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Miyamoto: We're on to the 3DS' successor

Nintendo icon Shigeru Miyamoto says that the 3DS is the "best" handheld in this generation, and now the company is thinking about the next handheld it'll launch.

Famed game creator Shigeru Miyamoto
Gaming legend Shigeru Miyamoto
James Martin/CNET

Nintendo is more than satisfied with the 3DS, and now its handheld sights are set on the company's next-generation portable, according to gaming icon Shigeru Miyamoto.

Miyamoto, who created some of Nintendo's most popular franchises, including Mario, Zelda, and others, told IGN in an interview published yesterday that he believes the 3DS is "the best for this generation" of handhelds. And because of that, Nintendo is now thinking about "a future generation of handheld."

Miyamoto's comments come just after Japan's Nikkei reported that Nintendo was planning to launch a 3DS XL, featuring larger displays. Nintendo's current 3DS boasts two screens and allows users to engage in 3D gaming without the need for glasses. According to IGN, Miyamoto says he's "satisfied with the 3DS hardware as it is."

Nintendo's 3DS is perhaps one of the most surprising successes in the gaming space, considering where it started last year after launch. Last July, Nintendo announced that it sold just 710,000 3DS units worldwide during the three-month period ended June 30, 2011. Out of that, just 110,000 units were sold in the U.S.

Soon after, Nintendo announced that it had cut the price of its 3DS from $250 to $170. The move paid off. Nintendo in March reported that it had sold 4.5 million 3DS units in the U.S. since that device's launch, making it more popular in its first year than its predecessor (and sales juggernaut), the DS.

Given that success, it's obvious why Miyamoto is so happy with the handheld. But a next-generation portable will be facing an even tougher market, according to ABI Research senior analyst Michael Inouye, who said last week that devices like the 3DS and PlayStation Vita will be relegated to "niche" status by games running on iOS or Android.

"The mobile and tablet markets have increased consumers' price sensitivity," Inouye said. "First-party developers and key game franchises will be vital cogs for the industry in the future, since hardware alone is not going to cut it given the shorter upgrade cycles for mobile devices."