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.