Tim Cook says the darnedest things. Why, just last week Apple’s head honcho suggested that iPad users are ditching their home consoles in favor of Cupertino’s favorite slate. Bold words, ones that can’t be sitting well with the gaming industry’s big three. Steady thy rifle, hardcore gamer, Cook has a point: the console wars have shifted irreversibly. Gone are the days of bickering over somewhat similar 16-bit consoles and their supposed lack of “blast-processing”; today’s gaming armies wage war with wildly different artillery. In the pursuit of your mobile gaming dollar, Nintendo toed a traditional line with a new twist. Sony, on the other hand, seems to have bundled every input method it could get its mitts on into its next-generation portable. Microsoft, however, puts the “mobile” in mobile gaming, echoing Apple’s own approach with an Xbox Live platform that eschews dedicated hardware to float across Windows Phone devices as a “feature.”
Take a step back, and suddenly it seems like the major players of consumer gaming aren’t even driving on the same track. This war isn’t about the “most powerful” console anymore; it’s about creating the right experience for today’s gamer. We ducked under the unspoken truce of last week’s Game Developer Conference to get a bead on Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony’s portable gaming strategies. Read on to see what they’re doing to differentiate themselves from the competition.