With the Wii U failing to match the original Wii in terms of commercial success Nintendo has, to a certain extent, relied on its current handheld platform, the 3DS, to balance the books.
However, even that system has struggled to replicate the performance of its immediate forerunner, the Nintendo DS. The DS family has sold over 150 million units to date, while the 3DS has shifted just under a third of that total so far (although it's worth pointing out that the former is over a decade old while the latter is less than half that age).
There's definitely evidence that the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming has taken a massive bite out of Nintendo's audience - and that of its rival, Sony. Sony's PSP got off to a weak start compared to the DS but managed to turn things around and shift a respectable 82 million units worldwide. However, its successor the PS Vita has sold less than 5 million units since 2011 - the same year the 3DS launched - and despite some impressive support from indie developers and moderate success in Japan is trailing the 3DS by quite some margin.
With Nintendo rumoured to be releasing an all-in-one console which will replace the Wii U and the 3DS, it's interesting to note that Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has all but confirmed that his company will not be releasing another dedicated handheld gaming system.
Speaking to Eurogamer at the recent EGX 2015, Yoshida said:
People have mobile phones and it's so easy to play games on smartphones. And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start.
I myself am a huge fan of PlayStation Vita and we worked really hard on designing every aspect. Touch-based games are fun - there are many games with really good design. But having sticks and buttons make things totally different.
So I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming.
Sony's withdrawal from the handheld gaming arena would mean that Nintendo - if it does indeed include some kind of portable functionality in the NX - will have the market all to itself, at least when it comes to dedicated handheld games consoles.
However, the stern competition from smart devices will remain - but at least Nintendo will be better placed now that it has committed to creating mobile games in partnership with DeNA.