While Nintendo might not have had things all its own way since it began developing for mobile, one thing it has got right is the release of the Switch. After the disappointment of the WiiU, which I still can't really explain, the Switch felt a little make or break for the big N. And it's fair to say it fits squarely in the make category.
The things that the Switch does so successfully are things that I've been saying mobile gaming has needed to do for a while now. It just so happens that Nintendo has got there first. But that doesn't mean that the mobile gaming world doesn't have things it can learn from the Switch. Things like these.
The Switch occupies a pretty unique space in the gaming world, although it's one that console makers having been trying to get in on for a while. The Switch is a piece of hardware that you take everywhere with you. It's in your bag, then it's on a train table, then it's plugged in to your massive TV at home.
Mobile gaming can currently cover some of those things reasonably well. And you can attach your mobile to your TV if you've got the right kit, but it's by no means as easy as slotting it into a stand. The Switch takes the best of a variety of devices, and puts it into one. That's basically the philosophy of smartphones, if you think about it.
There's something for everyone
When it comes to input, the Switch has a vast array of options. Touchscreen, joycons, controllers, motion sensors. That means there's a whole scope for interesting and innovative gaming in the little black box.
While traditional mobile gaming still seems stuck in the dark ages of the on-screen control, there are plenty of games out there that make better use of the technology in your pocket. Pokemon GO, The Room series, and Monument Valley all spring to mind here. Opening up the possibilities of mobile gaming has been a long time coming, but learning from the Switch could speed it up a little.
There's something eminently likeable about the way the Switch is presented. I doubt Apple is going to copy it anytime soon, but the Switch feels like a universal object, something that anyone can pick up and have a crack at, unlike the more sophisticated and elite offerings that are the iPhone and iPad.
That's not to pick on the Switch though. Apple's products might be market leaders, but there's still something eminently snobby about them. While the gaming section of the App Store might prove that wrong, a lighter approach, and a slightly less exorbitant price tag, could do the mobile gaming world a whole heap of good.