No one would blame you if you (incorrectly) assumed that the Wii U would be Nintendo’s last traditional home console. After gambling on the Wii, Nintendo decided to take another huge risk by releasing a majorly underpowered console with a controller as large as an iPad, but this time it didn’t pay off.
Third party developers vanished, first party developers ran out of gimmicks and everyone moved on to the PS4 and Xbox One. But it’s not the end of the road for Nintendo. A new console is coming, but how will it compare to the Wii U?
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Over the weekend, GamingBolt put together a thoughtful, comprehensive and well-researched article on everything we know (and everything we think we know) about the NX based on the information available to us. If you have any interest in the future of Nintendo, it’s worth checking out in its entirety, but here are some of the highlights.
One of the most important things to note about the NX is that it’s not a gaming platform in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, NX is the platform on which all of Nintendo’s future games will run, regardless of the hardware used to run them.
“Home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems,” former CEO Satoru Iwata said in a Q&A last year. “Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform.”
Iwata went on to mention iOS and Android as models for what Nintendo might attempt to achieve. If that’s the case, a game that Nintendo designs for one piece of hardware will have to be playable on other devices as well, at least in some capacity.
But beyond the hardware, fans are far more concerned about the number of games that will be released for the new platform. The Wii U release schedule has been so scattered that fans will often go months without anything new to pick up, so what do we know about what’s coming to the NX when it launches next year?
Shortly after E3, sources claimed that Nintendo began discussing the new console with third-party partners during the show. The reception was reportedly positive, which could be a good sign for the future of third-party support on Nintendo hardware. Square Enix also announced that Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI would hit the NX, although the announcement was eventually altered, likely because the NX hasn’t been officially announced yet.
But that’s not all: developer Ready at Dawn (creators of The Order: 1886) said in an interview that it is working to “deliver our games on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and one other unannounced platform that you will soon find out about.” Slightly Mad Studios also canceled its Wii U port of Project Cars, but some believe that the team might have switched over to NX development rather than scrap the port entirely.
With a competitive online infrastructure, a solid base of third-party support, a consistent string of first-party releases (Metroid, Zelda, Mario, etc.) and potential backwards compatibility with Wii U games to top it all off, the NX could be the best console of 2016. Of course, with the Xbox One and PS4 generation still in its infancy, it’ll almost certainly be the only console of 2016, but all signs point to a move in the right direction for Nintendo.
Be sure to check out the full speculative piece on GamingBolt for more on the NX.