With plenty of news and speculation regarding Nintendo’s upcoming NX console, including the most recent of which details that the system will be a home console/handheld hybrid, a much clearer picture of what the Japanese gaming giant’s next five years may look like. According to many rumors, the NX hopes to provide a seamless gaming experience that is as much at home on your television set as it is in your pocket.
If Nintendo decides to completely get rid of the traditional console model, it may either be a genius move that recalls the success of the company’s much-beloved Wii, or it may be one of the last physical products we see come out of the Kyoto-based company.
Nintendo NX to change the (video) game
This idea is potentially genius as it tackles the two main issues that have been plaguing the gaming giant for years now: a decline in relevance with graphics-obsessed gaming audiences (hello PS4 and Xbox One gamers) and the gradual deterioration of it handheld sector, with many gamers now favoring their phones and tablets over the 3DS. However, the if the company is focused on a phablet-sized device could – if it is the right size – give it access to another upcoming and certainly important trend: virtual reality.
Nintendo should take Samsung for example: with their Gear VR headset, Samsung charged only $99 and it brought a workable version of virtual reality to Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 phone users through its partnership with Oculus. They won’t say how many have been sold, but Samsung Gear VR users apparently hit over 1 million earlier this year. This year, the company gave away Gear VR headsets with Samsung S7 pre-orders, and now users are even. This success goes to show that it is possible to slot a mobile phone into a visor and make a functional VR headset.
The NX should work in the same manner, and what better company to make VR a mainstream technology than the one that made motion control a widespread success with the Wii?
A device that is inside of the headset helps solve a number of issues that plague the high-end VR headsets made by Oculus, HTC, and the upcoming PlayStation VR. For example, since the Gear VR uses the phone itself as the screen, it doesn’t require you to be tethered to a computer or a console. The NX wouldn’t require that either.
Possibilities with the Nintendo NX
Another idea is that the NX could contain detachable controllers, and if they contain Wii-style motion sensors that broadcast their position, they could enable users to interact with games using their hands.
Nintendo would also be able to provide what many other VR devices haven’t: a killer app. With Nintendo’s line-up of world-class games such as The Legend of Zelda to Smash Bros. to Super Mario World, Nintendo would certainly be able to create fantastic and immersive VR experiences unlike any other developer.
If Nintendo allowed the NX to provide both the screen and the power for a VR headset, just like the Samsung Gear VR, it would bring the device into a price range that would be cheap for both Nintendo and for gamers. The idea would be to ship a headset with a popular game for a higher price, or maybe even with the console itself. This would allow the device to be significantly cheaper to produce and to buy than an Oculus or HTC Vive, whose price points are quite high for mainstream success in the short term.
This all seems quite possible, and certainly something that the company has the means of doing. “The question for us in when is the technology going to be mass-market-ready,” says Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America. “We don’t see that it’s mass-market-ready right now but there certainly could be a point in the future when it is, and when it is mass-market ready is when you can expect Nintendo to be there.”