Nintendo is working on a new game console. Did you know? You're forgiven if you didn't - Nintendo has been pretty quiet about it, and that's intentional.
The console only has a codename: "NX." We don't know the official name, nor a description, nor really any other major information. Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata first mentioned the console during an investor presentation in March 2015. At the time he announced NX as such:
As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename "NX." It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year.
The announcement of a new game console from Nintendo was only made in an effort to counter the announcement that the company had begun working with a popular Japanese mobile games publisher (DeNA) to produce mobile games. Egads! Nintendo moving into mobile games! This is something Nintendo fans have been pushing for.
An image was also shown of how NX would fit into Nintendo's product offerings:
The idea is that Nintendo's new console, NX, will incorporate your existing Nintendo digital life by using a "new membership service" across its current consoles (the Wii U and 3DS) as well as its new platforms (the NX and mobile devices, and PC via the web).
If you only expand upon existing hardware, it's dull. In some shape or form, we're always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person's video gaming life.
Not much to go on there, eh?
In the months that followed, Nintendo said next to nothing about the new console. When asked by reporters, the closest Nintendo got to a real response was saying, "Wait for 2016." In the meantime, rumors swirled:
- Nintendo's next console will run on Google's operating system , Android. Or maybe not .
- Nintendo's next system is named "Cross." (Also nope.)
- Nintendo is going to return to cartridges over discs . (Almost certainly bogus.)
And in October, the Wall Street Journal reported the strongest rumor to date: Nintendo's next console is actually a handheld and a home console all-in-one. That could mean it'll come with a portable game pad so you can play on the go, sort of like you do now with Nintendo's separate handheld console, the Nintendo 3DS.
Moreover, some game makers reportedly already have the hardware and are working on games. This latter bit is almost certainly accurate given that Japanese game publisher Square Enix already announced support for the NX with its next major "Dragon Quest" game, a massively popular series in Japan (less so outside of Japan).
"Dragon Quest XI, which we announced today, as well as Dragon Quest X, which I'm working as a producer, are planned for release on the NX, which Nintendo is currently developing," Square Enix producer Yosuke Saito reportedly said during a July press conference, as translated by Kotaku.
The WSJ report also alleges that, based on analyst research, Nintendo's next console ("NX") may become available to the public at some point in 2016. That's less clear, though - game console makers often issue development kits to game makers several years ahead of those consoles becoming commercially available.
There's still a good chance the NX won't launch until 2017 or later.
On January 15, Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo's new president, issued a report on Nintendo's plans for 2016. He didn't offer much in the way of new information about Nintendo's next console, but he echoed the statement that Nintendo will detail its next console this year.
"Nintendo wants to surprise fans with new ideas - not build on old ones," Kimishima said, according to a translation by Japan-based analyst Serkan Toto.
The only other information we have about NX comes from the original investor presentation where it was first announced. In said presentation, Nintendo refers to NX as a "dedicated game platform with brand new concept under development." Did you spot it? The "brand new concept" part is what's interesting.
It sounds like Nintendo's reinventing itself once again, and its next console won't resemble the Nintendo Wii or Wii U. And that sounds spot-on given Nintendo's long history of doing just that.