Handheld consoles could go pay-monthly, say industry experts

Could we be getting the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS on monthly contracts in the future? Games industry experts think so

The portable gaming future could include consoles like Sony's PlayStation Vita and Nintendo's 3DS being available for free, with a monthly payment hire-purchase model similar to that seen with mobile phones.

GamesIndustry.biz reports that numerous industry pundits – including Elite creator David Braben and Codemasters' Jamie MacDonald – see gamers paying a monthly fee for their handheld consoles and mobile data allowances. It could result in a cost-friendly way to have a internet-connected gaming device on the go.

Meanwhile, Game CEO Ian Shepherd reckons that in the future, the high street chain will sell contracts instead of hardware – essentially turning into Carphone Warehouse for video games.

Subscription models are already making their way into the games industry thanks to cloud gaming services like OnLive – so could we end up getting mobile gaming hardware like the Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita for a monthly payment, or is cloud gaming going to do away with the need for expensive hardware altogether?

We're not quite sure if the proposed model would be every gamer's cup of tea –, but as long as it's optional it might not be too long before you're fragging away on your Vita for a nominal monthly fee.

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