The Nintendo Switch. Whether you love or hate Nintendo, no one can deny their success with the Switch. As the name implies, one can dock the device or switch it to handheld if someone wants to play on the go. Since its launch in 2017, the Switch has sold units like crazy and have remained relevant with the release of an OLED model. The system is even touted as a console that “sells games”. If we look at the numbers, the Nintendo Switch was the top-selling console last month as well as the overall top-selling console of 2021 thus far. However, with all its fame and glory, it comes with criticism, primarily with its performance compared to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.
While Nintendo is basking in its success, Valve announced their handheld device, the Steam Deck, in July 2021. There are three hardware options available and is marketed as a high-powered, hand-held gaming PC. Although already delayed, the Steam Deck is due to arrive next year. Our own David Lasby debated whether or not it will threaten Switch sales.
More recently, Xbox is also now exploring its own handheld console. It, too, could be viewed as a possibly more powerful version of the Switch, although there seemed to be an emphasis on Xbox Cloud gaming.
Whether either device holds strong as a suitable competition to the Switch, I am more interested in the larger picture. Has Nintendo led the way to a handheld console renaissance? Gaming on the go has always been popular in the East, but it has picked up in the West now as well. As technology improves, we could very well see some impressive “mini” computers powerful enough to play gorgeous games while sitting at the airport or on the bus. It would also be interesting to see if it moves the needle away from the standard home console.
Do you think we are headed toward a golden age of handhelds? Are you excited for either the Steam Deck or a potential Xbox handheld? Let us know in the Boss Rush Discord.