Just for fun – What could the Nintendo NX be?

I’m not normally one for rumours, however I need clicks to the site so let’s have some fun. Nintendo dropped a bomb back in April, we will be playing the Nintendo NX in March 2017. Since then, Nintendo has maintained radio silence with the exception of a couple of nuggets of information. Let’s have some fun and look at what could be in store for gamers with the NX.

What we know about the Nintendo NX

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Let’s start with what we know:

  • It’s a video game console – it’s an obvious point but important. I mention this because although Nintendo haven’t confirmed it will replace the Wii U/3DS, it will have games to play. This means that the NX is different to the Quality of Life project that the late Satoru Iwata started researching a few years ago.
  • The NX will not be it’s final name. It’s one of Nintendo’s cooler codenames (Project Cafe, Dolphin, Ultra 64), but it’s not staying. As always I’m hoping for NES HD (or UltraNES HD if it’s 4K) but it’s not going to happen. One thing is for certain, it’s not going to have the Wii name attached to it.
  • The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild will launch on the new machine as well as the Wii U. Much like Twilight Princess straddling the GameCube and Wii in 2006, this dual approach will aim to highlight the differences of two consoles in one game.

Believe it or not, these are the only confirmed pieces of information from the Big-N directly (aside from the launch date) we have to go on. Even Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has been handing out subjective information about the NX replacing one or both current consoles.

Nintendo NX – the hybrid?

splatoon

Rumours are spreading through the web that the Nintendo NX is a hybrid console – a replacement for both 3DS & Wii U. IGN, Eurogamer and all the big games outlets are reporting multiple sources confirming this to be accurate. The latter have even stuck their neck out to present their findings as truth.

It’s been coming for a long time – the SNES had the Super GameBoy and the N64 had the TransferPak. Both of which allowed for GameBoy games to be played on the TV.

The GameCube/GBA era is where history gets interesting. Much like the SNES & N64, you could play your GBA games on the TV via the GameBoy Player. However, you could also link the two consoles together to play games, heck it was even in both console’s advertising before they launched.

For example, lets look at the Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures. You used the GameBoy Advance as the controller. If you fell into a hole while exploring a dungeon, the action switch from the TV to your handheld. This sounds awfully familiar.

This wasn’t really followed up with the next two consoles. The DS brought in the “Touch!” Generation, where as the Wii was often in family homes. They could still connect to each other but Nintendo never capitalised on connecting both consoles in a meaningful way.

That brings us to today. The 3DS never reached the sales numbers of his big brother and the Wii U failed to get its message across. Again they could connect and Nintendo have experimented with cross-buy and cross-save titles but there hasn’t been that push.

So what could NX be?

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I think the NX will be a console that can be played through a TV or handheld. I’d even venture on a limb and say I think some games will be released on the Android/iOS platforms.

Where I think gaming websites are incorrect is that I don’t think there will be detachable controllers. It seems like an unnecessary risk for Nintendo and their manufacturing costs. If children are the primary target, they are going to loose pieces easily. If Nintendo go after the “Hardcore” Gamers, expect rage fuelled broken controllers.

I think either a WiFi connection where the consoles communicate to each other when they are in range, much like the Gamepad with the Wii U or you could dock the portable and picking up a traditional controller to carry on gaming.

What else could happen?

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There are details Nintendo have been fine tuning and should be part of the NX… whatever form it takes.

  • My Nintendo and the unified accounts. Nintendo have revamped Club Nintendo and brought in an age of Gold and Silver coins. My Nintendo works much like a loyalty system with a supermarket. The more you use it, the more you get back. What’s interesting is that My Nintendo works across both the Wii U, 3DS and mobile. It’s one step closer to a unified account so expect greater things with the NX. It could also double as an achievement/trophy system.
  • No more friend codes. These have slowly phased out since the introduction to the Nintendo Network. When the next console launches, expect them to be gone.
  • Expect some kind of premium service. First Microsoft introduced Xbox Gold Live, then Sony followed with PlayStation Plus. Nintendo will be aware just how much money these are bringing in, so expect to be sending part of your wage slip to Kyoto.
  • Power. While power has never been Nintendo’s thing, the console will have to be close to Xbox One/ PlayStation 4 standards to make it easy for developers. Since it can run Breath of the Wild, we can assume the Nintendo NX is as powerful than the Wii U, so that’s a start.
  • Remasters. I’ll touch on games further down the list, however I suspect Breath of the Wild is being used as a testing ground to see how easy it is to port a Wii U game to the NX. If the process is relatively easy, then expect Splatoon, Smash Bros and any popular Wii U game to make an appearance.

Games

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As of now, the NX has 4 confirmed games – The Legend of Zelda, Just Dance 2017 (Ubisoft), Dragon Quest XI (Square) and Project Sonic 2017 (Sega).

Let’s not kid ourselves and also say that at some point we’ll have 2D, 3D & Paper Mario games, Splatoon 2, Pikmin 4 & Mario Kart 9. During the lifespan of the console, we may even get another Zelda game and I’d expect some kind of virtual console for retro gaming.

Third parties have always been Nintendo’s achilles heel. Granted, with them partnering with more developers such as Platinum Games, Capcom, Sega and Tecmo Koei things are improving.

However the hardware does need to be easy to develop for and accessible for cheap and easy porting so that developers don’t have to spend too much time and resource rebuilding a game. As they proved with the Wii, power isn’t everything so long as the platform is easy to work with.

Square Enix are the ones to watch for this as Dragon Quest XI is being developed for PS4 and 3DS as well as NX.  If all 3 versions are successful from a creation point of view, expect other teams to follow.

When

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This is the big question. When will all this become official? If March 2017 is still on the cards, expect a Nintendo Direct/event in September. This gives Nintendo 6 months to fire up the hype train. With Sony set to unveil an upgraded PS4 on the 7th September, I would expect an invitation from Nintendo within the next week or so. They could well wait until after Sony’s event, but I think it will be sooner rather than later as their social media has gone awfully quiet in the last few weeks.

As I said at the beginning, this is just for fun. I don’t work for Nintendo, nor do I have “sources.” I don’t even have a Dave from the pub to tell me what’s going on. The only ones that truly know anything are Nintendo themselves.

They will tell us about their console when they are good and ready. We just have to prepare for whatever they throw at us.

If you have any thoughts about what you think the Nintendo NX could be, let me know in the comments below!

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