Nintendo NX Launch Happening Inside Q1 2016

Posted: December 13, 2015 in Opinion Piece

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Nintendo wants to take a leaf out of Apple and Google’s book for its next gaming platform, the Nintendo NX

by Richard Goodwin via Know Your Mobile

Nintendo has had a rather turbulent couple of years. The company’s approach to gaming and production cannot be faulted but changes to the gaming and technology space at large have resulted in Nintendo consistently losing ground to its peers and, in some respects, mobile gaming, which has increased in prominence exponentially in the last several years.

So what’s Nintendo to do? Simple: create a brand new gaming console that wipes the floor with everything else. It can’t be the Nintendo Wii again, that thing had some success with family gaming, but compared to the Xbox One and PS4 it was pretty much a flop. No, Nintendo needs to return to its heydey, back when the NES and SNES and GameBoy handhelds wiped the floor with the competition.

A new report from DigiTimes claims the Nintendo NX will launch in early-2016 with production of the console starting inside Q1. Nintendo said it wanted to create around 20 million units but more recently that number has said to have been reduced to somewhere between 10-20 million.

“That revision seems to be because of a supply line of components rather than Nintendo’s caution over sales,” reports Den of Geek. “Indeed, if Nintendo manages to sell 10-12 million NXs in its first year, that’s a good result – at least by the standards of the faltering Wii U. The latter system’s lifetime sales are between 10 and 11 million, and it’s now three years old.”

Still: exact details about the console are pretty thin on the ground.

According to multiple reports Nintendo’s upcoming NX console will run on Google’s Android platform and the reason, according to said reports is simple: Nintendo wants to attract developers to its platform once again.

“Speaking to one of Japan’s biggest newspapers, Nikkei, the Nintendo leaker has it that the new device is going to house an operating system loaded with Android,” reports Tech Radar. “With Nintendo historically always using both its own hardware and its own in-house developed operating systems that all sounds like complete nonsense. The justification for it being considered though is that it will allow third-party developers a quicker – and easier – route into creating content for the Nintendo NX.”

Nintendo has lost legions of developers from its Wii U platform and, if the company is to grow, it must try something new, something that will attract these developers and more like them back to the fold. Content is KING in 2015/16 and Nintendo knows this which is probably why it is considering such a drastic switcharoo.

“Given how Android is normally employed, if what this insider says is correct it’s likely the NX’s OS will simply be based on Android (similar to the Ouya), not a direct implementation of the same software normally found on phones and tablets,” reports Kotaku, a specialist gaming title. “The Nikkei article explains that the apparent reason for this move is the Wii U is not compatible with other game machines. So it’s hard for developers to make back money on a title’s development costs when they have to create it specifically for one console. They can’t easily do a multi-platform release like they could on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.”

This Android Connection seems to be something of a mistranslation, however — a statement taken out of context. You see, Nintendo has officially stated that it wants a platform similar to Android and iOS in that multiple types of hardware can run on one platform. Doing so would make life a lot easier for Nintendo’s now-disenfranchised developers. Being open-source, Nintendo could, of course, adopt Android for this purpose and fork it as many companies have done in the past. We’ll just have to wait and see about this though…

Not much else has been said about the Android connection since, however, although there has been a lot of talk about the NX since. And most of it is very telling about the direction in which Nintendo wants to take its business. According to a very detailed report on Gaming Bolt, the NX platform will not be a console per se; rather it will be the platform on which all future Nintendo games run on, regardless of hardware. Sort of like Windows 10, then.

“Nintendo has begun issuing developers with software kits for the Nintendo NX, revealing some intriguing details about what the console might entail. According to the WSJ’s sources, the NX will include a mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use,” reports Expert Reviews. “This would suggest that the NX will also replace the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, which Nintendo launched back in February, creating a handheld console hybrid that can be used at home or on the move. It would almost be like the Wii U’s GamePad controller could function as its own separate console, although presumably the NX’s “mobile unit” would be much smaller and more compact to make it remotely portable.”

nintendocontroller

As of December 11, reports have emerged that Nintendo has patented a design for a controller featuring a large touch display. As reported by Sky News, Nintendo’s patent details an “elliptical” shaped controller with a similarly shaped display. It also appears the analogue stick controls stick out through the display panel itself, which is confirmed to be a touchscreen, and the setup features a built-in speaker, two shoulder bumpers and two triggers as usual. The design document also makes reference to glasses-free 3D technology.

Nintendo NX: It’s ALL About The Platform

“The NX platform,” notes the report, “therefore, refers to both, a handheld and a console. However, it does not refer to a hybrid. Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has conclusively come out and debunked that idea multiple times. The NX is not going to be a convertible system (i.e. a handheld that docks into the TV and becomes a console). However, it is going to be one brand that covers systems in different form factors- i.e., Nintendo will have an NX handheld and an NX console. Think iPhone and iPad, and you have the idea.”

This is something Mr. Iwata himself confirmed multiple times:

“Home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems. Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform.”

“To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples.”

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