Convergence is one of the big watchwords in smartphones and mobile devices manufactures have long been promising us “one handset to rule the all”. And in many cases it’s quite a valid case. My iPod is all but dead to me, as most smartphones offer a comparable listening experience. In fact with their always-one Internet connection, an all-you-can-eat data plan and apps such as Instacast and Spotify, in many ways they surpass dedicated PMPs. You can even get built-in Beats by Dre audio on some handsets. I consider PMPs to be well and truly converged (look at the iPod’s waning fortunes in Apple’s recent results and how they didn’t bother to update the iPod touch). Whilst big fat DSLR cameras aren’t going anywhere, point and shoot cameras and Flip-style camcorders are also looking increasingly unnecessary. The recently released Nokia N8, Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S all have great cameras. But what about gaming? We had a look at one of the top-tier gaming handsets and saw how it fared as a convergence devices.
On paper the LG Optimus 3D has a lot going for it – the huge screen and glasses-free 3D should make for a incredible mobile gaming experience. The size is a definite advantage, and although a little awkward to use as a phone you do appreciate the screen real estate when gaming. Games such as Asphalt and N.O.V.A look amazing. However the glasses-free 3D fails to live up to expectations, and despite being an impressive feat of engineering (and amazing thing to demo with your mates) is still very much on the side of “headache-inducing” rather than awe inspiring. More often than not I found myself hitting the 3D kill switch (great name for a band if you’re looking btw) just so I could actually enjoy the game. Maybe a 3D slider like the Nintendo 3DS would be a better approach.
For simpler puzzle games or anything where the touchscreen added, rather than detracted from the experience however, the Optimus 3D was great fun to use. I didn’t have time to get fully lost inside an RPGS but I can imagine exploring worlds with that huge screen would be enjoyable. However the perennial problem for touchscreen phone gaming – a lack of dedicate hardware gaming buttons, means that it will still be a while before “hardcore” gamers (unlike softcore Leisure Suit Larry gamers) will be able to leave their handheld console of choice at home.
The LG Optimus 3D is out not from Three