Hold onto your butts Nintendo fans, because rumors regarding their next flagship console have reportedly been solidifed. Biggest takeaway? The device sounds utterly nuts!
The NX will be a powerful, high-end portable console with its own screen that has two detachable controllers on either side of it. These controllers will presumably be removable in order to game on the go.
Harkening back to the Nintendo's golden age, the unit will indeed use cartridges for games as well as DLC, and will connect to your TV via a docking device, which will turn it into something that more resembles a proper console. Also, the brains of the unit will reside within one of the detachable controllers. It's all very high tech.
The Internet Reacts
Naturally, reactions to the news was varied:
Now You're Playing With Power
The most exciting prospect of the NX is that it will supposedly use Nvidia's Tegra mobile processor as its driving force. The processor, which is used in both Google's Pixel C tablet and Nvidia's own Shield Android TV set-top box, isn't powerful enough for the NX to compete with the Xbox One and PS4, and especially the impending Scorpio & Neo, but that just heralds a dramatic change in direction for the gaming giants.
The Tegra X1, which powers the aforementioned devices, is an aged piece of tech now. Considering the speed of advancements in power these days, you could probably assume the NX will use the successor to the aged processor, the X2. But that's still yet to be released, hence why the NX's dev kits are currently being powered by the X1. So that may point to why the console has a production date set for March 2017. To wait for the X2, or more unmissable launch titles. Who knows.
Mobile In Its Old Age
Nintendo's handhelds have always had some of its best games, which count for some of their highest sales over the last two generations. Barring the Wii, of course. So the big N's decision to merge both their console and handheld efforts into one piece of tech should come as no surprise.
The mouthwatering prospect of having the full power of both of these über-talented teams working together to show off Nintendo's latest gaming concepts is a very shrewd move, and one that will break barriers between causal mobile gamers and the more hardcore, much like the WIi did for home consoles. And it also could lead to an even higher amount of first-party games. Which is never a bad thing.
This, in turn, means there won't be another 3DS on the market. But we are essentially getting two consoles out of this move...
Now that Nintendo have altered their stance on the battle for the living room, it seems that the NX's direct competition will come from tablets and high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, which is arguably the best smartdevice currently available on the market.
But what the S7, iPhone 6s and other flagship mobiles don't have is Nintendo's backlog of mascots. Imagine playing Super Mario Galaxy 3, or F-Zero NX (PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN, NINTENDO!) soaking up the sun on the beach? Or on a roof terrace. Or underground. Or in a plane.... It's kinda just like a more powerful Game Boy really. Which is, again, never a bad thing.
What I Think
To be honest, this news has me even more stoked for the big N's impending flagship. We don't need another PS4 or Xbox One vying for attention in our living rooms and bedrooms. What we need is a secondary console with an angle and titles that renders it completely unmissable, and I reckon the NX will have that in bucket loads.
With the X2 under its hood, the NX could be the most powerful and power-efficient handheld gaming device we've ever seen, with, hopefully, a screen that will display images at 720p. Any higher would be a significant drain on the device, leading to a shorter lifespan on a single charge. But any less, like the PlayStation Vita's 540p display which is still pretty gorgeous, is welcomed 'cause I'm gonna be playing the heck out of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wherever I go from now on!
And what will the docking unit comprise of? Will there be even more graphical potential within there, like Alienware's external GPU, the Amplifier, which monumentally boosts your laptop's graphical capabilities? So you can go from lower, underclocked resolutions to full fat, 1080p graphical fidelity on your TV or monitor. That would be magical.
Though the experiment with the Wii U's gamepad failed due to it being rooted to the home and less the get-up-and-go device it was heralded as, thats all it was. A simple experiment, with a smidgeon of hubris thrown in for good measure.
And detractors may say that this move isn't the best of ideas for the big N, seeing as the mobile market has reached a milestone in over-saturation. But just look at how many trainers are playing Pokemon GO. That alone highlights the sheer amount of people that have mobile devices that can handle a game as demanding as Niantic's industry shaking game. And, also, there is demand for NIntendo-centric mobile games. Look at the fuss Miitomo caused when that released!
But, irrespective of that, a fully portable handheld with the power of a high-end tablet? Let's hope they learn from the mistakes of the Wii U and then go on to seamlessly change the face of the earth by bringing the worlds of portable and home console gaming together in one huge NeXt step for mankind.
I reckon they'll pull it off, you know...