Ironically, what the Switch did for Rob, getting a decent android smartphone did for me, at the expense of portable gaming. Prior to switching to Android I had fairly behind-the-curve, crappy phones, usually an iPhone 2-3 years behind. After years of dealing with iTunes nonsense, I decided to move to android, as well as take advantage of my new job’s corporate discount to score a fancy Samsung flagship phone.
Android, and its ability to conveniently sideload apps that weren’t being offered on my region’s app marketplaces (via alternative stores like QooApp) allowed me to join in various Japanese-style, gacha-driven mobile games like Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Fate/Grand Order, and Granblue Fantasy. Those games, with their emphasis on short, daily play sessions over long binges fit my time in a way that not even portable stalwarts like my 3DS, Vita, and Switch could.
For a newly minted salary-chaser, playing mobile means you can grind out your dailies in the bathroom, finish story quests while having lunch, or even sneak in a quick pull at the gacha machine while standing in line for the elevator to your office.
By comparison even exceedingly convenient, powerful portable consoles like the Vita or Switch carry an opportunity cost. Even beloved games like Danganronpa V3, Breath of the Wild, or Persona 4 Golden demand a conscious “I’m going to play this now” attitude. Though I still have them in my bag most days, most of my Switch and Vita playtime happens at home.
Ultimately, they’re not the same kind of games, and it would be disingenuous to imply that one would necessarily replace the other. Further, I would be less inclined to play a game as involved as Breath of the Wild or Monster Hunter on my phone. But right now there’s no question that it’s doing a better job at filling in the little gaps in my time than anything else.