Nintendo's been working on its next game console for awhile. The console doesn't have a name, or a release date, or planned games. The only thing it has is a codename: "NX."

Nintendo's current home console, the Wii U, is struggling. It's not doing great in sales compared with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, despite the fact that it's always cost less than the competition. Nintendo's repeatedly said that it will begin talking more about NX in 2016.

Nintendo NXNintendoAn image from a Nintendo presentation which mentions its next console, codenamed "NX."

On the other hand, Nintendo's handheld game console, the 3DS, is enormously successful. It comes in a variety of form factors, has a huge library of games, and is aimed at both kids and adults.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that some game makers already have Nintendo's next game console, NX, in a pre-final form. And what these game makers have seen thus far is especially intriguing: a combination of Wii U and 3DS.

Here's the pertinent quote from the WSJ piece:

The exact shape of the NX hardware isn’t yet clear. People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U’s capabilities didn’t match those of competitors.

So, according to "people familiar with the development plans," Nintendo's next console is both Wii U and 3DS, is far more powerful than Nintendo's current hardware offerings, and apparently may arrive as early as next year.

Speaking with analysts, the Wall Street Journal piece posits that Nintendo may release its new game console in 2016. That's based on the WSJ's report that some game makers already have a "software development kit" for the NX — tools used to make games for unreleased game consoles.

Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii UNintendoNintendo's last two consoles: the Wii and Wii U, from left to right.

But, without more information on how far along the current software development kit is toward the final, consumer version of Nintendo's next console, this is a huge guess. Game makers were receiving software development kits for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One years before either was launched, making it entirely possible that the NX is still a few years out. And given that Nintendo's Wii U game console — unsuccessful as it is with consumers — only launched three years ago in 2012, we're willing to bet it's just as unlikely that Nintendo releases a new home game console in 2016. 

Either way, we'll certainly hear more about Nintendo's next console in 2016; Nintendo's repeatedly said as much.