John Carmack, founder and technical director of id Software, reckons the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony Next Generation Portable could be last generation of specialised handheld game consoles ever built.
Given the success story that has been gaming on tablets and smart phones, many were surprised to see just how focused the Next Generation Portable was on gaming when Sony unveiled it last month.
According to Carmack, who was the brains behind the technical tour de force that was Rage on iPhone and iPod Touch, smart phones are powerful enough for developers to recreate the visuals that used to be reserved for handheld consoles.
And despite the fact smart phones and tablets do not feature the face buttons and thumb sticks that feature on the 3DS and NGP, consumers are happy using them as game platforms because they only want to carry one device.
"The smart phone may turn out to be 80 per cent as good at gaming as a dedicated gaming platform," Carmack said.
"People are going to carry their smart phone, and if it's an 80 per cent gaming device, how many people in the gaming market will be satisfied with that? That's the question that's in everybody's mind, and I really don't know."
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