Nintendo is in a strange place right now. With its home console sales waning, the company has been leaning on the success of the 3DS handheld in order to keep it in the black. But as iOS and Android devices gain power and prominence, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is betting on the big N to lose the war. Speaking with the BBC, the 70-year-old Bushnell explains that dedicated handheld gaming systems just don't seem to make much sense any longer.
"I don't think handheld game-only devices make sense anymore, not when you have an iPod or an Android microtablet. When it comes to the console market, I think the market is truncating," he explains.
Of course, this is also the same man who went (jokingly) digging in the desert for discarded copies of the abysmal Atari 2600 version of E.T, so maybe we should take his opinion with a small grain of salt.
I've written at length about the risk mobile platforms like iOS pose to gaming as a whole, and while I don't believe console or PC gamers have much to worry about, it's fairly clear at this point that portable systems like the 3DS are going to have to step up their game in order to remain relevant. Still, the battle isn't an easy win for iOS either, and the lack of physical control input is a definite hurdle that will need to be overcome before a victor can truly be declared.