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Carmack: 3DS and NGP may be the last “specialized handheld game consoles ever built”

Wednesday, 9 February 2011 14:33 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

John Carmack is of the opinion that Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s NGP could be “the last generation of specialized handheld game consoles ever built.”

Speaking with The Dallas Morning News, the id Software wizard believes the new handhelds will be the last of their kind due to the insurgence of the smartphone and tablet market.

“The smart phone may turn out to be 80 percent as good at gaming as a dedicated gaming platform,” he said. “People are going to carry their smart phone, and if it’s an 80 percent gaming device, how many people in the gaming market will be satisfied with that? One of the things that we’ve seen is the type of games that people play on the smart phones, at the moment, tend to be pretty casual games.

“If that’s what the consumers are going to trend towards on there, there may not be much as developers we can do about that. You don’t always get to build pyramids just because you want to.”

Carmack added that some developers are a bit reluctant at the moment to consider smart phones and tablets as gaming devices, because consumers are still willing to fork over $40 or $50 for a DS or PSP title. These same consumers, Carmack believes, are still a bit shy when it comes to spending money on a downloadable game on their smart phone or tablet, no matter how inexpensive.

3DS is out in March and Sony plans to have NGP in stores in time for the holidays, and you can bet the farm the industry will be watching these devices more closely than ever.

Thanks, RipTen.

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19 Comments

  1. OlderGamer

    Funny how the western game guys don’t understand eastern markets and vica versa.

    In JP handhelds are a way of life. Over here cellphone, PDAs, etc are.

    Those two things won’t be changing anytime soon.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. KAP

    2012 IS the end of the world then.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    3DS and NGP may be the last “specialized handheld game consoles ever built”

    Nope. The reason is simple:

    1) First party franchises like Mario and Uncharteds will help to build a huge hype on any device Sony or Nintendo is going to make

    2) Gamers enjoy playing with two thumbsticks and proper controls, so no way.
    I give a shit about my Android smartphone, because with touch screen i can’t play something with that stupid touch interface.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Blerk

    I think he’s right.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. typeface

    While Carmack is a smart guy I think I’ll have to disagree with him on this scenario. Handheld gaming devices and consoles aren’t really going anywhere. We’ll see a convergence of all devices at one point but that doesn’t mean different brands and dedicated devices will disappear.

    The most popular games on the app store are always the 59p and 99p ones. It’s very rare that games above that price are popular. If they are they have to be really good. Games above the 3 quid range don’t sell as much. Sure they may be profitable but the sales figures are usually lower. The thing is because people do not have a problem buying cheap and disposable games on their iPhones. The slightly higher priced ones do better if they have an iPad version or well sales which there are plenty of. In fact in some cases developers find it hard to support some of their older versions and scrap it entirely to release the same thing with a few more bugfixes and slightly more features perhaps. Like simcity being discontinued for simcity deluxe.

    People buy these titles cause they’re cheap and disposable. At the same time very rarely would you buy these same titles for your dedicated handhelds. Some titles might do ok when they cross platforms but not all. When you buy games for your dedicated handhelds you want them to be of a certain quality and you want them to be good. If these same titles are available on the iPhone their sales unless priced much lower do not sell at all. In fact I’ll go ahead and say it I do not think you can find lots of people willing to pay 15-25 quid on the iPhone for a good game. On the other hand you can for dedicated handhelds because you know people know they’re getting decent quality for it. There are exceptions to the rule.

    But until there exists a device that can bridge that gap we’ll not really see the death of a dedicated handheld to a mobile phone. Neither Apple nor Google wants to spread their focus onto having games. It’s an afterthought. For comparison, people do eat junk food from Burger King or McDonalds but it doesn’t mean that gourmet burgers are dead and no one should ever think of selling burgers outside those markets. Human commodities work like that because not everything is comparable for most people.

    As a footnote the NGP bridges the markets (PS Suite plus eventual Android PS certified games and the big budget ones) but isn’t a phone and that approach is something that really needs to be observed.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Catkiller

    Indeed. I heard that nonesense many times, but no way. Even I have handhelds and smartphone, but on smartphone I play just those Angry Birds. Oher games are much more confy to control via classic pad buttons and sticks like on every hanheld… Its seems hysterical to me trying to put almost every game to the handheld. Once this hysteric will calm people will realize why handhelds are better…

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Goffee

    So, John, on-rails shooters are the future then? But, seriously, I understand his point – but real games and gamers need some buttons and phones just can’t provide them!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Zurtech

    Wow, for once I completely agree with Erthazus! ^_^

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Blerk

    The trouble is, you’re all coming at this from the point of view of gamers. There are many, many more ‘telephone users’ than ‘gamers’.

    As the phones get better at playing games, the casual players who dabbled in the DS before aren’t going to bother with a dedicated handheld console any more, so the potential audience for such a device dwindles. Meanwhile, gamers themselves have smart phones too. At some point (and I suspect sooner than you think) there’ll be no profit in even making a dedicated handheld – why target the much, much smaller audience when you can hit the much larger one?

    As for the ‘better controls’ thing, who’s to say phones won’t get better controls themselves?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9 But not every telephone user play games at ALL.

    When you buy dedicated handheld GAMING device you expect ONLY games from it.

    DS sold already for 135 million units and still selling like hotcakes.

    Games were in mobile phones before. Remember “Snake” game on old Nokia 3310 and etc?

    So this is it. No point to argue about this, because everything depends on First party software and consumers who just want dedicated handheld device that does only GAMING.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Blerk

    If you only expect games from it, why are both of the new kids on the block offering a wide variety of non-game services as well? The answer is simple – to compete with phones, MP3 players, etc. Once you have a single device which can do all of these well AND answer calls, what’s the point in having separate devices.

    I don’t buy the whole first-party software thing. I think this generation of under-the-telly consoles have proven that the first-party exclusive is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I suspect that the huge casual audience that Nintendo coaxed into trying the DS don’t even pay attention to who the developer or publisher is – they just buy the games they want to play.

    What if, for instance, the next Professor Layton game was on iOS and Android as well as on DS? How many people would buy the cheaper version for the phone they always have with them? Especially when it’ll cost them a fraction of the price?

    In the West, at least, I don’t believe handhelds can survive as they are for much longer. Who knows, maybe they’ll turn into phones themselves? But maybe Sony and Nintendo will just start making phone games instead. Oh, wait – they did. One of them, at least.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Blerk

    Let’s put it this way. On Sundays, I take my kids to swimming lessons. While I wait for them to finish, I sit at the poolside with the other mums and dads and siblings. 18 months ago, everyone had books and DSes. These days, they all have iPhones and Kindles. Even the kids have iPhones, and they’re not making calls, they’re playing games. The DSes are gone.

    I still have a good old-fashioned book, btw. :-)

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Aimless

    I really see handheld and mobile gaming as separate entities. There’s some crossover, sure, but the latter has always been about killing time for 10-15 minutes whilst I’ve spent hours at a time playing Game Boy, DS or PSP games in bed/on the sofa/in the garden/on the beach.

    Handheld gaming hasn’t really changed, mobile gaming has simply become popular. I don’t think they’re the competitors a lot of people seem to think, though, or at least no more than Flash or Facebook gaming are impinging on the sales of Xbox 360s.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Zurtech

    @13 I was writing a more serious post but you beat me to my points I was going to raise.

    There’s more than enough gamers who want a handheld console to keep one or even two afloat and healthy. Not to mention with exclusive titles that just won’t appear on ipod or the like, like Pokémon, LBP, Mario, Uncharted etc.

    If this is right tho, then surely by that same logic Facebook will replace home console and PC gaming?

    But personally I think if anything handheld gaming will be more replace home consoles in time. If Japan’s anything to go by, might already be on the way to that?

    #14 4 years ago
  15. SOMI

    People rather die of cancer the touch the 3DS, NGP FTW! sony FTW!

    #15 4 years ago
  16. mishuma

    Actually, the reason John Carmack is wrong is simply because the market is selling. I believe the real end of the line will come when people stop buying Nintendo / Sony handhelds … well at least Nintendo.

    However, If Nintendo decides to start selling a phone integrated gaming system then I would expect Sony to bail, as well. This would require Nintendo to team up with a carrier which means restrictions with a possibly equal partner which I don’t believe they have done since Sony and the discarded cd drive system.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. mishuma

    Clarification – stop selling, as in the release of the next handheld dips rather dramatically, pushing Nintendo / Sony to look for other outlets. However, looking at the 3DS sales it does not appear to be slowing down.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. fuchikoma

    Right… Sometimes I’m amazed at how such key figures can be so out of touch. Over here, I could see it, but these aren’t Western systems. I’d be less surprised if there were only handhelds in the future and they gave up on home systems.

    …but either one ranks with up there with the “one console future” pipe dream… Not happening soon!

    #18 4 years ago
  19. back_up

    noob carmack is idiot he should be given one tight slap

    NGP is the best and specialized handheld game consoles ever built not 3ds
    3ds sucks big time moron carmack

    #19 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]

  • The Crew two-hour demo now available in US, tomorrow in the UK

    Ubisoft has announced a free trial of its driving MMO The Crew will be available tomorrow, March 25 in the UK. It’s live today in North America. For current players, the Vintage Car Pack and Vintage Live Update, including a new PvP mode, are now available. The Vintage Car Pack included the Chevrolet Corvette C2 […]

  • Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up and Pattern Texture Pack out from today

    A Mass Effect Mash-up pack and the Pattern Texture Pack will release on PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita today in North America and tomorrow in Europe. The Pattern Texture Pack is also available for Xbox consoles today. The Mass Effect Mash-Up pack contains the Mars Facility from Mass Effect 3 plus textures and craftable items […]

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

    An expansion for The Talos Principle has been announced titled Road to Gehenna. The expansion follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim’s messenger, as he explores a “strange, hidden part of the simulation” on a mission of “mercy and redemption.” Uriel is attempting to free the souls of the damned “at all costs.” Road to Gehenna […]

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon finally catches ‘em all – even the rare Mewtwo

    Twitch Plays Pokemon players have captured all 151 original Pokemon which were included in a modified version of Pokemon Red, and this includes the rare Mewtwo. It took 39 days for Twitch players to catch ‘em all. Have a look at the impressive feat for yourself below. Thanks, Polygon.

  • GameStop will have limited units of Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL back in stock

    Those who missed out on the Limited Edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL will have another opportunity to purchase it outside of eBay. Tomorrow only, GameStop stores in the United States will have four units in stock, according to and internal memo sent to Kotaku. This is every store in the country, and again, only […]

  • Second phase of Fortnite closed Alpha launches today

    Fortnite’s second closed Alpha test will go live this afternoon, according to the official website. Those currently participating will have until April 14 to test the online aspects for 12 hours per day (noon -12am EDT). All progress from the previous Alpha test will be wiped, and other changes are listed in the patch notes. […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon out now on PC, Xbox One

    As promised yesterday, the single-player DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, is now available on PC and Xbox One. It will run you or £11.99 or your regional equivalent. The new content expands the land of Thedas with mountainous regions and forests, and it is full of “vicious enemies.” Players will also be […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows Ascendance gameplay

    Activision has released a new gamepay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to support the Ascendance DLC which releases next week. Ascendance, will release first on Xbox consoles March 31 and includes the next chapter of the Exo Zombies Saga, Infected, along with four new multiplayer maps: Perplex, Site 244, Climate and Chop Shop. […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight will be a digital only release on PC – report

    It appears Batman: Arkham Knight will not see a physical release on PC, according to ShopTo. The retailer was told by its buyer the Rocksteady game will only be released on PC in digital form. ShopTo is currently double checking the information. If accurate, it is unknown if this will be case in North America […]

  • Bloodborne patch focusing on load times, performance optimizations in the works

    A patch for Bloodborne which will address load times is in the works, Sony has said The load times were one of the issues noted in Digital Foundry’s report on the From Software title. Sony told Eurogamer the patch would also explore other issues as well. “The development team is currently exploring another patch for […]

  • Gearbox would “love” to have entire Borderlands collection on current-gen

    An Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of the original Borderlands game is something Gearbox Software is interested in, according to studio boss Randy Pitchford. Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said should Borderlands: The Handsome Collection prove successful, 2K Games might consider a current-gen version. “The fact that The […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork shows the catacombs, dock, more

    Over the weekend we posted Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork along with news of a retail release in Europe. Today, we have better quality images of said artwork to share with you. Enjoy. The standalone prequel will be released digitally on May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in North America, and digitally on […]

  • Slender: The Arrival terrorizes PS4 and Xbox One this week

    In case you forgot, what with Bloodborne out today and other high profile releases of late, Slender: The Arrival is out today on PlayStation 4 in North America. The scary game will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow, March 25, and in Europe on PS4. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion on the original Slender game […]

  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]