Portable MMO Gaming

Author: John Pio  //  Category: News

Portable gaming has been around for quite a while. Mattel, Coleco and Milton Bradly started putting electronic games in our hands in the late 70’s throughout the 80’s and our grubby fingers still can’t get enough.


Some handhelds crashed and burned like the infamous Nokia N-Gage, which was a design abomination, while others set the industry standard like Nintendo’s Game Boy systems.


Even the latest round of handhelds attempt to push the bar further than ever before as is the case with the Nintendo 3DS with its adjustable stereoscopic screen that hits stores March 27th and Sony’s NGP with its powerful quad core processor, accelerometer and gyroscope motion sensing set for an Xmas 2011 release.


Both of those systems will surely fly off the shelves and only time will tell which will be the king of portable gaming. Because as we all know there is nothing better than playing the latest Mario game or Sony exclusive. Or is there?
If only I could play World of Warcraft on the train ride to work, or DC Universe or any of the other MMO games that I have to wait to get to a real computer to play. That soon may be a thing of the past if Razor USA Ltd., the high tech mouse manufacturer has anything to say about it.


In January 2011 at the Consumer Electronics Show, Razer unveiled a prototype slightly larger than a Nintendo DS they call the Razor Switchblade. It promises to bring MMO in a more practical way than any laptop can, with innovative features like its 45 programmable LED screen keys that dynamically change for any game. 3G and Wi-Fi support, USB 3.0, with a multi-touch screen.  Headphone and microphone jacks with a mini-HDMI connector. All powered by an Intel Atom processor that ran a version of Windows 7.


A price point and release date wasn’t given for the Razer Switchblade, but Razer said that they are working with “select partners” to produce products based on the Switchblade prototype design.


The Razor Switchblade wasn’t the only portable MMO gaming system that recently tried to make it to market. Panasonic had big plans for a similar system called the Jungle. It was announce in October 2010 but when word got out that Razer USA Ltd. had a superior system on the drawing board, Panasonic pulled the plug on the Jungle portable MMO system in March 2011.


With any amount of luck we’ll all be playing MMOs on the go.

2 Responses to “Portable MMO Gaming”

  1. Junkmale Says:

    Gotta disagree with you re the N-Gage John.
    Yes it was a commercial failure and the original design did leave a lot to be desired, but…
    It was years ahead of it’s time. It was released years before the iphone age and was the first handheld to recognise that gaming on a mobile/cell phone was a viable and commercial prospect.
    Control improvement was greatly improved on the N-Gage QD and there were some really excellent games released for it.
    Tomb Raider on a phone? They are still struggling with that now and Nokia did it years ago.
    With better marketing and a huge slice of better luck we could be on the N-Gage 5 today.
    I also find that a lot of people who will dismiss the N-Gage (not necessarily yourself) have never actually tried it.
    A bit strong calling it ‘infamous’ and an abomination methinks?

  2. John Pio Says:

    Well, I can honestly say I was very excited about the N-Gage when it hit stores and though I did not buy one (because I didn’t see anything in its game library that could lure me to pay its hefty original price) I did get to play Rayman on it quite a bit. I found its shape uncomfortable in my mits. It curved up like a smile, rather than down like a frown, or a genesis game controller. Its buttons were hard on the fingers and awkward to play games with.
    I call it infamous because in general it has a bad reputation as a gaming system. And the fact that it was the first and reached for super lofty heights and failed makes it only the more notable as a failure. Of course they improved on it, but Nintendo had the handhelds locked down. Many products fall in with the N-Gage scenario, Mircosoft’s Zune and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy come to mind.
    I don’t think better marketing could have helped the N-Gage, its design, lack of launch games, price point and heavy competition from already establish Nintendo were all just too much for any amount of marketing and luck to save.
    Sometimes stuff just doesn’t pan out in practice like it does on paper. As you pointed out, it was sadly ahead of its time.
    (I did get burned in 1995 by the Atari Jaguar which promised consumers the world of 64-bit games but all I got were crappy Cyber Morph, terrible controllers and a console collecting dust now for years in my basement.)

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