Earlier generations of console offered something that wasn’t available else where. Hardware wasn’t as cheap and forthcoming as it is these days. Consoles offered a relatively cheap platform to make games on.
The modern world is heaving with easily accessible hardware. Handheld consoles which were once bespoke hardware now use the same hardware as their smartphone cousins. So if the hardware doesn’t make them unique, what does? Nintendo have become the masters of selling tried and tested electronics to the masses. While Microsoft and Sony battle it out with the powerhouse machines and lose money on hardware as they do Nintendo go about and do their own thing. The only way to win the hardware race is not to take part, there will always be something faster and better out shortly.
Sony have recently annouced their NGP, which looks very nice. Unfortunately it doesn’t really offer anything new, there is no unique selling point here. You have a very generic experience for the user, if they have used any other console before they aren’t going to find anything new here. The 3DS on the other hand offers something very unique for many consumers, just like the DS and Wii did before it.
So if we are going to see familiar games on the NGP with its off the shelf hardware why does it need to exist?The tech world seems to be moving towards a more unified environment why not just develop the Playstation Portable as a platform rather than just a set bit of hardware? Sony announced with the Xperia Play that they would also be releasing the Playstation Suite which plays playstation one games on android handsets. Why not just create a new platform which takes full advance of the power instead?
The Unity games development platform is the perfect example. It is being used to create rich games that are usable on multiple platforms with just a small client install. Why not just have a “Playstation Mobile” platform that can be installed on Android, Apple or Windows Mobile handsets?