Doom Creator Thinks 3DS and NGP Could Be the Last Dedicated Handhelds

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Doom Creator Thinks 3DS and NGP Could Be the Last Dedicated Handhelds

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Developers may have no option but to embrace smart phones, says id's John Carmack.

The gaming world might be abuzz with excitement about the 3DS and the NGP, but Carmack isn't entirely sure that the portable gaming market will support another generation of dedicated hardware. He thinks that Nintendo and Sony's upcoming handhelds might be the last we ever see.

Carmack didn't think that multi-function, touch screen devices were ever going to be as good for playing games on as a dedicated gaming handheld. However, he thought that the games you could play on an iPhone or similar device, weren't a million miles away, and for some people that would be good enough. Carmack wasn't sure exactly how many might settle for what he called an "80% gaming device," but said that if it was a big enough number, then developers would have no choice but to follow. "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," he said. "You don't always get to build pyramids just because you want to."

There's certain some truth in what Carmack is saying, but what he's describing is very much a worst case scenario. There's no reason that developers can't make content for dedicated handhelds and for devices like the iPhone or iPad, and it's hard to believe that Apple or Android will be such a big threat that making new hardware becomes completely unfeasible.

Just like Carmack says, there will inevitably be some shrinkage of the audience for devices like the 3DS and NGP due to the rise of smart phones. Those audience aren't going to just disappear entirely, though, as there will always be some gamers for whom an "80% gaming device" isn't enough. The 3DS, for example, might not reach the 145 million units its predecessor sold, but it could sell half of that total, or even less, and still make money for Nintendo.

Source: Dallas News via VG247

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Shame everything controls like ass on a smartphone. Except simplistic novelty games of course

The obvious answer is already here, I thought. The handhelds ARE becoming smartphones, with 3g and internet, and one of them thats actually a phone, lol.

I can't fathom playing Pokemon on my ipod. The lack of buttons, for one. Touch screen works to an extent, but...

Touchscreen is not good enough for the majority of games.
And Smartphones tend to lose battery ridiculously fast when you try anything 3d-ish.

Come back when they have decent battery life for this, handheld that you have to keep plugged-in to actually game on is not a handheld.

BabyRaptor:
I can't fathom playing Pokemon on my ipod. The lack of buttons, for one. Touch screen works to an extent, but...

No one's saying that the next generation of handhelds from Nintendo and Sony have to abandon traditional D-pads and face buttons. Just that they will have to be fully functional smartphones in addition to gaming devices.

It's bull, Smart-Phones will not replace Hand-helds in the same way that PC doesn't supplant consoles, even less so because Dedicated handhelds get to be more powerful as they will be bigger(Compare DS to iPhone)

I've tried playing games like NOVA on a friends iPhone, it worked OK but because my hands are fairly big, it was a bit difficult to see what I was doing since the control interface is on the screen. But thats just nitpicking, without actually owning an iPhone or iPad it's not really fair of me to pass judgment based on a single experience. I guess Carmack is right in someways, but I don't think the handheld systems will be leaving us for a while yet.

Dragonsoulq:
It's bull, Smart-Phones will not replace Hand-helds in the same way that PC doesn't supplant consoles, even less so because Dedicated handhelds get to be more powerful as they will be bigger(Compare DS to iPhone)

Exactly.
Its nice not having to pay $2-300 a year just to keep a computer up to date

Just like its nice not having to spend $2-300 to make sure my Iphone is up to date, then have to pay for my phone service from someone else so it actually has some use.

Even IF handhelds died out to the smart phones, it ain't going to make me get one. My cell-phone does all the texting and calling I need, I don't need games on it.

He has a point to a certain extent. Hand helds will just become less and less specialised and will be capable of a lot more than what hand helds used to be about. The PSP has already started the trend and you could argue that regular consoles began diversifying in the same manner when they started playing audio CDs. You can look at a PS3 or 360 for example. They have many more features than just playing games. Granted some of these features are a little under developed and in some cases just plain half assed. Nintendo have only just caught on to features other than gaming. After the NGP and 3DS any new hand helds will have well and truly become diverse in what they can function as. I would expect a smart phone, hand held gaming device hybrid. Something along the lines of the Xperia Play. Sony seem to know where the industry is going.

perhaps not the last, but it is a dying breed. convergence will win out in the end.

Smartphone tech is almost moving too fast for dedicated systems at this point. Did you know there are already smartphones out that have 3D the way Nintendo does it? Did you know there is a dual-screen smart phone coming out? How about phones with processor speeds over 1.0Ghz or dual-core phones such as the Droid Bionic? Apple coming out with an iPhone a year is almost too slow let alone a handheld game system ever 5. The hardware in the 3DS is disgusting compared to phones with specs like this. The NGP on the other hand with a quad-core has a better chance at longevity though, just because the games will have better capability on a more powerful system.

Yes, because entire hardware support and software development is suddenly going to stop in the next couple of years.

While i believe handheld gaming is slowly going the way of the dodo thanks to a similar level of saturation that's affecting the Wii market, they aren't suddenly going to die off and fade into obscurity. Apps might be fun to play now and then, but not everyone has an iPhone, iPad or iPod and not everyone wants one. Gaming on those platforms is a bonus, not a focus. You can't expect those without such products to shell out up to £600 just so they can suddenly play portable games.

If handheld gaming is fated for an early grave, it'll be the outright death of the market entirely, with apps just happening to still be sticking around, since so many one-man-teams make extremely cheap thrown together stuff to get noticed. I can't ever see full developer support behind an app game, sorry.

But... but are we still getting the original Quake on Iphone? That would be fun! Well, there is truth to Carmack's words.

The only reason I don't agree is because smartphones are dedicated to so many other things. Not to mention, there is always a war on phone companies and which network gets what. This is ultimately stupid and hurts networks and phone manufacturer. I can't imagine Sony or Nintendo are going to agree with these things on a handheld. Just because gaming is the most profitable entertainment market doesn't mean they are going to integrate it into everyday life. They even tried this maybe 6-8 years ago, it was an utter failure. It was a handheld gaming system that doubled as a current generation smartphone.

Life time to date, the DS has just shy of twice as many units as the iPhone (145 million to 73.5 million). Despite the hype, Apple's products simply aren't selling nearly as well as Nintendo's, and they never have. There may come a time when Sony and Nintendo have something to worry about from smart-phones, but that's still a pretty far ways off.

Handhelds will become more like phones, but phones will also become more like handhelds.
There is still a demand for non-touch digital controls out there. I don't think they're going to die any time soon.

Somehow I doubt phones will ever integrate everything present in a 3DS, or even a NGP.

I'll slit my wrists before I use a smartphone for gaming.

Go away.

No, Carmack is right on spot. He's not saying dedicated portable gaming machines can't exist. The point is, they need to use the common architecture and operating system. Just like we have camera phones and TV phones and GPS navigation phones, there can be gaming phones which may handle exactly like a PSP, with gaming controls and thumbsticks. It just needs to run Android or iOS or whatever so games made for the system will work on smartphones and vice versa. Remember N-Gage? Something like that. Just better.

Also, the reason why DS sells and works so well and why PSP is a piece of shit is because Nintendo understands what people expect from a portable entertainment device. Just compare with that brick PSP with an optical drive. Gosh. Seriously.

I know there are many people who like to play Gran Turismo or God of War on the PSP, but really, portable entertainment is something else. And after all, even games like Gran Turismo will be better and more successful when they can exist for a universal system.

Also, noone is saying that smartphones need to rely only on the touchscreen. That's just the current (stupid) craze. Just look at Blackberry.

Again, people: smartphone doesn't equal touchscreen! Most of the current touchscreen phones are actually the dumbest.

The creator of Doom predicts DOOM for portable game consoles, eh?

He better be wrong, or else life will suck.

To counter his argument, PCs can be used for gaming -or- a whole slew of other programs, and consoles can be used to play games, movies, music, etc. Why can't a handheld gaming device also be a phone?

Pfft. The DS just recently surpassed even the mighty PS2 in sales a few weeks ago. It would be the most retarded move from Nintendo NOT to continue in it's hardware line.

As for Sony, they better keep making handhelds. God of War on my train is extremely cool.
If he seriously thinks just because casuals require some sort of phone usage for their handheld to be useful, then handhelds will go out as a whole, he's a bit wrong. There are hardcore players out there.

I dont want my DS/PSP/other future handhelds to be part god damn phone. I rarely use my cellphone as is, in reality its basically a waste of $25 a month. If I wanted a phone and a gaming device I'd go buy a N-gage.

All this smart phone N-gage gaming stuff will be the death of me. Seriously. If I have to invest in a cellphone to play Pokemon I think I'll actually end my life.

I agree, but with an important distinction

I think the lines between smartphones and dedicated gaming devices are going to blur, and we'll start seeing more smartphones with gaming-like button layouts marketed for people who like portable gaming.

Third party support does not flock away that easily from companies like Nintendo or Sony. I think Carmack is wrong and handhelds will be present for a very long time. Not every single developer follows the crowds blindly, if that were the case gaming as we know it would have died already and Bioware would be exclusively developing social flash games. Developers usually have a pretty specific target audience that they are comfortable with, that makes them money to a degree, and that they enjoy trying to please. Also, people fucking hate the i-Phone. Seriously, I don't know a single person who owns it and is happy with it. They own it because it has a big ass screen, it's easy to use and it sort of can play games, but they are still saving for a NGP. There are certain things that prevent Apple from "taking over the world", like the fact that they are deliberately incompatible with stuff that are not made by Apple, that they often only make cosmetic improvements and call it a new product, that their shit are obviously horrendously overpriced for what they offer and that they are in general assholes.

Funny, I was having similar thoughts the other day. I don't think we're there quite yet, though. But at the rate we're going with technology, that could definitely change. When was the Nintendo DS first released? 2004? Back then would anyone have guessed that the iPhone would have such a growing library of games? Would they have guessed the iPad would have even existed? The various i-Devices out there have come a long way since then, and there's some impressive graphical quality to be found for a handheld device. Heck, they're even about to release a Zelda clone, and graphically it looks as good as Ocarina of Time did back in the day. Probably not quality-wise, but still.

If they can fix the battery and some of the control issues, I don't think this is such a long shot. It's just a matter of whether or not someone devotes the resources to doing so. Remember, the DS has had about 7 years of life before the 3DS. Assume a similar life-span for the handhelds about to come out, and 7 years from now who knows what we'll have and what the tablet devices will be able to do? Add in cheaper development, a larger market, and cheaper prices for the consumer, and I can easily see this happening.

I gotta say I find myself disagreeing with John Carmack a lot lately. A shame because he's made some of my favorite games.

So we'll be getting a Nintenphone in a few years? Cus I seriously doubt Nintendo'll let that cash cow go.

Logan Westbrook:
*snip*

It seems that Carmack is describing pretty much what's happening right now to the PC versus Consoles in games development. Honestly, depending on marketing, he could be absolutely correct. Marketing trumps logic, reason and fact, so it's entirely plausible.

I still want to punch people (not literally) who say iphone games handle just as well as the PSP/DS counter parts. When your hands take up half the screen and the battery lasts maybe 2 hours on some games, my answer is you're insane.

This may be my one bias because while I have a itouch, none of the games are even remotely in depth or as easy to control as any handheld. Some games? Sure they work just fine but others...no.

Of course, now that I think about it... are even the current PSPs and DSs "dedicated handhelds"? The PSP is and always has been marketed as an all in one portable media device. The most recent DS has a variety of built in aps as well as a camera. And, one of the biggest thing Nintendo's been showing off about the 3DS is how it'll show 3D movies (which will likely make it the defacto 3D movie watching device for quite some time)... In fact, I'd be pretty surprised if both the 3DS and NGP don't have Netflix installed be default.

Perhaps that ship has already sailed.

This is comparable to the "PCs will replace consoles" stuff we heard in the mid 1980s to late 1990s, especially in the UK. Dedicated and versitile systems go in phases, i don't think we are even close to seeing "The absolute end" to portables its just that smartphones have developed fast enough to really catch up with their functionality.

I predict somewhat of a resurgence in handhelds if they can make the new ones really pop.

I hope not. Throwing out the fact that touchscreens rarely work what about battery life? Smart Phones can only hold a charge for like 12 hours running all the apps, what happens when you put the equivalent of a DS in there? Lower battery life resulting in a poor experience

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