The founder of the groundbreaking video games manufacturer Atari has said modern consoles with hefty pricetags "may be disappointing" to gamers.

Nolan Bushnell, whose Atari 2600 paved the way for cartridge plug-in games in the 1970s, said the small "incremental improvements" in consoles such as the PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One did not justify the 400 dollars (£256) they sell for.

The 70-year-old said he was "a little bit cynical" and did not believe the arguments given by modern games developers that "my photographic reality is better than your photographic reality".

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He said: "I look at the games today and they're so damn good that the incremental improvement, I'm not sure is worth 400 bucks - so I think they may be disappointing."

The pioneering entrepreneur also said he feared Nintendo, whose character Super Mario has been adored by fans for decades, may be left behind in the race between the major computer games manufacturers.

While Mr Nolan praised the original Wii, he said: "I think the Wii U is a terrible product, and I think Nintendo's going to be struggling.

"The standalone game systems, the handheld, I think that's over for them.

"I don't see their consoles having a significant place in the marketplace right now."

He added: "If I were Nintendo, I'd be scratching my head."