I recently read about the new portable consoles that Sony and Nintendo are bringing out. This got me thinking about the user’s experience of interacting with the portable gaming devices. Although i personally own a new iPod touch i am in no way bias as you will see in this post. Apple do create amazing designs that have that wow i want it factor and although their laptops and phones are very good i personally feel that the iPod touch is not the best gaming device around. All of the consoles have different qualities, Apple is luxurious, high trend and fashion with many multi tasking options. Sony is a dedicated platform for serious gamers with the addition of internet and app features in the latest model, where as Nintendo have a very playful, innocent and harmless image portrayed through their device.
They all have very different styles of games, however i am ignoring this aspect and dealing with the interaction. In my opinion and from my own experience I much prefer to have buttons and pads under my thumbs and fingers when interacting with consoles. When there is no physical contract through lumps or textured surfaces the actual control of the character or vehicle becomes difficult as there are no reference points for your fingers or thumbs, just a continuous smooth piece of glass, which makes mapping of the controls for the user extremely difficult.
Maybe in the future the devices will have a smooth glass surface (because it does look good) but with some way of improving the users pleasure. Such as glass that makes your brain think and feel although it’s actually pressing a button onto the screen or feels a texture through the use of vibrations etc. If the iPod have buttons or something to make the brain think it was pressing buttons it would be a much improved gaming device in my opinion but they are all very handy when you get stuck on a train for a few hours!