When the Nintendo Wii was first announced, people were curious about the wiimote and how it worked. The gamble paid off for Nintendo as the Wii became the best-selling home console in the history of the company, selling over 100 million units. However, when Nintendo attempted to evolve the Wii with the release of the Wii U, things didn’t quite go as planned. While plenty of people enjoyed and are still enjoying the Wii U, it has sold roughly 10 million units at present. The Wii U has only been available since 2012, but it’s clear the console will not reach the phenomenal numbers of the original Wii.
Last year Nintendo began to discuss the next console, codenamed the Nintendo NX. While the company has discussed the new console sporadically, information seems to be all over the place. We thought it was about time to set the record straight so you know what the facts are when it comes to the Nintendo NX.
Handhelds and Consoles Merge
The biggest rumor concerning the Nintendo NX is that it will combine Nintendo’s handheld and console systems into one. What we know for sure is that Nintendo has merged their console and handheld development divisions. In the past the teams that developed Nintendo’s consoles (Wii, Wii U, etc.) were different from the teams that handled the portable systems (Nintendo DS, 3DS, etc.). Now those two teams have been combined into one. This new division is known as the Integrated Research & Development Division.
Back in 2013 Satoru Iwata stated that the company was integrating the architecture of their future platforms. This is not in reference to merging the consoles, but instead making it so that there’s a common basis when developing games for both handheld and home console platforms. Iwata later compared this to Apple’s iOS and the Android system. In both cases there are multiple devices that run the same software (iOS or Android). It doesn’t matter if you own an iPad or an iPhone, you can essentially run the same programs (apps) on both.
Shigeru Miyamoto later stated in June 2014 that with digital downloads you now have the ability to own multiple platforms playing the same software, and that this can be challenging unless you have a unified development environment. This was further alluded to in October 2015 when the Wall Street Journal reported on Nintendo shipping NX development kits to a few third-party developers. Included in the article was information that the new console would likely feature a console and handheld unit that could be used together or separately.
Nintendo NX New Concepts and Membership Service
When the Nintendo NX was officially announced, it was stated that the new console would be a dedicated gaming platform with a brand new concept. Within this announcement came the fact that Nintendo would offer a new membership system that the company was working on with DeNA. Under the new system gamers will have one membership ID to use between the Wii U, 3DS, NX, PCs and smart devices. This membership is one of the core elements of the new Nintendo NX platform.
There aren’t specifics on what the new concepts offered in the Nintendo NX will be, but Nintendo has teamed up with Sharp as the first customer of the free-form display. Sharp’s new technology is an advanced liquid crystal display (LCD) that can be freely shaped to whatever form the end user desires. Back in December 2014 Sharp announced that the first customer of this product (due to hit the manufacturing phase in early 2016) is Nintendo.
Don’t Expect Another Wii or Wii U
Tatsumi Kimishima, the current President of Nintendo, confirmed that the NX would move away from the Wii and Wii U. The President stated that the NX is a different and new experience when compared to the Wii family of consoles. While Miyamoto had a big hand in the development process of both the Wii and Wii U, he has stepped back with the Nintendo NX.
All of this indicates that we will see something new from Nintendo. Many people considered the Wii U to simply be an upgrade of the original Wii instead of a completely new console. Nintendo is working to remove that thought when it comes to the NX console platform. While we don’t have specifics on what that means, but don’t expect another wiimote of any other similar form of play.
Nintendo will be providing more details on the console this year, but for now this is everything we know for sure that’s confirmed about the Nintendo NX. Keep in mind, the console is still in the development phase, which means anything and everything could change, but this is how things stand at the moment. Nintendo has not confirmed if the new console will release this year, but we do know more information will be revealed. We expect to see something by E3 2016 if not before that time, so keep an eye on Prima Games for more information as it becomes available.