PlayStation boss calls Nintendo 3DS a ‘babysitting tool’

A senior exec at Sony has given Nintendo’s 3DS a severe verbal beatdown, calling the glasses-free 3D console a “babysitting tool”.

Jack Tretton, the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, went medieval on Mario in an interview with Fortune, claiming the 3DS would be an embarrassing accessory for the trendy modern gadabout. “No self-respecting twenty-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those,” he raged. “He’s too old for that.”

Ouch. There’s no love lost between Sony and Nintendo — these latest comments draw on a rich history of bickering, along the lines that Nintendo’s offerings are childish and underpowered, while PlayStation devices are more appealing to hardcore gamers, and are crammed with handfuls of high-powered hardware.

Tretton said Nintendo’s DS family of handhelds offered a “Game Boy experience”, but if he was fishing for a smackdown, perhaps his words were poorly chosen, because now all we can think about are the happy hours we spent playing Tetris on otherwise joyless camping trips.

Tretton didn’t stop at handhelds either, laying into the Wii: “I mean, you’ve gotta be kidding me. Why would I buy a gaming system without a hard drive in it? How does this thing scale?”

Yes, we’re sure that’s what every one of its 85 million owners said when they first saw it: “How does this thing scale?”

But he might have a point — Sony’s ‘hardware overload’ approach does tend to give its products more longevity, with the PS2 racking up over 10 years on sale. And as Fortune notes, Final Fantasy XIII was released on a single Blu-ray disc for the PS3, but had to be spread across three DVDs for the Xbox 360 version.

On the other hand, all the high-spec tech inside the PS3 made it incredibly pricey at launch — something which undoubtedly contributed to its initially lacklustre sales.

Still, Sony doesn’t look to be abandoning its everything-under-the-sun approach to its consoles. Speaking of the upcoming NGP handheld, which is due out later in the year (although it’ll probably be delayed), Tretton had the following to say:

“With the NGP, we asked, what is it that is lacking? We looked at every technology out there, every [bell and] whistle, and how can we make those flexible as possible for consumers to experience.”

The NGP certainly packs a tonne of tech — with a massive hi-res touchscreen, two cameras, two analogue sticks and a touch-sensitive trackpad around the back, it’s housing more hardware than Optimus Prime. But that’ll probably make it more expensive and bulkier than the 3DS, and of course it’s arriving on the scene considerably later.

As for us, we’ve barely stopped playing our 3DS since it arrived, and yes — we’ve used it on a plane. No, we don’t have any self respect.

How do you feel? Do you prefer your gaming hardware simple and cheap? Or would you rather pay a little extra for a tricked-out console? Is Tretton right when he says Nintendo is for kiddies? Let us know in the grownup comments, or on our mature Facebook page.
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