Why don’t they sell Game Boy style video game consoles anymore?

Game Boy consoles Pocket handhelds

One of the things that is missing the most is the existence of a true portable console, that is, a pocket device that we can discreetly take anywhere and that is no bigger than our wallet. In other words, misnamed portable consoles like the Nintendo Switch and the even bigger Steam Deck don’t meet these requirements. What would a Game Boy-style console look like today and why aren’t they made anymore?

Currently, Chinese consoles with emulators have become very popular in recent years, however, their specifications do not allow them to go beyond a first-generation PlayStation in terms of power and even thanks. In any case, many say that mobile phones have replaced pocket consoles or handhelds. Is it really true? For one product to replace another it should be able to absorb demand and this is achieved by doing the same. Why do Chinese laptops exist? Well, due to the fact that they cannot offer the same experience.

Why have we stopped seeing Game Boy-style consoles?

In desktop consoles, the traditional ones that are connected to the television, levers and buttons are still used. Instead, we have luminaries repeating the mantra that users now prefer to play on mobile rather than portable consoles. The origin of that absurd argument? A certain company withdrawing from the pocket console market, leaving the monopoly to a Nintendo that has abandoned pocket consoles.

Everything indicates that we will not see something like the original Game Boy or rather a console that we can take anywhere and with tens of hours of battery life. A concept that was killed by the industry trend towards gaming as a service and its typical business model of what in English we would call a Drug Dealer. The difference between a console of this type and a mobile is not only the buttons, but also the lack of a continuous internet connection. That is, it is the removal of the WiFi and Bluetooth chip, which increases the battery.

In other words, mobile phones by their nature allow abusive forms of gaming for the consumer and even more so if they are minor. Instead of asking politicians to destroy things with their legislation, the best thing would be to ask for the return of a type of product that should not have disappeared.

And what would a pocket console be like today?

It would not be different in its internal hardware to a low-end mobile, yes, the vertical format of the Game Boy Classic should give way to a composition more similar to that of certain Chinese retro consoles and allow changes such as panoramic screens, but not to more than 60 Hz. In terms of storage, your operating system should be simple, nothing more than a menu to load games in memory or on the cartridge, no background tasks, no complex operating system.

The experience should be that of picking up a game, plugging it in, and that’s it. No day 1 updates, subsequent patches and even having the system always connected to the network to avoid draconian business models with the user. A powerful, yet simple device. Unfortunately, these types of devices and seeing how the video game industry is, can no longer exist and not because they are impossible, but because systems are no longer made for the end user, but for large publishers.

Technology advances, accept it

Today we all have a mobile from which we can listen to music like an MP3 player of yesteryear, our cameras allow us to do the same as film cameras without problems. Isn’t it the same as the theme of mobiles with games? Well no, due to the fact that it is a hardware element such as the interface of buttons and levers of conventional consoles. In short, there is not the same way to use the product and, therefore, they are not the same.

mobile playing

In another order of things, the technology that chips have been advancing in all this time and it would be possible to make a pocket console in the Game Boy style and that this was a technical leap that allows things like games to be seen in realistic 3D. Of course, it is not compatible with the vices of the current video game industry and whoever made it would find the absolute rejection of a market where experiences have passed away to be based on business models. In other words, the problem is not technical incapacity, but the fact that the market has evolved into a form of consumption that has rendered these products outdated, and not precisely because of technological obsolescence. Which is a shame.