This week has been rife with speculation about the presence of the hidden Nintendo NX console which has been rumored to have a hardware set that outrivals the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. Last week, The Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki published an article confirming that software development kits had been distributed to developers, a post which suggests that the Nintendo NX could very well be in production by the beginning of next year.
Rumors began to circulate of industry-leading technology, and speculation was abound in the gaming communities at a feverish pace; the tepid sales of the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii U failed to reach the standards that Nintendo had experienced back in the days of the Nintendo DS and the Wii. In comparison, the Nintendo Wii U sold 9.5 million hardware units compared to the Wii’s 101.5 million; the Nintendo 3DS sold 52.06 million units compared to the Nintendo DS’s 154 million (sales numbers from March 2015). The Nintendo NX has been said to have the latest industry processors that were put in to match the criticism the industry had for the weakened hardware of the Wii U. What’s intriguing in these reports is that the development kits are implied to have a mobile hybrid unit of sorts, a unit that could potentially run independently or be an extension to the NX. Nintendo is said to be ready for an official discussion on the NX, according to the words of the late Satoru Iwata, next year. Perhaps the GamePad will come back but in a smaller, 4.7 inch form?
It goes without saying that Nintendo’s eggs need to be in the right basket. They presented an entirely lackluster E3 this year, a lineup that saw delays to its flagship title Star Fox Zero, which could have been a hit for the 2015 holiday season. The poor response from the industry to Metroid Prime: Federation Forces, and the average-to-good, but not great, reviews on a Legend of Zelda spinoff in Tri Force Heroes leaves a lot to be desired. The holiday lineup for 2015 looks quiet indeed, with sales being bolstered most likely by games such as Splatoon, a summer release, and the critically acclaimed Super Mario Maker, an autumn title that saw gamers putting on the shoes of famed developer Shigeru Miyamoto and designing some very creative levels. Compared to the results that Sony and Microsoft are dropping for the holiday season, gamers may end up passing on Nintendo this holiday, especially with titles such as Zelda Wii U getting pushed back even further to 2016.
So what’s the big deal with the Nintendo NX, then? The Nintendo NX is rumored to be working with mobile gaming, as Nintendo has a partnership with mobile behemoth DeNA. Considering that the rise of mobile games has caused some large companies to dissolve their AAA gaming divisions in favor of low-cost mobile titles, the NX has a lot to live for. The discussion surrounding the console is intense, given the dissatisfaction of the gaming community. What does Gamer Professionals wish to see in the Nintendo NX? The NX could benefit from a stronger online ecosystem, one that isn’t bound by friend codes. Given that speculation has touted industry-leading processors are a part of the unit, we can hope to expect a top-tier gaming experience that rivals the days of the Nintendo DS or the Wii. Games that can rival the Playstation 4, if not beat them.
What will make the Nintendo NX stand out, though, is the main creed that Nintendo follows, making games fun for everyone. Nintendo has been known for some of the most critically acclaimed franchises in the history of the games industry, and has made some of gaming’s biggest global icons. The NX, though, needs to transcend that, and Nintendo needs to be able to fully embrace the age of online gaming and allow for features such as native voice chat, a better way to stream content, and move away from games that rely solely on viewing the GamePad instead of a crisp, vibrant HD TV. The NX can also stand out by having a device with internet capabilities on the go. I know that I wouldn’t mind an LTE capable Nintendo console that I could play on the go. Better yet, with these high-tech processors, maybe Nintendo could create a stronger streaming platform. The rudimentary eShop could be a basis for a more organized, account-based competitor to Steam, but for Nintendo titles. The rather stunted Miiverse could also get a nice makeover, and become a unique social media platform that goes beyond picture imaging and artwork. Over the air technology that allows our games to play at the latest version without having to go back to the system setting every time to initiate the updates, a high capacity for storage that goes beyond SD cards, these are but a fraction of changes Nintendo can do going forward.
Either way, Nintendo has a lot to do going forward, and with the heavy discussion on most websites this week pertaining to NX rumors, fans are craving the release of this new powerhouse to see what it’s capable of. Don’t disappoint, Nintendo — not after this year’s flop.