John Carmack says NGP, 3DS may be last dedicated gaming handhelds

With the iPhone and Android becoming viable gaming platforms, the days of portable gaming devices may be numbered, opines id Software mastermind John Carmack.

Back in the day, you used to need to buy a PDA, a mobile phone, and a portable game system to get everything you can get out of today's smartphone. There was a universal understanding that any device trying to function as more than one of the above would never be able to do either one sufficiently.

Looking back in history, products like Nokia's N-Gage gaming phone, HP's iPaq phone, and Tiger Telematic's Gizmondo all eventually failed because they tried to do too much.

These days, it's a completely different industry, and if you have a handheld gadget that isn't multi-functional, it's laughed off the market. Because of that, Carmack says, there will be no use at all for game devices that aren't phones, or at least multi-purpose like the iPod Touch.

Consumers want more out of their gadgets these days, he said, adding, "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 seemed a bit disappointed that the market is turning this way. He said that, at most, future "gaming" devices will only be 80% focused on games, which could potentially disrupt developer interest and sacrifice quality in the long run.

But on the flip side, it means more people are buying game systems, so there's more money to be made, and the incentive is higher.

Nevertheless, the PSP successor and 3DS will certainly still attract a lot of interest. It's what happens after they've run their course that will be interesting to watch.

[Source: VG247]

Feb 10, 2011