Eurogamer has reported that the Nintendo NX will be a portable console, with detachable controller sections, and will also use cartridges rather than discs, as is the norm with Nintendo handhelds. This information, however, has come from unverified, anonymous sources, and therefore should not be considered as factual, until officially verified or announced by Nintendo.
Effectively, this is like most other bits of NX news: unofficial claims with no tangible proof, but the concept alone is incredibly creative, and may help Nintendo strike a balance it has always struggled to achieve if it is true: the balance of being normal enough to appeal to core gamers, but also innovative enough to be interesting.
The piece itself, however, seems to be missing bits of information that a close source would know, such as battery usage and how controllers work whilst the NX is in its dock. Will the dock allow for the detachable controller parts to be reattached and so the core console is used as a controller? Are there options for extra controllers? Does it have motion sensor capabilities, as Zelda: Breath of the Wild would suggest, and, if the console is used as a controller whilst it’s in the dock, will the wire used to connect the dock to the TV or power source be able to allow for such movement as is seen in the Breath of the Wild demo? There are a lot of holes in the report, so, again, I do not take any of this as fact.
But let’s talk about the console’s concept, because if it is true, it will help Nintendo achieve their seemingly constant goal of being innovative while still being pleasurable to core gamers, as mentioned above. There are no annoying gimmicks being detailed, which helps, since they are known to be liabilities, or just not used effectively, making them a waste. The ‘gimmick’ of being able to play a game on a portable platform or a console, that is the same device? It’s got a lot of potential.
I’m one of those people that will buy a game again if it is available on a portable platform. This console instantly alleviates this problem in a way that doesn’t involve cross-buy, especially when it comes to buying physical versions to save memory. It’s a nice way of handling this, although it’s clearly not feasible for every console to work like this, since sacrificing console power would likely be ill-received by the gaming crowd.
It also seems as if this could be a sign that Nintendo are giving up with competing against Sony and Microsoft. They’ve always been a few steps behind in terms of technology to keep prices down, and so graphical fidelity tends to be worse than other consoles. This trend will appear to continue, due to the alleged use of Nvidia’s Tegra chip, which is used in mobile devices such as the Nvidia Shield. By creating a weaker, cheaper console, Nintendo could position themselves as the company that has the second console everyone owns, similarly to how they were operating with the Wii. This position would likely benefit Nintendo, but we have to consider pricing. To be this second console, you would have to fulfill two conditions, in my opinion: be cheap enough to be adopted alongside a console or a PC, and to be released in the middle of a console generation, similar to the Wii and Wii U.
Another requirement to have the console take this position is to have a constant stream of games to appeal to core audiences. This is an issue that Nintendo has suffered from post-Gamecube. Both the Wii and Wii U have very few core games, and when they are released, they are done so sporadically. The Wii U, for example, hasn’t had a strong core game release for a long time. The most recent was probably Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, which could even be considered a niche game, rather than a core game.
Another complaint that will be answered with this kind of solution is one that the Monster Hunter series regularly faces: “why are they never on consoles?” The NX could create a system that will allow games such as Monster Hunter and Pokemon, that are usually exclusive to handheld consoles, to be played on an actual console. This kind of console would answer these complaints, and games can continue to be made to cater to those who play the game on portable platforms, and can begin to cater to those who want these games on actual consoles.
One issue I do have comes from the diagram that Eurogamer presented: there appears to be a lack of shoulder buttons, and the structure of the thing seems massively uncomfortable, similar to the 3DS. Of course, the console is still in development, and none of this should be accepted as true, let alone final, so this point is somewhat moot. Technically, all of these points are moot. The NX, according to Eurogamer, will be unveiled in September. Until then, we won’t know how true any of this is. If it is unveiled, we would thereby get evidence proving or disproving Eurogamer’s points. If it isn’t, then we can take this as a mark against Eurogamer’s sources.
So, ultimately, this would be the most promising console Nintendo could release, and the concept would be sound, if the glaring gaps in this report were filled, and done so in the right ways. However, the evidence does not seem to be compelling or accurate enough to take as gospel, and as such, you should handle this information with skepticism.