Nintendo on a path to irrelevance, according to Atari founder

Nolan Bushnell is known for one thing: being the founder of Atari, Inc. Of course, he also founded Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre, but we don’t like to talk about that place. It’s not because I was banned for jumping in to the ball pit and, you know, being in my mid-twenties; no, it’s for far greater reasons that aren’t related to petty resentment. Well, this famed engineer recently discussed the future of video games with the BBC, and had some pretty bold statements to share about Nintendo, claiming that they could be on a “path to irrelevance.”

Bushnell warns that Nintendo may face the same fate as Atari, “I don’t think handheld game-only devices make sense anymore,” he told the BBC. “Not when you have an iPod or an Android microtablet.”

“When it comes to the console market, I think the market is truncating. Nintendo always had a soft spot for young people — they sort of did the 12-and-under pretty well, and the other guys did the 12-and-over. And now I think the other consoles are good enough at those things, and the rush to upgrade from the 12-and-under is not nearly as important.” It’s hard to ignore words from a man that understands the failures of a console as much as Bushnell, what with the Atari’s Jaguar console flopping like a boiled carrot.

Mr. Bushnell did have some optimism to share, as well. He believes the future of gaming is in devices such as the Oculus Rift, “If they’re able to really get the reality and the image right, with low latency, I think they’ll get it.” For the full report, visit BBC News.