Xbox COO sees dedicated handheld market as a 'red ocean,' will let Sony and Nintendo swim in it

Dennis Durkin is COO and CFO for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. He's also a dude thoroughly disillusioned with the future of portable consoles. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Durkin explains that the "crowded" nature of the mobile gaming market right now makes it extremely difficult to launch a dedicated handheld gaming device successfully -- in his colorful words, it's "a very, very red ocean." Whose blood is soiling those waters? The Nintendo 3DS, says Durkin, which has sold reasonably well, but has clearly failed to reach the lofty expectations set for it by fans and previous handhelds from the company. Likewise, the PS Vita invites a lot of skepticism from the Xbox chief, who says his excitement is reserved for what Microsoft can do with Kinect, Xbox Live and unique content. You might say it's to be expected that an Xbox exec would be casting doubt over Sony's great new hope, but what we learn in the process is that Microsoft has no intentions of squaring up to its home console nemesis on the mobile front. Not with dedicated hardware, anyway.