In a recent interview with the BBC, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, has had some scathing things to say about Nintendo as a company. The most poignant of those statements is that the Kyoto company “could be on the path to irrelevance.” He believes that handheld gaming devices are becoming an extinct breed in the age of mobile gaming with smartphones and tablets and that Nintendo’s ever shrinking market will spell doom if they don’t adapt.
“I don’t think handheld game-only devices make sense anymore. Not when you have an iPod or an Android microtablet. Nintendo always had a soft spot for young people – they sort of did the 12-and-under pretty well, and the other guys did the 12-and-over. And now I think the other [consoles] are good enough on those things, and the rush to upgrade from the 12-and-under is not nearly as important.”
It’s interesting to hear an industry veteran’s opinion in Nintendo as a company, but it’s hard to see the likes of handheld gaming and its heavy hitters like Pokemon, the Mario & Luigi RPGs, and Fire Emblem going away anytime soon.