If you're the sort of person who enjoys playing video games on-the-go, which of the following two announcements hit you harder this year: iOS 7 bringing standardized controllers to Apple's mobile devices, or NVIDIA SHIELD? The NVIDIA device is a whole unit in and of itself, while Apple's announcement was all but missed by everyone outside the gaming crowd. Could it be that these two pieces of the puzzle were - and are - the most important announcements in the handheld gaming industry this year thus far?
With Apple's note comes the suggestion that they'll be working with two major accessory makers for starters: Logitech and MOGA. The former you've heard about quite a few times over the past several years as they're easily one of the most prolific makers of device-friendly accessories on the market. The latter has made a name for themselves with a series of controllers that are made specifically for Android devices.
Together, these two creators of peripherals will likely become big-time sellers when Apple brings them into the fold as some of the first Apple Certified game controller makers. Though the tip comes from an unconfirmed source called Jablickar, it does stand to reason: it's certainly easy to believe that these two companies would continue to work with Apple in such a way.
Then there's NVIDIA SHIELD. Here comes a device that takes what MOGA is doing for Bluetooth-connected smartphones and kicks it out in favor of an all-in-one handheld gaming device running Android. This device will be launched this month with a (still Beta) ability to stream PC games from machines running their GeForce GTX graphics processors as well.
The influence of NVIDIA on the industry is not just measured in the copycats and clones that may well be coming sooner than later, it runs as deep as their hardware literally resting inside some of the most powerful gaming rigs in the wild.
So you've got Apple making it clear that they've seen the writing on the wall with handheld gaming and hardware buttons. And you've got NVIDIA who both makes a device themselves and reminds the industry that they've got their own curated gaming portal to go along with it - one they've been curating, mind you, for well over a year now for Android tablets and phones that use their mobile processors.
Are hardware buttons becoming part of the equation again in this smartphone universe? Absolutely. Here lies the rift, the breaking apart point too, for games that are meant to be played with controls off-screen and those meant to be touched, too. No more thumbs for guns!