According to the latest rumors, the upcoming Nintendo NX console will boast new Mario and Pokemon games, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The games will reportedly be released within six months of the launch of the console in March 2017. A report by Christopher Dring of MCV cites sources close to Nintendo who say that the company is working to avoid the kind of slow start suffered by the Wii U and 3DS consoles.
Nintendo NX to get A-list titles
As it stands there have been no major releases from Nintendo’s major internal studios or second parties since 2015. This could suggest that major titles are being saved for the Nintendo NX.
The MCV report also says that Nintendo has got third-party support from Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Activision and Warner Bros. This kind of support has been a real problem for the company in the last few years.
According to Dring, the sources have confirmed that the Nintendo NX will be a handheld/console hybrid. He cites sources who say that last week’s reports are “100 per cent accurate.”
Nintendo targets smartphone gamers with upcoming console
Rumor has it that the Nintendo NX will be more powerful than the PS3, but less powerful than the PS4. Sources say that Nintendo wants to “upgrade” smartphone gamers, rather than take on the PS4 and Xbox One in a straight battle.
“It won’t appeal to PS4 fans. Nintendo seems set on trying to upgrade smartphone gamers. That’s going to be a big job for the marketing department,” said the source.
At this stage the only titles confirmed for the Nintendo NX are Zelda, Just Dance 2017 from Ubisoft and an as-yet-untitled Sonic game from Sega.
“We announced that we’re developing Just Dance for NX and we have other surprises that we will announce later, but we also believe Nintendo has the power to reinvent the way families are playing,” Ubisoft’s head of EMEA Alain Corre told Gamesindustry.biz. “Nintendo is a fantastic powerhouse of brands that are really cherished by a lot of fans and families… I am still impressed by the reoccurrence of success and appetite even today for the Nintendo franchises on the current system.”
Nintendo executive calls NX “a nice bit of kit”
Given that Nintendo has generally been more interested in experiences than raw power in the past, these rumors make a certain amount of sense. According to one executive quoted by MCV: “It’s a nice bit of kit, a bit of a novelty, but a good one.”
One interesting feature that may make an appearance on the Nintendo NX is augmented reality. Rumors suggest that the device may support AR, and Ubisoft has hinted that some of its titles could have AR features.
In addition games industry expert Dr. Serkan Toto predicted in January that more and more games would make use of AR technology. The Niantic smash hit Pokemon Go has brought AR to the masses on smartphones, and now it may be that the Nintendo NX attracts gamers using the technology.
Augmented reality the hot technology in gaming right now
Japanese firm Macquarie Capital Securities predicted an AR element for the Nintendo NX earlier this year. Developers such as EA have also expressed an interest in the technology following the success of Pokemon Go.
“As you can imagine, we are energized by the success of Pokemon Go. We have tremendously strong brands that are unbelievably social in nature where we believe that participation at the community level through AR will heighten that experience,” said EA CEO Andrew Wilson. “We’ve been working on some things for some time and will continue to work on those, and we’ll be ready to launch them at a time where we think we can better engage communities through AR.”
With excitement growing around augmented reality gaming, Nintendo looks set to capitalize if it includes support for the technology in the Nintendo NX. This could be a good way of the company attracting buyers who are looking for something different than the raw power of the Microsoft and Sony consoles.
If the latest rumors are true the Nintendo NX will have mass market appeal thanks to its A-list titles, but it will not attempt to compete with the Xbox or PlayStation. This has arguably never been Nintendo’s aim, and it might be a good move becoming more explicit about that fact.
This could stop direct comparisons between the three consoles, which has not ended well for Nintendo in the past. By offering a unique experience the Nintendo NX could see success in the gaming community.