Nintendo NX – What is it?
2016 has already been massive for games. With the launches of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and even PlayStation VR, virtual reality is really coming into its own and staking its claim as the future of the industry.
PS4 and Xbox One continue to duke it out, and have upped the ante with new hardware in the form of PS4 Neo and Xbox One S. Xbox has also provided the huge news that it will be launching yet another console in holiday 2017, codenamed Xbox Scorpio.
And last but not least, we have the Nintendo NX, the Wii U's successor. Unfortunately, Nintendo has confirmed that the new system will be skipping this year entirely, so we'll have a bit longer to wait to see what's in-store with the next system.
Rumours have varied from the exciting to the bonkers. But TrustedReviews has waded through the waddle to bring you all the latest news to see what the console is most likely to include.
While Nintendo has remained tight-lipped on the console, that hasn't stopped Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently sharing his thoughts on the new hardware:
"What we have seen is really great," he said, "We think having a new machine coming is going to help the industry to continue to grow, and to take lots more casual players back to the industry.”
The comments from Guillemot seem to confirm that Nintendo is targeting the casual market with the NX, trying to capitalise on Microsoft and Sony's focus on the hardcore market, which in recent years has seen a neglect of the young and casual players. A recent report from DFC Intelligence suggested that children aged 12 and under have become a "lost generation" in gaming. If Nintendo can recapture this audience, it could carve a niche and the NX could become a huge success.
Video: Everything we know about the Nintendo NX
Nintendo NX release date – When will Nintendo launch a new console?
Nintendo of America has confirmed that the Nintendo NX will launch in March 2017. The news was confirmed via Twitter:
To the surprise of many, Nintendo will miss the 2016 Christmas period, the busiest sales season of the year.
Nintendo NX launch games – What will we be playing on release day?
In Nintendo's latest investors call (in which the release date was announced), Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stated that one of the primary factors behind launching the system in March is to ensure a solid line-up of software at release and beyond.
"One of the reasons for choosing the launch timing that we did is so that the software line-up will be ready in time for the hardware launch," he said. "Not only at launch, but we also need to be able to continuously release titles after launch. We are planning for this to be a platform that consumers can enjoy for a long time."
We could also be playing a bunch of Wii U remakes on the Nintendo NX. A NeoGAF post speculates that Zelda Wii U, Smash Bros 4, Splatoon and Super Mario Maker are all getting the remake treatment, claiming to have heard the report from multiple sources.
However, Mario Maker is currently proving difficult to port due to bringing across player data and created levels, according to the rumour.
Further recent reports have confirmed both third-party support for the console and also Nintendo working to secure third-party exclusives.
First, Twitter user @serkantoto claimed back in January that Namco Bandai was working on Nintendo NX titles, including a Smash Bros. game for launch with the console:
The latest, and more enticing rumour, is that Nintendo is working with Ubisoft to help fund development of Beyond Good and Evil 2, which would be a Nintendo NX exclusive launching in 2017. Neither of these rumours have been confirmed by Nintendo, it should be pointed out.
In an interview with the BBC, EA studios vice president Patrick Soderlund said that EA games will only come to the Nintendo NX "if it makes sense".
“I personally and the company are huge fans of Nintendo, they’re the reason why I started making games,” Soderlund said. “We’re in constant communication with them and when they come to market something – and if it makes sense for us – we’ll be there.”
This could be interpreted to mean that EA is currently not developing any NIntendo NX titles, and with the console set to launch next March, that's a worrying sign. However, hopefully Nintendo is indeed strengthening its third-party relationships – as Soderlund says, "we're in constant communication" – so that could mean that EA will be there day one with some interesting titles.
Related: Best Wii U Games 2015
Nintendo NX News – All the latest
In March 2015, Nintendo confirmed that it’s working on a brand-new console, which is currently codenamed the Nintendo NX.
But it seems that name could be more than just a placeholder. In May this year, a trailer for RISE: Race to the Future seemed to confirm the name of Nintendo's upcoming console as the NX. At the end of the trailer, the screenshot below appears, along with a 'Nintendo NX' logo at the bottom of the screen.
It should be noted that the the NX moniker may indeed just be a codename, as Nintendo Insider editor Alex Seedhouse pointed out:
Of course, it's no surprise we haven't seen much of the NX as yet, as major consoles take years of development before they can be released. Take the PS4, for example – lead architect Mark Cerny once confirmed it was in development as early as 2008.
However, although the news of a Nintendo console might not be that surprising, we're excited nonetheless.
Here’s what Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has said about NX so far:
“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX’. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year."
The NX will apparently become part of a “new membership service that encompasses smart devices and dedicated videogame systems”, and will replace the recently axed Nintendo Club service. This will include the upcoming smartphone and tablet games jointly developed with DeNA, plus the NX, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS family and, strangely, PCs too.
This new membership service will replace the old Nintendo Club, which was discontinued in September 2015. In October, Nintendo stated that the replacement will be known as Nintendo Account and will be used to connect Nintendo platform users with PC and mobile devices.
Nintendo Account will offer a cloud-based service for transferring data between mobile games and console titles.
It could be a console/handheld hybrid
There have been several rumours now that the Nintendo NX will take the form of some kind of hybrid console. Think of something that’s both a 3DS and a Wii U in one.
A patent filed by Nintendo detailed a system that can draw additional processing power from other computing devices. This detailed the potential process of the “game console” connecting to what were described as “supplemental computing devices”, which would “increase the speed or quality of a user’s gaming experiences” using wires, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Now this could be the 3DS-type device connecting to the home console base when you get back to your TV, and turning it into a more powerful home gaming console.
And it could be a very good way to capitalise on both sections of Nintendo’s existing business.
Such a hybrid device is supported by other rumours as well as industry professionals too.
Mitchell McEwan, a Queensland University of Technology video-game lecturer speaking to the New Daily, said that such a hybrid would be a great boon for Nintendo.
“It makes sense – they’ve been struggling in both markets – to not have to support both platforms with independent software, but to actually put all their development efforts towards one console,” he explained.
“The rumour about the NX is that it’s a hybrid console, so it would be a portable console such as a 3DS that interfaces with a home console.”
“You could take games on the go, but then that processing power adds to the home console so you can play games on your TV as well.”
Related: Best 3DS Games 2015
It won’t be like the 3DS or Wii U
If you were worried that the Nintendo NX was going to be a direct replacement for the 3DS and Wii U, don’t be.
Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has spoken out on the subject, saying that the NX will not be a replacement for either of the company’s current consoles.
He spoke out during an Nintendo investor briefing, saying that although the NX will be “a dedicated video game platform with a brand new concept,” the company does not “intend it to become a simple replacement for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U.”
“Regarding your concern about what will happen to Wii U or to Nintendo 3DS, NX is a new platform, so the installed base will have to be built up from zero. When NX is launched, there already will be certain volume of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U hardware widely existing in the market, so from a software business perspective, it would be highly inefficient to stop releasing titles for Nintendo.”
Or the Wii
The new president and CEO of Nintendo, Tatsumi Kimishima recently spoke out about the company’s new console.
Speaking to TIME, Kimishima stated that gamers should expect something “unique and different” from the NX.
“I can assure you we’re not building the new version of Wii or Wii U. [NX] is something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal.”
The NX will avoid the mistakes of the Wii U and 3DS
In the official notes for the 75th Nintendo AGM, Satoru Iwata can be seen talking extensively about the mistakes made with the Wii U and 3DS. That’s especially as he aims to make sure that the company will attempt not to repeat the less-than-successful launches of its previous consoles.
“For Wii U in particular, in cannot be said that it had a successful launch. As for Nintendo 3DS, in Japan there was a temporary slowdown but we managed to make a recovery by offering a number of initiatives collectively. On the other hand, Wii U had not been able to recover at this point in time. Because of this, the size of the installed base compared to the Nintendo DS or Wii era appears to not be as solid and this is reflected in the company’s profitability.”
“I will not share details on NX today but with regard to the launch of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U not necessarily having progressed well and not acquiring sufficient support from software publishers, we intend to offer NX through a Nintendo-like solution. Thank you for understanding that we are making various considerations and preparations in order to avoid what happened with the previous generations.”
He went onto say that the company had been offered several proposals for joint initiatives at E3 2015, reassuring shareholders over the third-party support issues that have plagued the Wii U. That’s thanks to a number of “joint initiatives” that are happening below the surface”.
Related: New 3DS vs New 3DS XL
The NX could ditch discs
Yet another Nintendo patent suggest the upcoming NX may also ditch disc-based software altogether.
It could focus on digital-only games and apps, broadening its storefront to potentially include 3DS games and other platforms currently unplayable on the Wii U – which supports the hybrid/cross-platform rumours for the NX.
The patent states that:
"An example system includes an internal hard disk drive storing a program and/or data, a communication unit transmitting/receiving a program and/or data via a network, and a processor executing a program stored in the hard disk drive to perform game processing."
"The example system is not provided with an optical disk drive for reading out a program and/or data from an optical disk."
A similar rumour suggests that the NX may use cartridges developed by Macronix, the same company responsible for Nintendo's 3DS cartridges.
In its most recent earnings report, Macronix cites a "new platform" that will help support financial growth in the company's third and fourth financial quarters. These line up closely with the March 2017 release window for Nintendo NX.
This is all speculation, but the idea of cartridges making a comeback is weirdly exciting. They would hold a significant amount of data, more than enough for modern gaming applications.
Related: PS4.5 - Everything we know so far
Nintendo NX Specs – What internal hardware does it have?
Again, like the release date, the Nintendo NX’s internals are still shrouded in mystery.
The Wii U currently features an IBM Power-based multi-core microprocessor with an AMD Radeon 700 core-based GPU, which was already outdated before the Wii U was even released. That hardware, combined with 2GB of RAM, 1GB of which is reserved for games, means that the Wii U can output in 1080p Full HD, but it can’t compete with that offered by the PC-based architecture of the PS4 and Xbox One.
Hopefully, Nintendo will up the ante with the Nintendo NX and see its games graphically on par with the other new-gen consoles.
If a fresh rumour is correct, whatever form the Nintendo NX arrives in, it will be packing similar hardware to the PS4 and Xbox One.
The sources suggested it will retail for around the same price as the Xbox One too.
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