NX Thoughts

It’s mid-morning and the first thing I woke up to was this Nintendo NX “leak” that I wanted to get into for just a bit.  Now, this is all presuming the information is true, which I guess should be re-capped first:

The Nintendo NX is supposedly going to be a hybrid portable system that can be taken with you anywhere yet can be plugged into a television and used as a more traditional console system.  There’s some mention of how the controller works as a thing that’s detachable from the system but honestly I can’t envision it in my head so I sure as hell can’t explain it, which is why I linked to the original Eurogamer article in case you wanted the more in-depth information.  In any case, the rumor is that it’ll either be using the Tegra X1 chip (which will make it a sight more powerful than the Wii U but not a huge leap) or that they’re waiting on a version of the X2 which would potentially put it on par with the current XB1 model.   It’ll revert back to using cartridges because lol Nintendo, and the whole thing is set to be properly revealed in September.  That part tracks, since it’ll be the end of summer, TGS will be approaching and Nintendo never attends but this will also get them some of that same press since gamers will be focused on that event once again.

In my eyes, Nintendo is always the most puzzling of the three console developers.  Sony and Microsoft could make a billion dollars a month selling chocolate chip cookies, with potential growth for another two billion and Nintendo will still tell us it makes sense that they’re trying to sell us gingersnaps.   

What my incredibly awkward analogy is trying to say: Nintendo will always try to do something different, no matter how much money there is in following the crowd.  They’ve gained quite the rabid fanbase for this behavior, even if said fanbase seems to dwindle with each console.  (Fun fact: Did you know that, aside from the Wii, every Nintendo home console has sold ~10 million less than its predecessor?)   So while there’s already a significant number of people lauding Nintendo for this NX leak, that isn’t necessarily going to translate into the numbers Nintendo needs to do if they want to compete with Sony/Microsoft.   And whether Nintendo likes it or not, those are their competitors--claiming they’re competing with mobile gaming is both laughable and an impossible goal, as gaming consoles by necessity can’t be as ubiquitous as telephones are.

In any case, I’m popping up with this article just to make a few points real quick:

  1. This leak is still just that: a leak.  Taking this as absolute confirmation before Nintendo’s NX reveal, is getting ahead of ourselves.  
  2. No matter what you think now, the presentation is going to be everything.  By the end of it many people will be sold that weren’t before, and those that thought this was everything they wanted will be pissed and “done with Nintendo forever”.   If Nintendo’s properly thought this out--with the first-party and third-party support to back it up at release and in the months following, they will move consoles.   In numbers enough to avoid going full mobile?   Well, that’s a different question.

As far as how I personally feel about it….

With what little we know, if it’s true, I’m kind of behind it.  Again, the follow-through is going to be everything, but if they get it right then I’m currently interested.  One of the things that bugged me as a former Wii U owner was the 3DS.   A number of the titles I wanted were trapped behind an entirely different console purchase--and worse yet, has substantially worse graphical performance.

I’ll confess to being a graphics whore.  Not enough of one that I’m constantly looking for the newest Titan card to upgrade my box so I can run all my games at 1440p/120fps while anxiously awaiting the power boost that will allow me to upgrade to 4K gaming once and for all, but enough of one that being asked to play 3DS games bugs the hell out of me.   And as the most popular console in Japan, the 3DS has become the de-facto “floor” for Japanese video games.   If this means going forward the new “floor” is the Vita or even this, a system that could be more powerful than the Xbox, I can’t help regarding that as a good thing.

But far more noteworthy is that this system if it existed would mean Nintendo no longer has to compete with itself, forced to develop games for both its console and handheld systems, but can rather focus all of its attention on a single device.  

Imagine the launch event: Nintendo confirming this information, then following up by saying the NX’s launch window games would be a new Mario, ports of Mario Kart 8, Smash 4, and Splatoon (with added support for all of them), Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and a revised version of Pokemon Sun and Moon.  As a quick side note, any argument that The Pokemon Company is largely autonomous can be put to rest now.  The NX is meant to be a handheld, and yet somehow TPC couldn’t wait a few months to launch Sun and Moon on it to help move more consoles??    There’s no way Nintendo pushed for that, and the only logical conclusion I could come to is that TPC simply wanted to take advantage of the 3DS’ enormous base to satisfy their own bottom line.

From there, it’s easy to see Nintendo’s once sparse release schedule appear much more crowded, as the developers focus on a single console going forward.  Third-parties abandoned the Wii U due to lack of sales, but if Nintendo can prove the NX will have both the power and the potential sales to make it worth their time, that can easily be 180’d.  

Of course, again none of this is certain and it won’t be for at least another month and a half, but it’s fun to speculate.


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