Report Finds That Kids Prefer Phones And Tablets Over Nintendo’s Handhelds On Car Trips

It sounds as though the majority of kids nowadays prefer to use tablets, phones and DVDs over Nintendo‘s handhelds on car trips. According to new market research from Influence Central, only 24 percent of kids choose Nintendo’s handhelds as their main source of entertainment on trips. The findings of this report suggest that devices such as phones and tablets are contributing to the decline of portable gaming systems.



  1. I prefer Nintendo handhelds over iPhone or iPad when it comes to gaming

    1. When I went to visit family over Christmas last year, I was in a hotel lobby waiting for my cousin to come down and meet up with us for dinner. I had left my iPhone out on the couch I was sitting at, and this toddler (no older than 2 or 3) ran up, grabbed my phone and ran away with it. By the time I went after him and got my phone back, he unlocked it, opened my text messages, and started writing a reply to someone =_= This was in a matter of seconds and the kid couldn’t even speak yet!! The most baffling part, to me, is when the mom apologized and said “I had his iPad in my purse and he was getting impatient”. The toddler had his own iPad… At this rate, babies will be given a smartphone the second they leave the womb -_-

  2. Maybe because the battery life in handhelds this generation was fucking TERRIBLE! Seriously, my 3DS barely lasts 4 hours, same with my Vita. Compare that to the DS and DSI’s 11-15 hours, or the Gameboy/Gameboy color’s 30+ hours.
    Couple that with the fact that these handhelds don’t do nearly enough to win over most children. They don’t have the wide variety of apps, social features, and inexpensive games that phones do have.
    Now, I don’t think dedicated handheld gaming devices are going anywhere. In fact, I prefer dedicated handheld gaming over any other form, BUT, if it’s going to continue, we need to see a bridge between the phones/tablets and handheld gaming systems.
    Honestly, the Vita tried and got very close. It had the form factor and overall look of a phone/tablet, but packed it all the buttons and controls a handheld gamer could ever need. It brought more multimedia functionality to the system than ever before, and they even experimented with 4G.
    I honestly think Sony was on to something with this system, and could have succeeded if they realized that what was inportant was the games and the support, and that is something Nintendo does very well (Not including Wii U.)
    If anyone can pull this off, and steal back the market, it is Nintendo. I mean, we’re all going to buy the system anyways, why not make it the replacement for our phones? Why not make it the one pocket device we will ever need for the next 5+ years? I say, give it all the functionality it can have. Give options.

    1. That sounds like it could be a good idea, but I do not see that working out well. If it’s supposed to be focused on gaming, having actual buttons and all, how would that even work as a phone? I mean, I could see it being more powerful than the other phones, obviously since it is meant for gaming. But… Buttons, d-pad, the triggers, etc? Huh? If it will fit all that, then I imagine it could be similar to a DS with its design. I’m pretty sure people would be turned off by the thought of pulling out a mini brick out their pockets when they want to make phone calls. But also, everyone doesn’t buy phones to game on. Anyways, I don’t see that working well. If Nintendo will make a phone, they should just make one and let the handhelds be their own thing. At the very least, maybe an option to be able call using wifi with it. But no gaming/phone hybrid. Not to mention, that would probably cost a fortune. High end phones that aren’t even meant to be serious gaming devices already retail for like $600-$700.

      1. “…having actual buttons and all, how would that even work as a phone?”

        Lol I know what you were actually saying with this, but it still made me laugh; considering that cell phones used to have actual buttons rather than touch screens. I pictured a little kid going “A cell phone with buttons?! That’s crazy!”

      2. I don’t mean it is a single device. What I was trying to say is that there would be a game-specific model for a lower price that would have all the normal multimedia functions as a tablet would, and then there would be a model with the functionality of a phone added on. Kind of like what we experienced with the Playstation Vita. We’ve seen phone functionality in a game system before, and that was YEARS ago. Look at the Nokia N-gage. It packed in all of the bells and whistles of phones and handheld game systems from its time, and what consumers got was a pretty versatile device! In fact, arguably the main reason it did not succeed was because the people making it were not Nintendo; the king of the market!
        If Nokia could pull that off in the early 2000’s, then I’m sure Nintendo can figure out how to do that even better as we near 2020.
        I’d suspect if they were to do this, the form factor would be more akin to a Gameboy Advance/PSVita.
        I don’t know, it’s just an idea. I can see why it might not work, and I can see how it could work, but I can’t say for sure, of course. I just think someone needs to take a bold leap forward if the habdheld market is to ever be as massive as it used to be.

  3. Car trips were never the highlight of Handheld Gaming. Does this survey include kids who don’t play video games and use tablets to watch shows? Because that’d be why it’s so high.

    1. I’d imagine all kids were under 8, or at least no older than 10. This is based just off the kids I know. My nephew is 8 and he’s moved well past mobile. He much prefers his 3ds or a home console. Meanwhile, my 4 y/o nephew prefers mobile.

    1. I remember 10 or so years ago when people where concerned over what age to give kids a cell phone. I got my first phone when I was 13, and this was back in 2004 when 13 year olds with phones was kind of pushing it… Now, smartphones and tablets are essentially raising kids, rather than human interaction…

    2. Um, no. You can also use a tablet for educational purposes if that’s what you want your kids to do with gaming just being a reward. You as a parent can control what they do. It’s only spoiling if you let it be. There’s nothing “corrupt” about kids using tablets. It can certainly be a much better and more enjoyable way of teaching them things.

    3. Oh no, I guess I’m corrupt because I prefer my internet-connected, social media-connected smartphone over no-internet handhelds! Why can’t you “fanboys” accept that we’re human and have individual tastes?

  4. Yeah, this survey isn’t exactly specific with how it was conducted. The kids could have been watching Netflix for all we know. That’s not really fair if that’s the case. Plus, I never really play videos games on road trips.. not even when I was a kid. I would always get carsick lol. If they’re looking up at a movie, then its different >_>

  5. I think the obvious reason why kids don’t play with Nintendo handhelds in the car is because it’s just really hard to play with it when the sun glare reduces you to cupping your hand over the screen. I play with my 3DS everyday and I can never play it outside for the same reason until I find a place with enough shade that I can see the screen again.

    1. Yes! I totally forgot about this! That’s why I always bring My Gameboy Color on long trips to play when the Sun is shining in the car, and I use my 3DS or Vita when the sun has set. But of course, we can’t expect everyone to do that. Lol.

  6. This isn’t news, everyone has known for a while that autistic kids prefer tablets that they don’t have to get off of at restaurants for some reason, cod, and minecraft. Yes, kids still play pokemon though not as many and like 3DS, and some here and there have wii Us because their parents chose it or the kid got into nintendo shit early. But for the most part kids do not give a fuck about nintendo, so they can write off kids buying it, means they will probably compete with ps4/xbone right? Probably won’t do that either, so they will end up competing with apps, focus on portability with the NX since the 3DS does well, theme park deals, movies, and just anything else they can make a dime off. They will be like modern day sega (wildly more successful) but mainly just making money off licensing merchandise and shit they made when they used to be good.

  7. I personally find mobile ((tablet and phone)) games kinda boring. I play miitomo for about like 10 mins if at that the only mobile game i have enjoyed is the kingdom hearts game and even then that game is limited unless you want to drop some serious cash. My 3ds though i can play dedicated games that have story, not trying to fuck me over with mirco transactions ((GOD THEY SUCK! They are barely implemented properly!)) and can entertain me for more then 5 mins. I find mobile apps are very much like the atari days. THROW AS MUCH SHIT and see if it sticks over saturate the market, nickel and dime the players, micro transactions, having to make you wait till time meters fill up etc.

    In simpler terms going back to kingdom hearts ((this could apply for most games) why spend TONS of cash for some better combat abilities, more timer meter upgrades etc. when i can spend 20-50 dollars for a game that will give me HOURS of game play. I do though agree Nintendo’s next handheld needs to have better battery life and screen. I do find though my Samsung tablet’s battery gets eaten up quickly when gaming on it often so unless ipad’s are better the battery life argument to me is kinda not there.

    I also feel parents are to blame when it comes to handhelds as i have been into my local eb games, hell walmart and parents i have seen there have almost no clue as to what is what. (I’m not blaming them there we all have lives but it comes off as a i didn’t do a simple google search i instead came to a store for someone to tell me. Like i feel they are lazy and don’t want to do the homework jut have someone tell them instead.))

    Ok last thing on this huge comment (sorry for that btw)) the age in which kids are attracted to iphones etc does scare the Crap out of me. I had a similar scenario happen to my father like Stardust had. That kid was like 4 maybe 5. If i ever had kids i’d be waiting till they were 13 for a tablet etc. I’m going hardcore like here play some snes, nes games. Make them appropriate the technology they have.

    1. The great thing about tablets though, is that you can get emulators on them. Get a bluetooth controller(dualshock controller for example), pair it to your tablet, and you instantly have access to hundreds of classics for free.

  8. It makes sense. Tablets and phones are much more versatile. The question what mobile device do children prefer, not what video game device they prefer. You can read, browse the internet, watch a movie, listen to music, draw, text, watch videos on youtube, and yes, even play games. Whereas the 3DS really only has games and music. Personally, I prefer my phone for roadtrips for listening to music. I get car sick playing games or watching videos.

    1. “Whereas the 3DS really only has games and music”

      to be fair you can also watch movies with the netflix app, videos with the youtube app, and you can draw with the stylus on miiverse, swapnote, or the art academy games. :P

    2. so basically the only thing you can’t do is text. but if you both have animal crossing you can always meet up on Tortimer Island and chat away.

      BOOM. FACED. :p

      1. Well you need an internet connection to watch videos on youtube or netflix or browse the internet. The 3DS can’t do that while you’re on a roadtrip. Phones and most tablets have mobile data connection. And chatting on animal crossing would require the other person to have that game and also be in the car with you, rendering the feature useless on a roadtrip if you just want to chat. Some wireless carriers even go as far as to allow for unlimited streaming on Netflix, so it doesn’t drain all of your data. It should have been a given that phones and tablets are preferable to 3DS for something like a roadtrip.

        1. With Animal Crossing you don’t have to be local to chat, all you need to do is connect to the internet, you can also have a friend visit your town or vice versa as long as you are both connected to the internet. And you could always do that thing where you make your phone a wifi hotspot, but I get what your saying, why go through the trouble of making a hotspot when you can just do most of that stuff on a phone or tablet. I guess in a scenario where there’s like 3 kids in the back seat and they all have a 3DS and the mom makes a hotspot with her phone but still needs her phone for google maps to guide her to said destination, then that could be kind of practical. But hopefully the next handheld NX will have an option for 4G LTE because that would solve this entire problem lol

  9. A 500 sample size for a study comparing two different markets with a common demographic hardly indicates anything. The problem here is the decline of portable gaming due to a lot of factors different from the child’s preferences, the biggest of all being the parent’s attitude towards gaming in general. Besides that, as others have mentioned, they are comparing them purely as “entertainment devices”. Of course dedicated handhelds would sell less than an all-in-one device.

  10. Then your asking the wrong kids. The games and play aren’t the same. Make a new version of a motionless system and it will sell. I have every Nintendo’s system and would take them over a tablet every time. I always buy physical copies. Plus the controls aren’t nearly as good and its not as exciting.

  11. Tablets are a universal device rather than a dedicated one. More kids probably have one, whether their own or shared with a sibling or family, so of course they prefer that. But the 3DS doesn’t have games that get crippled at the lack of an internet connection. Sure some tablets are connected to a cellular network but not all of them. Kids are also being raised on those rather than a GameBoy or DS. They offer educational apps that attract parents and as they grow they get into more games. Personally I’d rather them play games on a 3DS, most apps seem a bit mindless to me. I’ll always prefer a 3DS or even the Vita to a tablet. I’ve never invested as much time in an app as I have a game on 3DS or Vita. I’ll play on my tablet for an hour at most throughout the day. When I play the Vita or 3DS I typically play for a few hours at a time. You don’t get the same experience on a tablet.

  12. I remember when i was a kid i was being taught that i’m not allowed to use phones because it’s “too advance” for me also “dangerous” somehow, from teachers and parents and it was the age of flip phones… Lol now days my step sister (2-3years old) uses a smartphone like if it was her toy, also my step family said she’s going to be a genius because they think “She’s the only one who can poses da powah! XD”, but, turns out this is very common kids her age! :P

  13. Well it’s not surprising but this is where Nintendo got it wrong by not caring for adults. Why you might ask, well it’s easy children want to do like parents. Before the tablet and smartphone age parents used laptop and for games portable device. Now mums (especially) and none technical people in general live with their tablet and smartphone devices. SO it is not a surprise the children end up with the same device cause they want to do the same as the parents. If Nintendo want to be successful again just aim for the parents (dad are the easiest target).

    1. I got my video games & my wife has a tablet. Our son is going to grow up being interested in video games & mobile stuff. Of course, he mostly uses her tablet for Youtube & sometimes Netflix. Luckily, he was exposed to video games before he was exposed to tablets so I’m not too worried about him becoming one of those mobile gamer brats.

  14. That’s effing bullshit. I’d take my DS on every single road trip I took since I got one and almost never look at my phone

  15. “DVDs” Like, there’s hardly a DVD player (Disc player) now of days. Well, at least Sony and Microsoft kept the Disc player for consoles but think about it tho. What if the next 5/10 years that we all have to download games from our console? And what if you beat the game and want to share it to a friend or sell it to Game or Gamestation? Too bad you can’t.

    Fuck Digital Gaming. I rather stay with Physical Discs.

  16. Besides miitomo the only app game i play every once in a while is Worms 4 on the iPad. It’s actually a fantastic mobile version of Worms because it’s not just a port, it’s actually specifically designed for iOS. I also love the new take on the art style, if you’re a fan of the Worms series I highly recommend it!

  17. LMAO. I can’t believe they lost to DVDs.

    This seems like a flawed study as there may be other variables in play. E.G. a child that age may not be able to decide on their own and there’s parental input in the choice.

  18. well no sh*t
    I mean first off, have you tried playing a New 3ds on a road trip!?!? The glare is so ridiculous you’re like do I really want to try and squint on this small ass screen when I have a tablet that’s large and user friendly with no glare. Come the F*ck on Nintendo! Get with it! I defend you so please back me the f*ck up and step your game up. If your NX handheld isn’t a tablet you’re f*ckin stupid. Compete with your competitors on their level. I’m sure Quirky Nintendo and their masterful wizardry can make a tablet better than a non gaming tech co, right?

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