Is 2022 the year when the handheld console industry resurrects?

Handheld Console Growth in 2022
Honor X9b Ad
Honor X9b Ad

Like many other industries, the consumer tech vertical seems to be going through a bit of a cycle as well. While smartphones are still big in developing markets, many developed markets are seeing degrowth when it comes to smartphones. We’ve already seen how the automobile market has taken a turn since the pandemic, with used vehicle sales at an all-time high. And in 2022, the handheld console industry is all set to go through its own renaissance phase.

Chinese dominance in the handheld console industry

Like most other consumer electronics categories, handheld consoles are also being dominated by Chinese players. Companies like AYN, Anbernic, AYANeo, PowKiddy, etc., seem to have created this trend.

Anbernic RG351MP Gaming Console
Anbernic RG351MP

While the Nintendo Switch has been a poster boy for all things handheld gaming for the past few years, the aforementioned Chinese OEMs are taking things up a notch in 2022. And that is evident in the number of launches.

To give you an idea, handheld console products like the AYN Odin (crowdfunded and currently shipping), AYANeo (Windows-based handheld for AAA titles) on the higher end, and the likes of Anbernic’s RG351MP on the lower end of the spectrum are spoiling users for choice like never before.

That’s basically to say that there’s probably something for everyone, regardless of your budget. Those with deeper pockets can snag an AYANeo, whereas if you’re not looking to spend too much, you can pick one of the best retro consoles under $100.

What next? What’s the console for you?

With a slew of launches planned for the second half of 2022, we’re going to be spoilt for choices. AYANeo has the Air (touted as the cheapest Windows handheld) and Air Plus in the works, AYN is striving to ship their orders for the Odin, and Miyoo working on the Miyoo P60. Needless to say, it’s going to be an exciting year for retro handheld console enthusiasts.

Aya Neo Air Plus Design
AYANeo Air Plus

If you’re intrigued, a good place to start would be to first identify what kind of a gamer you are. Currently, the handheld consoles market is split broadly into three categories:

  • AAA titles (GTA 5, etc.) on the go — Windows handheld
  • Casual gamer — Android handheld
  • Retro gamer — Retro handheld with emulator support

As mentioned, there is a handheld console for everybody. Once you identify what kind of gaming you wish to engage in, it gets a lot easier. For those that are unable to figure out, the AYN Odin is a great pick.

  • Meanwhile, check out our review of the AYANeo Pro 2021.