Iwata: Gamers need dedicated handhelds, have a desire for 'rich and deep' experiences

The argument for the 3DS has been precarious at the outset, price not withstanding. With the rise of the iPhone and Android devices, people are playing more games on their phones and tablets than ever before, cutting into a handheld gaming market dominated by Nintendo for more than a decade.

"I don't think there's not a bright future for handheld devices but I understand that the competition, again with the rise of smart devices is different, and I do recognize that," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told Kotaku during a frank discussion on the 3DS and current portable gaming ecosystem. Iwata offered insight, not only on his own company's stance, but on the needs of consumers in general – and how Nintendo isn't trying to compete so much as offer value.

"Previously we had to think, ok, 'How are we competing with Sony?, How are we competing with Microsoft?, How do we compete with all the other software titles and all the other publishers out there?' That environment has changed. And the games available for smartphones, I'm not saying that none of these are interesting, rich or fun experiences, because I know that there are some. And one way we can ensure that there's a market for handheld gaming devices is by continuing to bring out entertaining and engaging software that will provide users experiences that they cannot get on these other devices."

Iwata expects the need for "rich and deep" experiences will remain consistent, even while consumers change the context in which they play games. "I believe that as environments change and as the world progresses we're going to have different ways in which people want to spend their time," he said. "That being said, I don't think we're going to see the desire to have, again, rich and deep sort of gaming experiences... we're not going to see that vanish. That's not going to go away."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.