From the moment Nintendo unveiled the Wii U at E3 2011, I knew that something had gone wrong.
After a generation of trying and failing to keep up with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo struck gold with the Wii. It was different than anything we’d ever seen before, but somehow still more approachable than the PS3 and Xbox 360.
It sold as well as any console in history for half a decade, but when it was time for Nintendo to follow it up, we didn’t get the Wii 2. Instead, we got the Wii U — a half-baked upgrade with an undersized tablet for a controller.
To be clear, I’ve had great experiences with the Wii U when I’ve actually played games on it, but that happens less and less frequently with each passing year. Third-party publishers ran for the hills when it became clear the Wii U wasn’t going to achieve even a fraction of the success of the Wii, and Nintendo fans were left with a dearth of game releases in the process.
But the bell does not toll for Nintendo quite yet. The company has made it abundantly clear that a new home console codenamed NX is on the way, despite the fact no one involved with the project is willing to talk about it. Of course, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t speculate on the future of the NX, which is exactly what Chris Kohler did over at Wired on Wednesday.
He begins by discussing everything we knew before E3 2015. In a presentation to investors earlier this year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that the NX console will “absorb the Wii U architecture.” With the technology the company plans to implement, “home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different.”
That said, Iwata never directly referred to the NX as a “home console” itself, but when Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé was asked about the NX by The Wall Street Journal, he called it “our next home console.” Whatever the NX turns out to be, it’ll probably still be in the form of a small box sitting under your television.
Kohler also notes that Metroid Prime series producer Kensuke Tanabe told Eurogamer in an interview last month that it would take nearly three years to develop a full Metroid Prime title for the Wii U, “[so] it would likely now be on Nintendo’s NX console.”
It’s still unclear if Nintendo will be able to reverse its fortunes with another brand-new console, but what is becoming painfully obvious is that the Wii U is on its last legs. Enjoy your Splatoon, your Yoshi’s Woolly World and your Super Mario Maker while you can — the lineup is only going to get thinner from here on out.