Everything We Know About Nintendo’s NX

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NX is a handheld and console?

The biggest rumor of all is the fact that the NX console is actually both a console and a handheld. Much like the WiiU, the controller will stream line gameplay on a gamepad. However unlike the WiiU, the game pad can work on its own and become a mobile device that you can take anywhere.

Why It is Possible:

This is entirely possible because it is basically just further adapting the WiiU to be a complete package. It is a unique and interesting twist that seems right up the alley of Nintendo. Nintendo is also not stupid, they notice how well their handhelds are doing and how terrible WiiU is doing. Bridging that handheld formula directly into their console business seems like a truly genius idea to help console sales.

Why It Might Not Work:

There are a couple reasons why this approach is dangerous for Nintendo. The obvious starts with Sony already going this route and failing miserably at it. The Vita was supposed to be a “console on the road” yet it gained no support from developers at all, and the interconnectivity idea died. That being said Nintendo does handle this situation a lot better by developing their own games. One could argue that is how WiiU has survived as long as it has, so Nintendo has the power to at least push harder than Sony with this idea. However Nintendo also has to ask if tying handheld sales to their console could impact the handheld market in any way. Would another WiiU style bomb drag down their handheld market share?

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NX Can Only Do 900p?

Another shocking rumor floating around is that the console will not be capable of doing 1080, and will restrain itself to 900p. Unlike Xbox One seeing random games at 900P, it seems the entire console will just stick at that rate. It seems like a setback in a time where people are asking for 4K resolution, let alone 1080.

Why It May Happen:

It’s Nintendo, their games don’t really need a high resolution to look good. It will just be one of those things “die hard” fans nitpick every time a game releases, but not something Nintendo fans will care about. That being said if the above rumor is true and the device doubles as a handheld device then there needs to be drawbacks. It’d be hard for a 1080p game with high end detail to run on both a console and a handheld, while still providing decent battery life. So in order to allow the handheld to have a full experience they would need to restrict the console in some way. Limiting a console for a much more lucrative handheld market seems like a logical idea for Nintendo.

Why It May Not Happen:

Perhaps Nintendo found a way to “scale down” games for the handheld, while the console maintains a higher resolution and graphical output. While it was used as an excuse above, we can also state it here. Nintendo games are not very tasking so reaching that 1080p threshold should not be an issue. Above all else, WiiU currently reaches 1080p, so 900p is actually a step down.

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The NX is Actually Two Units:

There is a rumor that the whole NX console and “controller” are actually two separate units. One, the handheld, will release this year in 2016. The other, the console, will release sometime in 2017.

Why It May Be True:

It might be true because, as stated above, Nintendo doesn’t want a console to restrain their handheld market. So separating the two units is logical. Also helping this rumor is the fact that the units will have self-sustaining power to work with the latest games, aka showcase that it is indeed a true break apart experience. Nintendo then could use the hype of their very successful handheld business to push a new console.

Why It May Not Be True:

If this is the case then Nintendo runs into the same issues that Sony had with Vita. Do people need to buy two copies of games? Does the interconnectivity work right? What happens if one side doesn’t do as well as the other? If you need both units to make a whole then it doesn’t make sense to restrict one side. If the connectivity is the big selling point, then why would you remove it to sell the new units? Why upgrade from a 3DS (especially if you just bought one of the new ones) if that big feature is missing?

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NX Has 4K Streaming:

Why It May Be True:

It most likely is, there isn’t a real need to dive into things here. Netflix and other streaming partners (along with TV makers) really want to push this new feature, so it’d be pretty awful if Nintendo somehow forgets to include it. However I don’t think the possibility entirely falls on them anyways.

Why It May Not Be True:

Perhaps Nintendo somehow breaks their relationship with Netflix and other streaming partners? Who knows? It isn’t needed for gaming though since rumors above suggest the NX won’t even do 1080, so again this really isn’t in Nintendo’s ball park. The only question is, will it be for both the handheld and console?

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About That 2016 Release Date:

Nintendo has not given much in terms of any details, but they are expected to come out guns blazing this year. Could they announce details at E3 and then release the console by the end of the year?

Why It May Happen:

Nintendo already sent out dev units to developers to allow new games to be made, along with porting already made games. They have had these units for a while now and games should be ready to go. Nintendo has also been working on NX for a few years publicly, let alone secretly. WiiU sales are not great, and 3DS sales are somewhat dwindling. Plus Nintendo has pushed one of their biggest releases (Zelda) aside for an NX release.

Why It May Not Happen:

We still haven’t heard anything about NX so maybe something came up that is holding it back. Also while 3DS sales are somewhat dwindling, they are still rather strong. Software sales for 3DS is also still strong. The only thing really holding 3DS back is raw power for new games, but Nintendo somewhat addressed it with a revamped release. Is Nintendo confidant enough in NX that they are willing to take a chance in hurting 3DS sales? That’s the question because NX could very easily end up being like Sony’s Vita.

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Nintendo’s New Community:

It is noted in several sources that Nintendo is expanding the online community in many ways. One of those expansions includes the idea of trophies/achievements finally making its way to NX.

Why It Will Happen:

Sony and Microsoft went full steam into community driven features, so Nintendo will follow. It was also hinted by their mobile games developer that more community driven features will come. Combine that with the idea of a handheld device being a main purpose of the NX and we will see plenty of community driven features, so showcasing achievements publicly will just be one of the many changes.

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The Return of Cartridges:

It is rumored, thanks to a recent patent, that Nintendo is returning to cartridges like their old systems (and the 3DS) use. Cartridges have many strengths to them, but is it really something we want to see?

Why It Most Likely Will Happen:

This again draws on the idea of the handheld being part of the unit. A cartridge is simply better, and safer, for a mobile unit to utilize. Nobody wants to return to the PSP UMD discs do they? Plus Vita showcases that cartridges can hold enough storage for quality games. Nintendo can take that idea and run with it, and since the console and handheld are supposed to work together it makes sense that the console also utilizes cartridge games. Otherwise you’d be stuck carrying a disc and a cartridge around, and that is no fun. We aren’t talking about returning to N64 style cartridges, we are talking more along the lines of small memory card style cartridges. (Like Vita)

Why It Might Not Happen:

I’d assume Nintendo would still need a disc drive to play Blu-ray movies, but then again it would be of no surprise if they cut that out. Also rather unlikely, but possible, is the idea that Nintendo will push harder for digital games. However keeping the console solely digital is a tough decision when you look back at what happened to Microsoft and the Xbox One.

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Overall these rumors are exciting, but they keep opening up wider every day. There has to be a point where Nintendo steps in and simply tells us about the unit. If any of this is so far off the table, especially the idea of a console/handheld hybrid, then Nintendo should have shut it down immediately, but they didn’t. Instead they remain hush which means that a lot of this is true, or Nintendo will have a hard time letting people down when they do talk about it.

That being said the idea of a console/handheld hybrid has me excited beyond belief. I just recently bought a 3DS so I’m not too thrilled to be behind yet again in the Nintendo world, but it might be worth upgrading if this rumor is true. Instead of buying a 3DS I made the mistake of going the Vita route and it promised the same features these NX rumors have, but sadly Sony failed to meet those expectations. If Nintendo can step up and do it though, then I’m all for it!