Nintendo should reveal details of their upcoming NX game console in a few months. Here is a quick essay on why I think it will be the success gamers have been waiting for. In short what we know about NX is very little but has me optimistic. First it will feature a unified OS that ties console and handheld together, second Nintendo has consolidated their teams into a single unit, which means instead of Mario Team 1 making a hand held game and Mario Team 2 (not real names of teams) making console Mario there will be one team making one game that will work on both machines. In fact rumors suggest both machines will be sold as a single, detachable unit similar in concept, but not execution, to Wii U.
Second, the machine is reported to feature leading technology not only more powerful than PS4, it is rumored to require cutting edge computers just to begin development on. This is a good time table for Nintendo (think NES to SNES) to jump ship and release a console not just on par but more powerful than their competition.
Third, they have reported they are going to focus on gamers and games, with Amiibo and the success of Virtual Console and eShop I suspect Nintendo has finally figured out how to reach their primary audience and has an ace up their sleeve to get back the larger “core” gamer that has mostly abandoned them.
Zelda Open World is coming to NX not Wii U. I am sorry but there is no reason for a year long delay of what is surely to be the last big game for the biggest mistake Nintendo has made since Virtual Boy way back in 1994. An Open World Zelda fits perfectly with the needs of modern gamers who ate up a game like Destiny or Skyrim a few short years ago.
Nintendo has finally figured out how to merge console and handheld divisions meaning there won’t be a game released for the portable that everyone wants but no console equivelent this time there will be one machine getting all the games gamers want. This division of the userbase has been their greatest strength and worst weakness for over a decade. But signs point to them finally figuring out how to merge the two especially with Wii U being basically a hybrid already.
Last, Nintendo has always marched to the beat of their own drummer. NES was launched at a time when the North American video game console industry was declared to be over after the great crash of 1983. Many have made the case that the immense popularity of that machine is what revived the home console business in the United States at least. Then the world entered 16-bit gaming in 1987 with the NEC TurboGraphix-16 and one year latter with the Sega Genesis, Nintendo held off almost to the end of 1991 before launching their 16-bit machine the much praised Super Nintendo Entertainment System (often a contender for greatest game console of all-time) It was in 1996, over a year and a half after Sega, Atari, and Sony all launched the 32-Bit generation proper with the Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, and Sony Playstation game consoles, when they released their not 32-bit machine but leap frogged the competition and sold a 64-bit power house console. This is where the story gets complicated. Marching to the beat of their own drummer worked two console generations in a row with NES and SNES both taking number one positions in sales, marketshare, and games released during their time periods on the market. However N64 was a turning point for the 100+ year old Japanese toy company.
So why am I talking about their past achievements in 2015 when their current console, the Wii U, is largely considered a dud, and the NX isn’t even supposed to be officially announced until sometime next year? Well the answer is not as complicated as you might think, see over the years Nintendo has had success when they play to their strengths and failure when they ignore the larger trends. N64 dismissed the multimedia needs of the PSX/Saturn generation by ditching CD Rom in favor of outdated, costly, and more importantly, restrictive, cartridges. This cost them many of their loyal 3rd party partners that have yet to rebuild strong relationships with to this day.
I have heard many arguments over the past couple of years why it is not a good idea for Nintendo to engage in what console gamers call an “arms race” with Microsoft and Sony. The argument always points to Game Cube, the last console supposedly on par graphically with it’s competition. While technically this is true, many people tend to forget that both Xbox and PS2 had 2, not one but TWO major advantages over the Game Cube that is always left out of the discussion but really when you get down to it, are the root causes for its failure. First it didn’t play DVD’s, but more important than that it didn’t utilize DVD roms so large scale multimedia games yet again had to be custom tailored to fit the smaller storage capacity of the Nintendo unit that the other two were using industry standard tech on.
I don’t have the document on this computer but I ran the numbers on and it was close to 65% of the games that were on GC that were multiplatform were missing major content from their PS2 and Xbox counterparts. This was not the case with Dreamcast to GC ports because Dreamcast actually used smaller capacity discs than GameCube. The point is it costs a lot of money to rewrite code, compress files, and basically rebuild a game from scratch more than it does to build a game on par with the others. This is why Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance was a day and date release but latter games had major delays to accommodate the Game Cubes flaws. Other examples include Far Cry, Call of Duty, several 007 games, and countless sports titles either missing out right or really stripped of content. It was somewhat acceptable on N64 because hey everyone had an SNES and N64 had some really great games, but Game Cube took things in a weird direction that many felt just didn’t suit their tastes.
So then why was GC a bomb if it had the best 3rd party support goes the argument where Wii was a major success and it had weaker hardware and less support? Because Wii had a “killer app” that sold everyone right up front on the concept, don’t act like you didn’t spend hours customizing your Mii to invite the grandparents over to play some Wii Sports, we *all* are guilty of that. N64 at least had *One of the Greatest Super Mario Games of all time* , GameCube had Luigi’s Mansion (a kindergarten Mario Knock off of Casper the friendly ghost) and a Super Mario game where you use a water gun to clean up graffiti. N64 had the greatest Zelda experience imaginable, whereas GameCube gave us a children’s cartoon with a kid who had snot hanging from his nose for crying out loud.
So why am I excited for NX if I was disappointed with Wii and knowing Wii U is a dud? Well because Wii U has a host of problems caused by Wii’s very existence which was really just Nintendo’s half-assed attempt to rectify the Game Cubes problems which only existed to fix the problems they had with N64. In other words, Nintendo has had almost 20 years to learn from their mistakes and with the passing of two of both of the men responsible for those mistakes, and with them openly admitting they are trying to retake the market “they created” they have instilled much confidence in me.
I will save my full preview of what I suspect the NX to be for a post shortly when I have a little more information. What I will say here is that the tidbits of information I have regarding the machine so far have me not just optimistic, but actively excited because I have always been good at predicting what is going to resonate with games and what won’t because as a life long gamer, well I get what we want. Nintendo has, apparently, figured this out and suggestions are indicating they are working to finally bring out a product their loyal fanbase and lapsed but still hopeful remnants can all agree on, and I am convinced that will be the NX.