Everything We Know (Not Much) About Nintendo's New Hardware

Everything We Know (Not Much) About Nintendo's New Hardware

Nintendo just surprised everybody with the announcement that its working on some new hardware, codenamed "NX". Pretty much everything about "NX" besides its codename remains a mystery, however.

Lest we devolve into wild and errant speculation, let's review what Nintendo has said publicly about its new hardware.

They 'Already Have A Clear Idea' Of What It will Be

Here's company president Satoru Iwata speaking during a shareholder Q&A that was published place in May 2014, in response to a question about "when Nintendo will launch its next-generation video game systems." Emphasis added:

Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one. As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware. On the other hand, the most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail. However, I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware. I of course believe that launching new hardware will not produce good results unless we first make sure that those who have already purchased our platforms are satisfied. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software, but I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take.

Iwata was careful not to make it sound like Nintendo was abandoning its relatively new Wii U console. But given the fact that the Wii U has sold very poorly for its entire lifespan so far, it's telling that he took the time to assuage investors by telling them how confident the company is in its next hardware system.

It Is Not Related To Their Health Stuff

Last month, Iwata clarified at least one point about future Nintendo gaming hardware: that it is not directly related to the company's other hardware initiative -- the one focusing on "quality of life." From Brian's original write-up:

It's not necessary to be particular about game hardware," Iwata told Asahi News. It seems Iwata means that, as evident with the sleep sensor, Nintendo's health care business doesn't need to be tied to its video game consoles.

They Want To Have A Unified Operating System Across Multiple Gaming Platforms

Nintendo has spoken repeatedly (and vaguely) about the importance of their "hardware-software integrated platform business" in the past, but only recently did they start addressing the specific problems they seemed to be overlooking within that very paradigm: the fact that they have relatively self-contained ecosystems on, say, the Wii U and 3DS. In another investor Q&A -- this one translated and published last month (via GameSpot) -- Iwata said that in the future he wants handhelds and other gaming consoles to be "like brothers in a family of systems." Previously, Iwata explained, Nintendo had come up with "completely different architectures" for its different gaming systems, which leads to "divergent methods" for software development in turn.

Iwata added that the fraternal-like bonds will only truly be achievable in the next generation, saying: "While we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture."

Does this mean its curtains for the Wii U in the near future? Not exactly, but Iwata's comments did make it sound like Nintendo is already setting its sights somewhere above and beyond its current two systems. "It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U," Iwata continued in his comment to investors, "but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately."

That last line makes it sound like the NX (whatever it ends up being) will come equipped with a virtual console -- much like the Wii U did. Other than a few small details like that, though, NX is pretty much one big mystery box for the time being.


Comments

    Make it a handheld that let's you stream to your TV. Has to have beefier specs than Vita.

      I'm hoping it's essentially what the PS3-Vita relationship was meant to be. A system where you can be playing on your home console then walk away from it and be continuing the game on your handheld.

    Virtual Boy 2! you heard it here first folks!!!

    actually the more I think about it with the current VR headsets and such this doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

    Last edited 18/03/15 11:36 am

    It's always so exciting to see what innovations Nintendo have up their sleeves. Can't wait!

    We don't know much, but I'm hoping it's not like the Wii U, which was hyped up to be the "Xbox of the Nintendo world" (e.g. have the same games the big boys had) but ended up not having much.

    A GOOD Mario game would go over well. Not this "oh, you died twice. Want us to finish the level for you?" crap. Bring back the good ol' days of SNES and NES Mario where you had to get good at it and you got a real sense of achievement for "clocking" it

      I would really like Nintendo to put out a system that is on par with Sony and Xbox, but still keep their unique charm. I am the type of person that buys Nintendo systems for 2 reasons, Metroid and Zelda. Nothing else Nintendo releases really grabs me, and every thing else that is released is better on the other systems. I miss my Nintendo days, but I don't want it to be like the Wii where I spent more money on TG16 games than I did on Wii games.

        I think the Wii U was pretty powerful, but they just didn't have the games to back it up. The control pad was useful too, but nobody knew what to do with it, asides from showing a map or quick access to inventory.

        The Xbo 360 seems to be a little more like the Wii U I was expecting. I only just bought a 360 about a month or two ago ($100 with 5 games? Why not?) and found it has some good Kinect games, like Kinect sports (good for killing some time) and AAA titles, like GTA:V, as well as some PC games, like Left 4 Dead 2 and Half Life 2. It's "family" enough for people like my wife (a sidescroller / hidden object gamer) to play, but still hardcore enough for me to open up a shooter and blast some zombie commie-nazis

        Another Mario 64 (or a Mario Galaxy - I actually really enjoyed that one. Never got to play the second one, though) would go over well, I think. 2D plaftormers are nice, but they're too simple to play. 3D would be a nice change again.

      I think their mechanic of the "Gold Raccoon" in Super Mario 3D Land and New Super Mario Bros 2 worked well. If you died too many times it gave you the option of using the invulnerable suit to make things easier, and if you complete the level with it equipped it allowed you to progress, but didn't mark the level as done. So you can get past a frustrating part for now, and tackle it again without the powerup later.

      That being said, all newer Mario games just throw too many lives at you and it's nearly impossible to "Game Over" which they do need to improve on.

        Mid last year I went to a mate's place and played NSMBWU (or whatever) for the first time. In 3 hours we finished the game with 40+ lives apiece. I found it too simple, especially two player mode where the only way you would have to restart a level, is if both people died at once. Certainly not very challenging when you can just die and float after the other player until "the hard bit" is over.

    Bi yearly portable to eventually replace their ds line and to eventually add mobile phone features. They want to be like apple with their customer base replacing hardware every couple of years

    A few things they will need to pull off, I don't believe they have what it takes to do it however. Nintendo is dead imo. Just a slow death.

    1) Needs to be considerably faster then PS4/XB1
    2) Have some future ability to run games/movies at 4k with decent framerates
    3) A controller that is easier for developers to port games over to from other platforms, and isn't a massive ipad with sticks on the side!

      Bwaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      Joke of the century mate

    Their new hardware is a device that allows you to play nintendo games on your PC or other console

    Fingers crossed for a Nintendo Smart Device which with them going mobile would be great but I'm betting that they're going to get back into the VR game.

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