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The next-gen console race is now in full swing, but NIS America president and CEO Takuro Yamashita thinks that the current pair of handheld systems - 3DS and Vita - have some time left before they need replacing.

Speaking to MCV at Gamescom, Yamashita said he felt it was the right time for publishers and developers to shift total focus onto next-gen platforms, but abandoning the ageing 3DS and Vita is less sensible.

He feels that the two consoles have a few more years of profitability left in them:

Generally speaking about the West, I think the right time has come for major game publishers to shift their line-ups to PS4 and Xbox One.

Talking about the handheld devices in the West, PlayStation Vita and 3DS will fade out in the next two to three years.

He explains that developers and publishers could find a gap appearing on handhelds as their rivals rush to make AAA games on the PS4 and Xbox One. By focusing on 3DS and Vita, smaller companies could find a highly receptive audience:

There is still a chance for Vita or 3DS games in the West. I bet you that the small publishers can benefit without having strong competition if they continue to publish games for Vita and 3DS.

Nintendo's next console - dubbed NX - is rumoured to be an all-in-one solution, which means that the company may retire the 3DS early, potentially making Yamashita's prediction a false one.

Do you think he has a point? Could the 3DS last for another few years, or does it need replacing now? Let us know by posting a comment.

[via mcvuk.com]