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2023 Handheld Gaming Predictions and Watchlist

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Andrew Liszewski was gadget coverage and review— everything from headphones to e-readers to drones — for more than 16 years, but his favorite subject and hobby is portable gaming. If you have a piece of advice, an idea for an article or a pitch, you can reach him at andrewl@gizmodo.com.

The main story:

Although cheap LCD gaming devices with frustratingly limited gameplay were a feature of the 80s, handheld games eventually found their way to Nintendo. game boy in 1989. It was followed by the ACSmad success Nintendo DSand possibly the Switchwhich made Nintendo’s flagship console games fully portable and helped the company dominate the handheld market.

Over the years, several companies have released competing products to challenge Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld gaming market, including Sega’s Game Gear and Sony’s PSP and PSVita, but Nintendo still came out on top, with competing products disappearing from stores. This changed in 2022 with the arrival of Valve Vapor Bridgewhich is capable of playing AAA PC titles on the go, and devices like the Logitech GCloudthat simply stream CPU-intensive, graphically intense console titles from the cloud.

Nintendo’s old handheld crown challengers lacked compelling game libraries to entice gamers, but this new generation of handhelds has access to an ever-growing collection of PC, console, and even mobile games. In 2023, we expect to see several more companies announce and launch portable gaming devices with specs and performance that may already be several steps ahead of what Nintendo has potentially planned, as well as cheaper devices compatible with the best games on the market by leveraging the power of the cloud. Mario, Kirby and Link may have finally met their match.

What We’re Waiting For:

  • The Nintendo Switchthe Nintendo Switch Liteand even the Nintendo Switch OLED all start to feel extremely dated. Rumors have swirled around for the past few years about an upgraded Pro version of the handheld, and 2023 seems like the perfect time to release it, as Nintendo is finally facing some serious competition in this space. But will it finally pack serious processing power, support 4K gaming, and run more than just games?
  • Although it was a bit rough around the edges at launch, Valve’s Steam Deck caused a stir in 2022, with the company rapidly improving its specs, functionality, and battery life through regular software updates. Valve will continue to improve the Steam Deck in this way until 2023, but rumors are already circulating about possible hardware updates. A Steam Deck with an OLED screen? We can dream.
  • Hot on the heels of the Logitech GCloud is the Razer Edgearriving in early 2023. It is a game streaming focused tablet compatible with the Razer Kishi V2 Pro controller that features a 2400 x 1080 AMOLED display and 5G mobile connectivity so you don’t have to stay connected to your home’s high-speed wifi.
  • It’s not just big tech companies like Valve, Logitech, and Razer that are trying to drink Nintendo’s milkshake. High-performance laptops have been flowing in from China for years, and companies like Ayaneo, ONEXPlayer, GPD, Anbernic, and AYN will have countless more handhelds on the way to 2023 capable of making AAA game titles playable on the go.
  • Can you imagine life without video streaming services like Netflix or Disney+? Eventually, we will think the same about game streaming. Waiting hours for a game to download, or inserting a game on a plastic disc into a console, is going to seem antiquated one day. Right now, Microsoft and Nvidia dominate the space, but we’re excited for other companies to introduce game streaming platforms in 2023 as well.

Unconventional Wisdom:

Devices like the steam bridge or Razer Edge is taking a major chunk of Nintendo’s handheld revenue? Not for a while. Flagship titles on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC are visually stunning, but the extreme popularity of mobile games, including smartphone titles that simply require players to drag candies across the screen, proves that most players care less about the graphics, and more about the addictive gameplay – and that’s where Nintendo excels.

tears of the kingdomsequel to the brilliant The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, arrives next year, and unless the game struggles to play on aging Switch hardware, it’s going to sell even more consoles for Nintendo. And if the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro doesn’t come with specs beyond what the competition already offers, Nintendo will likely still sell millions to a devoted fanbase it’s cultivated for years. However, Nintendo’s online services have always been a disappointment, and if it ignores game streaming for too long, it could end up falling behind in this space, unable to catch up.

People to follow:

  • Retro gaming body – Russ Crandall not only obsessively tests and reviews portable gaming devices very thoroughly youtube videostheir website is also filled with great tutorials and guides, especially for those looking to get into retro gaming and emulation.
  • Take Udon – If there’s a wearable device you’ve heard of and want to buy, chances are Taki Udon has tested it and shared a video of his findings on his ever-growing YouTube channel.
  • retro sleep – Although Brandon Saltalamacchia website and Youtube channel tend to cater to gamers interested in retro gaming on the go, Retro Dodo is consistently one of the best sources of handheld game reviews on the internet, written by a team that’s tried them all, knows what’s best and what to stay away from.

Companies to watch:

  • nintendo – That’s why handheld gaming is where it is today and has remained a household name in video games for nearly 40 years.
  • Valve – He made a name for himself with a PC game called half lifebut as creator of steam bridgeit’s one of the few companies pushing the boundaries of what handheld gaming can be.
  • Microsoft – With mountains of cash, Microsoft managed to become a big player in console gaming with Xbox, but it’s also at the forefront of what the future of gaming could be with the Xbox Cloud Gaming service .
  • Nvidia The company’s GeForce NOW game streaming service is the only real rival to Microsoft’s offering, now that Google has taken its Stadia ball and gone home. Will the company introduce its own hardware to attract gamers to its service?
  • Google – A company known for killing off popular services that aren’t as successful as it thinks. Does Stadia’s death mark the end of Google’s game streaming ambitions, or is there a replacement already in the works?
  • Razer – The Razer Edge is one of the most anticipated handhelds of 2023, but the company has actually been trying to improve mobile gaming for years with its snap-on smartphone controllers, including the recent Razer Kishi V2 Pro . Will we see even more mobile gaming hardware announced in 2023?

A long-term bet:

After striving to make its biggest money makers available on iOS and Android mobile devices with games like Super Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo is going headfirst into game streaming with a service that will put breath of the wild on your smartphone among other devices. Joystick drift isn’t a thing if you ditch the hardware altogether.

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