It's been an interesting week in the world of Nintendo and, in particular, its handhelds. First up we had Bing Gordon, a man with decades of experience in the video game industry at the highest level, sharing the view that Nintendo's on track to primarily focus on software. He even went so far as to say that "the handheld is going to be under a lot of pressure", and that Shigeru Miyamoto may be the key factor to Nintendo's continued role in the hardware industry. We then had the news yesterday that Nintendo's sold 1.86 million 3DS systems in the last quarter, but that 920,000 or these — almost half — were in Japan alone, showing that worldwide momentum for the system isn't where Nintendo would like it to be.

Against that context, we'll share the latest musings from analyst Michael Pachter who, despite not necessarily being overly popular or always right, is nevertheless paid to give his analysis of the gaming industry. He shared the following opinion on 3DS XL with

The larger [3DS] format is not all that compelling for the consumer, and although I think the XL will help sales, I don’t think that the impact will revive weak sales of handhelds overall.

If it seems unfair to pin the fate of handhelds as a whole on 3DS, it's important to note that Pachter also stated that he doesn't expect Sony's Vita sales to improve in the near future, either, not without more must-have games and content.

This week has brought two experienced voices out to highlight the challenges facing Nintendo and 3DS in the hardware market, and the latest sales figures seem to show that improvement is needed. It's not all doom and gloom, by any means, but provides perspective for the challenges in the coming months as Nintendo counts on titles such as New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Pokémon Black and White 2 to bring a big boost to its handheld sales.