The Big Question: Mobile Or At-Home Gaming?

It's the debate that nobody wants to have.

In celebration of Apple's WWDC announcement of a new, fancy 'Metal' 3D rendering engine, this is today's Big Question. What is the future of gaming — on your mobile device, or your home console and PC?

Metal promises 10 times the 3D rendering performance of the old Apple pipeline, and "console-level" graphics on the iPhone 5S and iPad Air (and presumably whatever new mobile device the company will announce in the not-too-distant future). There have been some great iPhone and iPad games, and it's likely they'll get even better.

There have been, and continue to be, some absolutely amazing mobile games in the past decade. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan on the DS. Lumines on the PSP. The Infinity Blade series on iOS. I'm not much of a mobile gamer — I much prefer to read or listen to music when I'm on the train — but Monument Valley on my 12-inch Samsung Android tablet is just hauntingly beautiful. There's not much you can't do on a touchscreen now.

I'm unabashed about preferring the PC over anything else, though; it's what I grew up with. We never had consoles in my house — my formative console experiences were playing DuckTales on the NES at my cousin's house on family holidays to Dubbo, and sneaking out during school to play GoldenEye 1v1 on Facility (no Oddjob allowed). I had a few flings with the GameCube and Wii and Xbox 360, as well as the DS Lite, but at the end of the day my heart belongs to that whirring piano black box, keyboard and mouse.

I don't see myself ever changing my opinion, but most of the people I know don't own gaming PCs or consoles — they own smartphones and tablets. They're probably the future of gaming. What do you think?


    Hahahahaha the Atari Jaguar.

      Yeah, not sure how that made it in under mobile gaming, think they meant Atari Lynx.

        Heh yeah they tried to be clever and ended up with a huge derp.

          I made my Jag into a (bulky) hand-held. Can play AvP on the road :)

    I hope there is room for both, as they are for different types of gaming. I don't believe they are mutually exclusive.

    Regardless of how technically impressive Mobile gaming may get, it's form factor (a small device to carry round with you) dictates how it will be used. Long, involved sequences in games are not always feasible and games are designed to match.

    Likewise, PC and Console gaming are able to deliver the deeper experiences, but are not suited to quick "pick up and play" activities.

    If it turns out there can be only one, then it'll be business that decides the answer - where is there more money? Simple as that.

    Definitely at home, had two 3DS's, but they just couldn't hold my interest, I haven't even played any of the games I've downloaded on my mobile for ages. Don't know if it's because they have a smaller screen, but I definitely don't like touchscreens.

    I used to play a lot of mobile games when I travelled to work by bus, but I haven't touched one since I started riding in. If I'm not in my house it's because I have things to do. If I am in my house I'm not going to use a mobile device.

    Last edited 04/06/14 11:31 am

    Why does it need to be one or the other? Why not both?

    Home and mobile gaming have existed side by side since the Gameboy was released in 1989...arguably even as far back as 1980 with those game and watch things. All that's happening now is that mobile gaming has shifted from dedicated handhelds (the Vita and 3DS not withstanding) to phones and tablets.

      Man, I used to love the hell out of those Game & Watch games.

      I agree. I have a PC, console(s) and hand held gaming device (vita).
      I don't think the future will only have one or the other, there will always be room for both... until the next new thing comes out that replaces it all (like a chip in the brain or something else unimaginable).

    Mobile gaming is generally quite repetitive, with puzzle solving / mind games usually the most enjoyable. However it is always massive battery killer. That's what really keeps me away from it. Also the fact I don't use public transport, which in my mind is the key place to play mobile games.

    Mobile gaming can look as great as it can but there's severe limitations over the controls on a touchscreen. Mobile gaming on a PSP or 3DS can be great, but Apple should realise that flashy graphics aren't everything. That's why the most popular games on phones are repetitive, short-burst games that you can play on the train to work and not an RPG or racing game that looks like a PS2 game.

    As for the actual question, I've never been able to feel truly comfortable playing a mobile game. It feels like a diluted experience of PC/console gaming

    I think there's a big enough distinction between true mobile gaming (ie. SmartPhones and Tablets that are essentially mobile PCs) and hand-helds (which are essentially dedicated, portable consoles) that this poll is not really representative of its intent. That being said, my view of the future is an all-in-one solution where you have a mobile device when you're out and about, then you come home, put it in the master console and the full home experience becomes available. Basically what they were doing with the Ubuntu for Android program. It's an Android phone when you're mobile, and a full Ubuntu desktop when you're at home.

    The last handheld game that I really got into, when I had other options available, was Golden Sun on the GBA. Come to think of it, 2001 would have been when I first discovered Tolkien... which would account for my preference of reading over playing handheld games whenever an opportunity would arise...
    I've tried many times to get into handhelds again, with a PSP, a Vita and a 3DS over the years... and they're great for holidays, I guess. I enjoyed AC: Lib, Uncharted GA, and Gravity Rush, and then my holiday ended. While at home, I've tried to get into Pokemon Y, Link to the Past, Layton and the Mask thing, but they've always felt like distractions - my PC sitting across the room, always on, a constant reminder that Anno, or Minecraft, or Rocksmith, or any of a number of games I really should finish one day, are just a couple of mouse clicks away.
    When I'm at home, I use my PC; when I'm travelling/commuting, I always make sure I have a book in my bag. The only time I have for portables is on holidays... and I get precious few of those these days.

    I got a Kobo, so yea I read when travelling.

    EDIT: Only mobile gaming I do is when going number 2 and got no data.

    Last edited 04/06/14 12:18 pm

    If I had to pick one, home console/PC gaming.
    Mobile gaming is useful for games that can be played in short bursts such as while commuting, on a lunch break, or between classes (for uni students). While gaming on mobile devices is developing well, I see gaming on iPads or phones as only really shutting out the PSP/3DS space (assuming that they get some decent titles on phones/tablet computers to compete with the 3DS/PSP library). Handheld console gaming has been fairly successful and will continue to have a foothold in the market but I still balk at paying full retail price for a game I only intend to play for an hour at a time on a 4-inch screen when I could be playing something on my couch for several hours on a 46-inch screen. It will never be the dominant force in the gaming market.

    Mobile gaming as in portable gaming? Sure. Mobile gaming as in mobile phones? No thanks :P

    And while I probably play my portables more than my consoles, I also play them mostly at home. And quite often have been treating my Wii U as a home-bound portable. Off-screen play is the best thing.

    How do I choose? I play PS Vita on train every day. And PS3 at home every night. 50/50 to me.

    Pointless. Both are situational. Results will never be reflective of anything.

    I'm not huge into 'mobile' gaming but I chose that option because of the 3DS/Vita... which I play at home more often than not anyway.

    Mobile gaming has taken over for me since I discovered heartstone.

    But the real answer to the question is that both can co exist. There's a a time and place for simpler games and for immersive console games as well.

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