Bushnell founded Atari in the early days of the games industry

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has spoken about Nintendo's current situation and admitted that the company finds itself in a "very difficult position".

Talking to the BBC at Campus Party Europe — a London-based O2 event involving thousands of developers working on various technology projects — Bushnell also had harsh words to say about the dedicated handheld gaming market, which he feels is under threat from smartphones and tablet devices. He also claimed that Nintendo's focus on younger players is holding it back.

He said:

I don't think handheld game-only devices make sense anymore, 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 on those things, and the rush to upgrade from the 12-and-under is not nearly as important.

He ended the segment with the grim prediction that Nintendo "could be on the path to irrelevance".

Bushnell has previously admitted that he's baffled by the Wii U, and that he feels the console marks "the end of an era".

[source bbc.co.uk]