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Every Portable System Releasing In 2021

The 2010s weren't exactly the best decade for portable consoles. As cellphones increased in power and graphical fidelity, developers shifted from trying to figure out what sort of innovative design solutions they could come up with to translating the most popular titles to a mobile touchscreen experience. Titles such as "PUBG: Mobile" showed that some of those efforts were successful, but not all gamers found what they were looking for in those often watered-down versions of popular games.


All of that changed, however, when the Nintendo Switch arrived in 2017. Nintendo's new entry into both the handheld and traditional console markets demonstrated just how much potential a smaller, adaptable system could have. The Nintendo Switch became a hit upon its release, and its sales were still on fire well into 2021 thanks to titles such as "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," "Mario Kart 8: Deluxe," and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."

Nintendo's massive success with the Switch has seemingly reinvigorated the handheld market, which now has many new systems on the horizon. Here is every portable system yet to be released in 2021.

Nintendo Switch OLED

When the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, it quickly made its mark as the best console Nintendo had produced in a decade. The system sold well, and a strong roster of games helped reassert Nintendo's position as one of the defining voices in video games.


The console maker hopes to continue its run with the Nintendo Switch OLED, an updated version of the system that will provide a brighter screen, better speakers, and 64 GB of internal storage. While some fans were underwhelmed by the announcement, which many hoped would reveal the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro, the company clearly thinks that their future lies in controlling the hybrid handheld market.

Supporting the system are some pretty exciting games. At the top of the list are new titles in well-known franchises such as "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," sequel and "Metroid Dread," but new entries such as "Blue Fire" and "Card Shark" demonstrate that there is plenty of room for innovation on the new system. Fans will have a chance to give the revamped console a try when it releases on October 8, 2021.


Steam Deck

While Nintendo might be the current king of handheld gaming, Valve seems to think there is room for competition. The legendary game designers and innovative creators of the Steam marketplace have officially announced their entry into portable gaming with the Steam Deck.


For much of early 2021, gamers speculated about whether the company had a handheld console on the way, and those wishes finally came true when Valve revealed the Steam Deck on July 15. The handheld console is set to arrive in December 2021 and is being released in three different models, which have the internet divided. The base model, priced at $399, only has 64 GB of storage, while the higher-end models, which can cost as much as $649, will offer storage space up to 512 GB and feature an NVME SSD for faster loading.

While the different price points of the Steam Deck have inspired a bit of controversy, the true appeal of the new portable system is the potential to play the entire Steam Library. The company has highlighted titles such as "Control," "Doom Eternal," and "Hades" to demonstrate the potential power and versatility of the new console, although some gamers are worried that the system won't be able to run some of Steam's biggest games.



While some of the most significant upcoming portable systems seek to replicate the gaming experience of a traditional console or PC setup, the indie development studio Panic has a different approach. In 2019, the company unveiled the Playdate, a new kind of retro handheld that has caught the attention of gamers with an unusual feature: a crank.


Pitched as a lower-cost alternative to high-end handhelds such as the Nintendo Switch OLED or Steam Deck, the Playdate is priced at an affordable $179. That lower price point does impact the overall capabilities of the machine, which will ship with a relatively tiny 2.7-inch black and white display. The system's unique control aspect, the crank, is an interesting addition that gamers will just have to wait and experience on their own.

The big contrast between the Playdate and the rest of the market is that the device will arrive with different seasons of games. Season 1 will come with 24 exclusive Playdate games, designed by Panic expressly for the device and its unique capabilities. While the designers have not yet set a definite ship date for the Playdate, the system begins taking pre-orders in July.


Intellivision Amico

Splitting the difference between high-end handhelds such as the Nintendo Switch OLED and lower-priced alternatives like the Playdate is the Intellivision Amico. The new console comes from the long-running line of family entertainment systems which, while never a dominant force in the same sense as Nintendo or Sony, enjoys a solid legacy of successful products.


In addition, the Intellivision Amico will ship with support for well-known brands such as "Earthworm Jim," "Mattel Hot Wheels," and "Sesame Workshop." The console will ship with two wireless controllers featuring a color touchscreen, a positional control disc, and four side buttons that promise arcade-style controls.

When the portable system was first announced in 2018, its target release date was set for 2020. However, delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the company from hitting that date, and the arrival date has been pushed back multiple times. Currently, the console is supposed to be released to gamers in October 2021.