There have been rumours concerning a new Nintendo console on the internet for quite some time. That’s mainly thanks to a December 2014 Associated Press interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and other iconic Nintendo games, who stated “While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”
See also: Nintendo Wii U review
There wasn’t much else mentioned about the next gen console until Nintendo’s press conference on 17 March 2015, where the company announced that they were going to be creating mobile games for smartphones and tablets.
As well as announcing the venture into mobile gaming, Nintendo’s late Chief Executive Santoru Iwata said "As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'."
Before anyone could ask for further information on the new console, Iwata continued "It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year."
This sentiment of keeping quiet was later re-iterated by Nintendo President of America Reggie Fils-Aime while on stage at Nintendo’s E3 conference. He remarked “We'll talk more about our next system, code named Nintendo NX, more in 2016”
It makes sense for the company to start teasing a new console, as the Wii U seems to be Nintendo’s worst performing console ever, selling only 10 million units in the two and a half years that its been on sale. Lets compare that to the PlayStation 4, which has been out for around a year and a half but has sold over 18.5 million units worldwide.
So, what do we know about the next generation Nintendo console dubbed “NX”? Read on and find out.
Nintendo NX console rumours: Design
There isn’t much to go on, in the way of design. When the upcoming console was teased it was referred to as a ‘new concept’, which could mean an entirely new design. Opposing that are rumours that it’ll have a similar design to the Wii U, but with enhanced capabilities. We cover that in more detail below.
Nintendo NX console rumours: Unique features
Nintendo has always done extremely well with not competing with the likes of Sony and Microsoft, and instead breaking away from what other gaming manufacturers are producing. Think back to the Nintendo Wii – when the Wii was first announced, it was welcomed by excited consumers because they hadn’t seen anything quite like it before, and its technology that both Microsoft and Sony are still trying to perfect.
Nintendo described the NX as a “brand new concept” which could mean anything given Nintendo’s track record. Talking about the NX, the late Iwata said “if you only expand upon existing hardware, it's dull”. He followed up the comment with “In some shape or form, we're always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person's video gaming life.”
With that being said, there are rumours that the new Nintendo console will come with a completely new control method. This is mainly because the screen-controller hybrid that shipped with the Wii U hasn’t taken off like the company had planned, with many developers not using the hybrid controller to its full potential.
There are also counter rumours that suggest the next generation Nintendo device will have a similar design to the current Wii U, but with improved capabilities. Nintendo introduced a way for gamers to play games directly from the controller without the need for a TV, using the inbuilt touchscreen display. It’s a popular feature, especially with homes that share a TV because it allows gamers to carry gaming when somebody else wants to watch TV.
But what about if you could leave home and carry on playing? As it stands, you have to be within proximity to the Wii U to play your game via the controller screen. Rumours suggest that Nintendo could be upping the anti, so to speak, working on a way to allow gamers to carry on playing even if they’re not at home.
If Nintendo manufactures a console that has gameplay that rivals the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and also allows you to play directly on the controller when you’re away from home, that could be a winning combination. Sony offers Remote Play on the PS4 via a PS Vita but there’s a split second of lag, which in some games makes the difference between life and death. Microsoft also recently released a similar feature for Windows 10 and Xbox One, though you have to be on the same network to be able to stream gameplay.
Nintendo NX console rumours: Processor
When it comes to the internal mechanics of the new console, there’s not much online. There is some speculation that the NX will use an AMD SoC, namely the x86 APU, just like the Xbox One and PS4. If it were true, it’d make it the first time that all main manufacturers would use the same chipset.
Could AMD’s CFO Devinder Kumar have been referencing to the NX when discussing upcoming AMD products? “I will say that one is x86 and the other is ARM, and at least one will be beyond gaming … They [the customers] are going to announce it and then … you will find out that it is AMD’s APU that is being used in those products” he said.
However, with this being said, another report claims that the Nintendo NX wont be as powerful as the PS4 (which means we can wave bye-bye to this). The report is based on tweets from Liam Robertson of Unseen64, a man with a great track record when it comes to insider info. He claims that the NX is “definitely not aiming to compete with the likes of PS4 on a power level”. You can see his tweet below:
When asked by @RunJumpStomp “What makes you say that?” he simply replied “Talking to the right people :)”. Until Nintendo officially announces the NX, no one can be completely sure of its spec, but judging by Robertson’s track record and past Nintendo consoles, we think he’s on the right track.
See also: PS4 vs Xbox One
Nintendo NX console rumours: Games
So, what kind of games can we expect on the next-generation Nintendo NX console? According to one report, Nintendo is said to have started talking to third-party developers about the system at this years E3 event. Apparently the developers reacted positively to the concept shown to them at E3, but no details about the concept device have been leaked.
The only games to have been officially confirmed for the Nintendo NX thus far are Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI, courtesy of Square Enix. DQX was originally released for Wii U, 3DS and PC whereas the newer DQXI will be headed to not only the Nintendo NX, but also the PS4 and 3DS.
Nintendo on the other hand, has kept tight lipped regarding its upcoming Nintendo NX titles (as promised) but with a less-than-amazing E3 announcement, many gamers are starting to wander whether the company has given up developing for the Wii U, and is instead turning its efforts towards making games for the NX.
Nintendo NX console rumours: Price
While there are no real rumours surrounding the price of the new Nintendo console, we can speculate about its price by looking back at previous console launches. Nintendo aims for its consoles to be cheaper than the competition – look at the DS and Wii. The Nintendo DS was only £99.99 when it came out and the Wii, even with the breakthrough motion technology it offered, was only £179.99.
Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays with regards to pricing its consoles, whether it’s handheld or tethered to your TV. Based on this, we can only assume that the next Nintendo console will be cheaper than Xbox One and PlayStation 4, possibly around the £200 mark.
Nintendo NX console rumours: Release date
With Iwata stating that more information about the new console wouldn’t be released until next year, we’re assuming that the NX will have a 2016 launch. Why? Simply because it looks like the Wii U isn’t doing as well as Nintendo had hoped, and it gives the company a chance to generate some interest around the new console before launch, without waiting so long that the hype dies down again.
However, since this announcement, Iwata has sadly died, and it remains to be seen whether the executive shake-up will impact the console’s release date plans.
Interestingly, Nintendo has announced that the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U isn’t coming out until 2016. Zelda developer Eiji Aonuma said that the development team has “discovered several new possibilities for the game” and would like extra time to “bring all these ideas to live”. Could the company be waiting to announce Zelda so that both the game and the NX can be released at the same time? Nintendo has a habit of releasing a Zelda or Mario game alongside a new console, with the only exception being the launch of the Nintendo DS (in Europe, anyway).
More recently, an article by DigiTimes claimed that Nintendo is starting production of the next-generation Nintendo NX console as soon as October 2015 with a July 2016 launch date, and is looking to ship 20 million units in its first year of production. However, an analyst at Forbes disagrees with the report, claiming that the schedule is “insanely fast” and he coins a later release date, possibly Christmas 2016 or even 2017 depending on how much work has been done on the console thus far.