Japanese gaming company Nintendo has announced a new Nintendo NX console that will be released in March 2017.
The news came after the company released disappointing profit forecasts for the next year. Nintendo announced the new console during its earnings report as a way of reassuring investors.
Nintendo NX to launch alongside latest Zelda title
The Nintendo NX will not be released for the holiday period, as many people had hoped. Instead it will launch in March 2017 with the next Zelda game as a launch title for the new system.
Nintendo says that the NX is an entirely new gaming system, and rumors suggest that it will replace the Wii U and the 3DS. It looks as though the console will ship with a gamepad that doubles as a portable console so you can keep playing when you out of the house.
These kind of plans would make sense given the need for a successor to both the Wii U and the 3DS. The Wii U is performing poorly against the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One.
Sales are low and Nintendo is struggling to attract third-party developers to its platform. Game developers prefer to focus on the more popular PS4 and Xbox One, as well as PC.
Nintendo strategy evolving in attempt to win back users
It would make sense as both the Wii U and the 3DS need a successor. The Wii U is selling poorly, well behind Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Third-party game developers are also focusing more on Microsoft’s and Sony’s platforms, as well as the PC. In fact the Wii U is one of Nintendo’s least successful consoles ever and is sometimes compared to the Sega Dreamcast.
The 3DS has been better for the company but it is now 5 years old and sales are slowing down. These days smartphones are far more capable in terms of gaming and many people are choosing not to buy a dedicated portable console.
In fact the very idea that a portable console is necessary to play games looks wildly out of date. The good thing is that Nintendo seems to have realized it, and the next step for the company is convincing consumers that they should indeed buy a Nintendo NX.
Details about the NX are thin on the ground. It seems unlikely that Nintendo will bring the device to the E3 conference because it is still trying to sell as many 3DS and Wii U units as possible.
Rumors swirl in the absence of official information
In the absence of official information we are left to speculate on the Nintendo NX. It wouldn’t be surprising if the new console sold for around $450 and up, making it an affordable unit but still more expensive than the Wii U due to updated hardware.
There may be both “Basic” and “Premium” models available, with the price of the higher-end model rising to around $525. As it stands this would make the Nintendo NX more expensive than the PS4 and the Xbox One, although both Sony and Microsoft are expected to release their next-generation consoles soon.
In terms of design there is a similar lack of information, although several fan renders have popped up online. Most of them are based on the sole rumor, reported by the Wall Street Journal, that the console will have “a mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use.”
Nintendo NX hardware to get a significant boost
It is thought that the new console will be more powerful than the PS4 and the Xbox One due to “industry-leading chips” supplied by AMD. While it’s unclear how the Nintendo NX will compare with the next-generation efforts from Sony and Microsoft, it is clear that Nintendo is trying to make amends for the poor hardware included in the Wii U.
Nintendo may also appeal to nostalgia by using game cartridges rather than discs or downloads to distribute games. Support for the Unreal Engine 4 is expected, as is support for the EA Frostbite engine. This shows that Nintendo is serious about matching the capabilities of its rivals.
Another important factor is the inclusion of a base operating system that encourages developers to join the platform. Nintendo needs to develop an operating system that doesn’t cause developers problems when they try to make games compatible with the Nintendo NX.
With Zelda expected to launch alongside the Nintendo NX, we may also see a new Super Smash Bros. game on the platform. That is according to a rumor from Japanese games industry source Dr Serkan Toto. The popularity of the series could encourage people to buy the new console if it launches at the same time.