Atari Founder Dismissive of Nintendo DS

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Atari Founder Dismissive of Nintendo DS

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Smart phones and tablets will relegate Nintendo's multi-million selling handheld to the level of child's plaything, says Atari's Nolan Bushnell.

Nolan Bushnell has seen the future of handheld gaming, and it's not Nintendo flavored. Speaking at the SIEGE 2010 conference, Bushnell said that platforms like the iPhone, Android and the iPad would become the first choice for handheld gaming, and that no one over the age of eight would play with a DS.

This isn't the first time that someone has suggested that smart phones will take a bite out of the DS install base, but Bushnell seems to be suggesting that adults will abandon the DS in favor of the more mature experiences they'll be able to enjoy on their phones and tablets. It's hard to see what Bushnell is basing this idea on, although as it's just one comment from a much longer speech, it's possible he explained it later on.

If Apple and Android are going to lure away the DS's audience, they're going to have to pull something very special out of the bag. Not only does Nintendo have a really big head start and a lot more third-party support, it's got the 3DS coming out next year, which does everything the DS does, but in glasses-free 3D.

Source: Pure Nintendo

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I have no interest in playing a phone instead of a ds, no good games for one that are more then really just flash games

This seems a bit late for him to reveal his hand.

Still, while I can see why he'd say this, even if I don't agree with him.

Little late to the party aren't we?

I'm betting it's because a smart phone doesn't require a stylus that's easy to lose in the hot tub during a weed fueled orgy.

It's BUSHNELL people! If you haven't factored in the Super Seventies lifestyle, you haven't been telling the story right!

LIES! If we sacrifice handheld gaming to the smartphone behemoth, what's next? Our souls! Okay I'm being drastic but still.

DS a kids game only? Since when?

I'm 20, and playing it, beats the hell out of iPod/iPhone, or anything other handheld mobile thing-a-majigg

"Atari founder finds himself unable to wikipedia Nintendo DS sales numbers, embarasses himself."

I'm not interested in gaming on my phone until they become drastically improved and have a far superior battery life. Until that point, I'm more than happy to keep my handheld gaming on my DS and my phone used for, you know, phoning and texting and browsing the internet in my downtime.

Bushnell said that platforms like the iPhone, Android and the iPad would become the first choice for handheld gaming, and that no one over the age of eight would play with a DS.

All three of those have been out for months, if not years. The DS is still the most popular handheld gaming console out there and with the 3DS and Pokémon Black/White getting released in the near future, I highly doubt that's going to change.

He's more or less right. Just think of it this way, in terms of largest games, with more active users, the biggest one in the world is freaking *FarmVille* Now, think about who plays FarmVille and how they play it.

The concept here is that by using the phones as the delivery mechanism, you get access to everyone who already has the device as a potential customer (the ultimate, "casual gamer" if you will) instead of restricting yourself to a smaller market of people who own a single purpose device but purchase more expensive titles for it.

We're heading towards the concept of a multi-purpose hand held device (phone, multimedia player, work tool, etc) - just a mini personal computer in your pocket. So the platform is there more or less, and we have studios that are almost exclusively making content for the mobile phones these days (in fact, a couple studios where I live make games for both mobiles AND the DS, often the same game).

So yeah, I think he's right. Hand held gaming isn't going away, but the single purpose device probably will. Of course, Nintendo could launch the DS line of phones and do a complete end run around the issue. They might even get market share that way...

See, this is why Activision made it and you didn't.

Add Skype (or some sort of phone service) to the DS and you've got a monopoly.

Could people in this industry get off the "marketing by forced controversy" bandwagon? It's getting somewhat boring...

SomethingAmazing:
See, this is why Activision made it and you didn't.

Yes, because Activision is the prime example of a high-quality publisher that never gets sued by its developers for failing to live up to their contract. What an example for the game industry to follow haha.

I'll note that Bushnell left the company several years before Atari fell apart in 1984, Time Warner had bought them and he didn't like the way their business model was going.

Like several responders I see where he's coming from here. However I think he's not considering the nature of gamers in this. A multi-purpose device like that where gaming is one of it's secondary features, is not going to be as powerful or play games as well as a dedciated machine. People who are carrying around a DS with them nowadays do it because it's their preferred method of entertainment, as opposed to porting around a kindle or paperback. Someone who really wants to kill their time in a waiting room playing video games, and is serious about gaming is going to ultimatly want the best gaming experience possible on a portable, and that means a dedicated platform for it.

Now, I suppose in theory technology might change to the point where cloud-based gaming makes multi-purpose devices just as good as a dedicated game device would be. We are not there yet however.

On top of this, I think one of the big obstacles with cell phones really growing is that the people running the services are too greedy. Simply put, operating cell phones is very expensive, with people literally having to count minutes in most cases. Any kind of system that allowed the system to access clouds and share data is something that the current cell phone companies are going to want to charge for, making you use your minutes to play games off a cloud or whatever.

I don't think cell phones and that entire area of technology is going to reach it's full potential until it decides to use a differant business model, which I think the current companies are reluctant to do. They hold back their own growth so to speak.

I look back at the dawn of "the internet" as we know it when people worked through things like PClink, Qlink, Prodigy, and Compuserve. These were services that provided most of the things we do not with a web browser, including forums, chat rooms, and various kinds of games. They however wanted people to pay a per-minute fee for access, which reminds me a
lot of what you see with cell phone services.

The internet, and telecommunications only reached the current level when things went to the current ISP-type system, where consumers in the US at least pay a single flat fee for unlimited internet access (at whatever speed) per month.

For cell phones, smartphones, or whatever to really reach their full potential they need to get it so these devices can, and will be connected all the time, and affordably enough where pretty much everyone will be on one all the time. That isn't going to happen with the current systems.

The thing is, that the guys who are making money by providing the service itself, are resistant to the idea of instead having to provide that for far less money, and then rely on things people actually do with that service to make any serious money.

Back in the day, things like Compuserve going down were unheard of, they were defending the per-minute business model to the death so to speak. Right now we won't see anything signifigant happen until networks like Spring, Verizon, etc... are effectively killed by new services that undercut them, something they are making difficult.

I have no doubt what I am saying will happen eventually, but as far as right now goes I don't think the "portable game system" is in any danger. Statements to the contrary are pretty much wishful thinking on the part of phone producers, largely because it's not the phones themselves (the physical item) that is going to be the issue in the final equasion.

Jake Martinez:
He's more or less right. Just think of it this way, in terms of largest games, with more active users, the biggest one in the world is freaking *FarmVille* Now, think about who plays FarmVille and how they play it.

The concept here is that by using the phones as the delivery mechanism, you get access to everyone who already has the device as a potential customer (the ultimate, "casual gamer" if you will) instead of restricting yourself to a smaller market of people who own a single purpose device but purchase more expensive titles for it.

We're heading towards the concept of a multi-purpose hand held device (phone, multimedia player, work tool, etc) - just a mini personal computer in your pocket. So the platform is there more or less, and we have studios that are almost exclusively making content for the mobile phones these days (in fact, a couple studios where I live make games for both mobiles AND the DS, often the same game).

So yeah, I think he's right. Hand held gaming isn't going away, but the single purpose device probably will. Of course, Nintendo could launch the DS line of phones and do a complete end run around the issue. They might even get market share that way...

They already tried. . . and we all know how well the N-gage turned out.

Yeah, something tells me that he hasn't heard about the 3DS. Child's plaything maybe, but one adults will have to see and try out at least once. All it needs is a killer casual app like Tetris and it may make a pretty big dent in the ipod touch market (in addition to the handheld game system market, which it's already going to dominate).

psrdirector:
I have no interest in playing a phone instead of a ds, no good games for one that are more then really just flash games

YES. and yes and yes and YES.

why are there so freaken many higher ups that think that they know everything?

So Nolan Bushnell doesn't understand gaming.

Smart phones do not have D-pads and other static physical buttons, and are therefore completely useless (or at least less than desirable) for most videogame genres.

Now, if smart phones to start being equipped with those, THEN we can talk.

Maybe when phones get something better than flash games.

The perfect phone, the perfect handheld game, the perfect ebook reader, the perfect music player. One device can never be everything of those at once, it can at best do one thing great and the other things mediocre because of hardware requirements and usability issues. That's why dedicated devices are still market leaders in their respective segment and will be for the foreseeable future. Something the industry has figured out by now, Bushnell is at least a century behind the curve.

Also, everyone who uses the plaything argument has already lost every bit of credibility with me. Video games are toys. Deal with it. This maturity argument is so beyond asinine, inane and missing the point I always expect them to go "duuuuude, we've made a MATURE game system, with spikes and tits and wooooahhhh all black and stuff! It's awesome, woooooh!"

Edit: Oh and another thing. Could you big wigs please stop pretending that you are fucking Nostradamus? You suck at predicting the future of the industry and you were never good at it. Every single one of you.

Shitty touch screen, or responsive dpad...GEE WHAT DO I USE.

Kids gaming platform or not, until Pokemon ups and dies the Nintendo Handheld market will be fine.

Argh!

I hear Atari used to be good but a few years ago I played a Godzilla fighting game and since then have declared eternal hatred against anything Atari related and as such, I am going to disagree with literally everything this man says.

Even if this weren't the case, the sales figures speak for themselves.

For the past two decades he has failed in the industry. He left Atari in 1978 btw.

I take it he didn't take Japan into consideration.

Sure, I'll believe that when mature games start coming out on those platforms. As far as I can see, all that's available on phones atm are mainly flash-style glorified browser games and a couple of ports. Compare that to the substantial opening line-up of the 3DS and tell me which has the more mature set of games?

Ooh, Nolan Bushnell.

That's be the guy who got kicked out of his own company, right?

So a dedicated games platform backed by the developer/publisher with the most experience in the games industry, much less being the sole owner of the entirety of the handheld gaming industry for the last forever is going to be beaten out by systems that can do little above play shitty ports and flash games, cost the user $500+ and are more fragile then an egg?

You know you don't necessarily need a fancy-schmancy crApple product to play games. My phone plays games, it just doesn't play Pokemon. Without Pokemon there is no Nintendo handheld dominance. And I tend to agree with Bushnell here that dual purpose devices, especially ones more affordable than dedicated gaming handhelds, have the potential to outpace the DS and it's descendants amongst casual gamers. The DS is going nowhere though, and that's because of Pokemon.

I'm glad you all had a good laugh at Bushnell, who I feel is more important to gaming's existence than Miyamoto will ever be. I know he's in that "Super 70s" mindset, but how is that any different from Nintendo running their company with a late 80s/early 90s mindset? That's still 'round about 20 years ago. =P

Would be nice if these people could actually start making good phone games, rather than just saying this crap. It could happen, IF they make the games. Kind of convenient too. Phone, Camera, MP3 Player, Handheld-Console -> Smartphone. Saves a lot of pocket space!

linkzeldi:

Jake Martinez:
He's more or less right. Just think of it this way, in terms of largest games, with more active users, the biggest one in the world is freaking *FarmVille* Now, think about who plays FarmVille and how they play it.

The concept here is that by using the phones as the delivery mechanism, you get access to everyone who already has the device as a potential customer (the ultimate, "casual gamer" if you will) instead of restricting yourself to a smaller market of people who own a single purpose device but purchase more expensive titles for it.

We're heading towards the concept of a multi-purpose hand held device (phone, multimedia player, work tool, etc) - just a mini personal computer in your pocket. So the platform is there more or less, and we have studios that are almost exclusively making content for the mobile phones these days (in fact, a couple studios where I live make games for both mobiles AND the DS, often the same game).

So yeah, I think he's right. Hand held gaming isn't going away, but the single purpose device probably will. Of course, Nintendo could launch the DS line of phones and do a complete end run around the issue. They might even get market share that way...

They already tried. . . and we all know how well the N-gage turned out.

Please tell me you aren't seriously that damned ignorant.

The NOKIA N-gage had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Nintendo. It was, in fact, the exact opposite; A mobile phone manufacturer trying to turn a phone into a game console...

CrystalShadow:

Please tell me you aren't seriously that damned ignorant.

The NOKIA N-gage had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Nintendo. It was, in fact, the exact opposite; A mobile phone manufacturer trying to turn a phone into a game console...

I suppose this is my punishment for skimming the wikipedia article.

This actually makes sense. Who wants to have to lug around several hand held devices when you can do it all with one? This will likely be a learning experience for Nintendo to drop gimmicks and add functionality, Soon there may be a DS Phone.

Maybe Nolan asked for a DS for christmas, didn't get it, and is now super bitter.

I'm 23 years old and I'll be buying a 3DS ^_^

btw what's an N-Gage?

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