mobile market is mostly trash, but it’s nothing if not lucrative. Hey, the more time people have, the more games they’ll ultimately play, right? I can’t justify spending top dollar on a console that I’ll never have enough time to play, but I’ll buy a game for a portable console months in advance just so I have it ready to go.
But back to my original topic at hand, the Switch has made me realize that until Sony and Microsoft can get their act together and enable players to actually play their games out of the house, I will continue to pass on their consoles. There’s no excuse anymore – if Nintendo can do it, so can the other two. There are some great exclusives coming out for the PS4 that, sadly, I will have to pass on.
Has anyone else had this happen to them? Do you Switch early adopters feel spoiled by having console-quality games with portability to boot? Have you lost interest in couch games as you got older? Let me know about it in the comments!