Specifically cheap linux-based emulator handhelds.
Had no idea this was a thing until I came across this subreddit recently: https://www.reddit.com/r/SBCGaming
Its quite impressive what you can buy for ~$30. It would have been pretty mind-blowing to have one of those as a kid.
He goes pretty in depth on the products he reviews, and periodically does videos where he compares several competing products and suggests which he recommends depending on your budget and other priorities.
Well it does not have Steam, but the Switch is full of indie games and it looks like there is a market for it.
Up until recently this market, niche as it is, has been pretty much dominated by GPD and their Win line of devices.
I probably won't buy an Aya Neo, because I have a GPD Win Max that I'm still pretty happy with, and I prefer having the physical keyboard because I use it for non-gaming tasks on occasion. But if I don't, then I'd probably be backing this project.
Oh, and because I've seen a couple of folks mention the screen size and resolution, I just want to say that it's well suited for this device and it's intended use. It's for handheld gaming on battery, on integrat,ed graphics. Higher resolution would draw more power, reduce frame rates, and not make much of a noticeable improvement to the actual gaming experience.
This feels like a worse PSP. It's meant to be powerful, but the battery life will suck and it won't be powerful enough to matter. The fact that I can pull out my phone and have a substantially better screen (resolution and quality as OLED is preferable to LCD) just makes this a nonstarter for me.
This is the sort of thing I'd salivate over when I was a teenager before I understood tech specs don't make a good product. In fact, it reminds me of this thing which I was excited for over 10 years ago (I don't remember when it launched, but it took forever and by the time it happened I'd lost interest).
EDIT: The Pandora stopped production in 2013 and they've been working on the successor since, which apparently just delivered the first preorders.
Then you talk about how tech specs don’t matter when you were just complaining about a spec? I don’t really understand that argument.
There will be plenty of people that buy this. The only real issue is that you still can’t get a Neo, the GPD Win 3 is going to enjoy a lot of sales from people that don’t want to wait.
I was accounting for the fact that the PSP launched 16 years ago. It's a similar form factor - big screen, big power, short battery life.
> The Switch does 720p in portable mode and it’s tons of fun and is selling like crazy 3+ years after release.
Comparing this to the Switch is silly. They are nothing alike. Thinking you can compete with Nintendo in handheld gaming is like thinking you can compete with Google in search. History has shown this time and time and time again.
Nintendo sells the Switch because it's the only way to play Nintendo games. That is 90% of their value. The other 10% comes from having an affordable handheld gaming device in a comfortable form factor and they've been trying to get more third party and indie support.
> Then you talk about how tech specs don’t matter when you were just complaining about a spec?
Specs don't matter, and this thing has nothing to sell itself but specs - and its specs aren't even that good.
> There will be plenty of people that buy this.
I'm not saying nobody will buy it. I'm saying I won't, and I doubt it will be considered a success by most. But hey, if you like it and want to buy it go for it! If you love it that's what counts.
Specifically ones who don't go bankrupt and stop making games, which is basically what's happening on iOS, and even worse on Android. iOS gamedev is kind of a slaughterhouse, where a tiny crust of lottery-winners make it look viable, but the other 98% or so of devs don't break even.
There are a lot of reasons for this, and all of them are things Nintendo's worked pretty hard to counter. Refusing to let stuff on the store if it doesn't meet certain QA criterion, forcibly preventing the race-to-the-bottom on the price wars, deliberately avoiding top-10 lists and any of the other reflexive techie moves that end up being anti-patterns (by being attention-funnels that drive further sales to the people who don't need it, and starve the ones who do). There's a LOT of stuff they do right, and some of this they're historically famous for (the QA angle was the thing that famously let them buck the videogame crash of the 80s, in contrast to the prior vendors who had no qualms about allowing outright broken/unplayable games on their devices).
This stuff is important.
Generally what makes markets like this work isn't a technological problem, but a social/political problem. Nintendo understands that game devs need to make a living, but apple and google treat them as cannon fodder, and it has consequences for the quality of work.
If you don't get this right, people will make a bunch of shallow stuff that's a low upfront investment (Angry Birds, Monument Valley, etc), but you'll have shockingly few "deep" games like BotW, because nobody can stomach that risk, especially when they'd have to make an insane number of sales to break even at (presumed) lower prices.
I'm genuinely asking out of curiosity, I know my first comment was dismissive but that mostly means I'm not the target audience.
There are plenty of PC games that have mobile ports. All the GTA3 ingine games, several bioware rpgs.
You're confusing "can't" with "publisher hasn't bothered".
The hardware, certainly on newer iphones,is plenty powerful.
first, there were tons of x86 android devices. samsung tab3 to name the last one i used.
second, most of the code on android is tainted GPL code. technically GPL was supposed to not prevent you from running whatever you want on devices you own if it was distributed with GPL based code, but alas, that is exactly what happens.
It's almost exclusively due to technical reasons.
(tried to add as much as you to the discussion)
I have my computer, which doubles as a server, on all the time and was blown away how fast Steam Link worked on a remote connection (albeit I have gigabit upload speeds, but still). I imagine Stadia and GeForce Now are even better.
This is why the screen size is OK because they're usually upscaling anyways.
I watched some benchmark of modern generation or even previous generation games and they are mostly dogshit, the GPU is anemic for modern workloads but fine for emulators it seems.
This is just my best guess, especially given the price of the hardware, it just doesn't make sense for normal portable gaming, but definite hits a niche for retro emu.
Good to know - I thought NeoGeo had some low latency input concerns that were harder to get close to in slower emulators, but like I said - not an expert!
Shutting down a Google game studio seems like a good decision. Stadia should be trying to make it easier for publishers to publish on their platform (or paying for exclusives); not trying to build their own games.
That said, I'd have a lot more enthusiasm if I had better than 20 ms ping to my first hop.
Nope, but the fact they even considered it in the first place was kind of foolish. Now, there's so few titles available on Stadia it's hardly going to be a Steam competitor any time soon.
It comes down to culture for me. Nintendo originally marketed the Game Boy in the "toy" rather than "video game" or "electronics" categories. Something physical to be put under the xmas tree. Developers love handhelds because budgets are 1/10 of AAA titles. Low power GPUs like the Tegra X1 and Neo's Ryzen are plentiful. Along with an explosion in indie handhelds, I wouldn't be surprised to see upgrades to the Vita, 3DS, Shield, etc.
Edit: Of course they do: https://www.razer.com/mobile-controllers/Razer-Kishi/RZ06-03...
(Note if you want to try it: the Settings menu, needed to enable controller, doesn’t unlock until 5 mins in, after you beat the slime creatures using the wind.)
Can't imagine the battery life is much, either. I'd be shocked if it's more than an hour or two.
All of that to run poorly at 800p.
What works about the switch is the option. I can play handheld or pop it in its dock and play on the TV with other people. Phones never quite got this. They had the mobile part built-in, but attempts at multiplayer on a screen were either ignored or botched horrifically.
There's another big challenge with phone games, in my opinion ...
Phones are also very personal, and I've observed that people are less likely to commit to longer-term games on their phones for some reason. Some of it is no doubt inertia - the early games on mobile were meant to be played in full in under an hour. But part of it is - I think - that having your phone occupied by something persistent like a game robs people of their ability to use the phone in the open gaps we normally use phones.
Things like Switch or Stadia or whatever are dedicated gaming devices, even if they slingshot from your phone's computing power. I can use them and still have my phone in front of me. They do one thing and get out of the way.
That's all depressing to write out, but it's the world we live in.
But the Switch, being a dedicated system for this, doesn't have to put nearly as much work into the implementation. You can easily just throw it into a dock and leave it there indefinitely, because you don't need it for anything else. While you can cast a phone wirelessly, the setup will depend largely on your ecosystem and/or accessory vendors. And even then, the entire thing is typically mirrored - which not only leaves the rest of your device otherwise unusable, but also raises further cases to handle around notifications (or worse, calls) while you're actually gaming on it.
These issues would make single-player gaming annoying enough, and local multiplayer effectively becomes a nonstarter. (Never mind that one you introduce that as a requirement you also introduce the need to set up additional controllers a nontrivial amount of the time, and fast pair support within the Bluetooth spec is just as messy.)
For phones to really be able to cover these things without introducing tradeoffs that just don't exist with a dedicated device, we'd need OS- and hardware- level support for running a secondary display, wirelessly, without also introducing lag in the process.
Effectively, we're comparing them to the wrong platform. Because while the internals most directly line up with those of the Switch, the interface design they'd need in order to really make the experience work is arguably a lot closer to that of the Wii U.
 Note that, for the sake of this discussion, on Android's side I'm referring strictly to what's available in AOSP. I'm aware of, say, DeX, but the app ecosystem as a whole doesn't tend to have great support for vendor-specific implementations, and the stock desktop mode is still a. experimental, b. wired.
The most likely path would’ve been if an existing gaming company made a handheld that was also a phone, but Microsoft doesn’t have a handheld entry, Sony’s Vita go down well, and Nintendo is just not really interested.
This thing also costs $699, which is quite a bit more money than say a Switch. In fact a Switch is pretty much the cousin of a phone, hardware wise.
They use similar components, but designed very differently:
Switch has dedicated controller, phones don't, at least the vast majority of them.
Switch has lower resolution, targeting framerate instead.
Switch has active cooling for sustained performance, phones usually only work on short bursts.
Switch is cheap, comparing to premium phones.
Phones are ok for a lot of things, but good for nothing, while Switch is good at gaming, undeniably the 1st in the mobile gaming market.
This was a bit half-baked. It didn't even get the update to Ice Cream Sandwich.
It flopped. Horribly.
And the lower the resolution the better the framerates you'll get (and running upscaled ~1280x800 on a higher res screen would look worse than native 1280x800). 1280x800 @ 7 inches is already 215.63 PPI, which is more than twice the average 1920x1080 24 inch PC monitor.
This is all especially important with a low powered GPU like the Vega 6.
FWIW my preference with a device like this would definitely be lower resolution, until someone manages to stuff much faster hardware into the same form factor.
Modern phones have impressive burst performance, but they can't sustain for real gaming, while Switch and this thing can, this is a big difference.
If Switch tell us anything, it is that phones are not (good) for gaming.