What’s NeXt for Nintendo?

Nintendo logo

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the Nintendo NX. But what actually is that? Is it a handheld? Could it have mega RAM? Will it be any good? None of these questions will be answered in this post.

Just days ago I created an incredibly sublime iteration of the Nintendo NX logo, in fact, I’d say its the best thing you’ll see today. Of course, that’s not true, I just needed to plug that logo again for SEO reasons.

Since creating the logo, however, I have spent a lot of time speculating what the new Nintendo console will actually be like. Back in the day, I was a Nintendo fan through and through. I started my gaming adventure on the NES and transitioned through the generations. I loved everything about Nintendo. Their consoles allowed for easy multiplayer. The first party titles had characters that, in my opinion, couldn’t be rivalled by any other platform. I held a lot of admiration for Nintendo and thank them for introducing me to the gaming world. That was until the Wii released where my admiration started to wane.

The Wii itself was an incredible success and no one can say otherwise. It managed to position itself in the homes of millions and opened up the world of gaming to an audience that would have previously shunned it. My personal issue was that I wasn’t necessarily in that target market. At the time I considered myself to be a “hardcore gamer” and the Wii was very much a games console for the “non-gamer”. There were gems nestled amongst the motion-controlled shovel-ware but it was too late. After owning and selling two of them I’d severed my ties with Nintendo. Once the Wii U had surfaced I was already at large with the ‘big’ guns of gaming. Both the Xbox and PlayStation offered games more suited to me so there was no real point to me purchasing the console. Every so often the call of first-party software tried coaxing me over but it was never enticing enough for me to take the plunge.

With my disdain, maybe a bit too strong, toward Nintendo’s home consoles I’d more or less ignored the fact that a new machine is on the way. There have been rumblings for some time now: There’s to be a home console and a handheld. It boasts 12GB of RAM. It’s Android-based. The controller is a touch screen. A heap of speculation but nothing seemingly concrete. But what if there is truth to the speculation? And what if we’re looking at the console in the wrong light? Maybe, just maybe, Nintendo will be going back to its glory days, albeit with the zany experimentation that you’d expect from Nintendo.

The three things that piqued my interest the most were the mention of both a handheld and a home console, and that the console will be Android-based. I’m not sure where these spawned from but if true it’s leading me to believe that the Nintendo NX will be a handheld console running Android that can connect to a ‘box’ to allow for play on the TV. It makes sense. Nintendo is now expanding into the mobile market with Miitomo, a social media ‘game’ that was downloaded in the millions on its first day of release. Pokemon GO is also coming soon which looks to be a more ‘gamey’ game and will undoubtedly be as popular, if not even more so, than Miitomo. With Nintendo now investing in Android and iOS app development, it seems logical that the Nintendo NX console will be able to utilise these.

Alarm bells do start ringing though. A handheld console can’t possibly have the power to match the current generation of consoles but does it really need to? The problem as I see it is Nintendo need to tap into a portion of the market that isn’t already saturated. They’ve positioned themselves as a family brand and offer family games. Trying to shoehorn the Nintendo brand into the world of Xbox and PS4 will ultimately lead to failure. If people want to play games such as FIFA or Call of Duty they will have the means to do so without having to purchase a new Nintendo console. This sounds somewhat hypocritical as I was just saying that I fell out of love with Nintendo for broadening its audience but it doesn’t have to resort to shameless cash-ins and releases of dodgy motion controlled games to gain success.

If Nintendo decides to truly innovate and bring something new to the table they don’t need to rely on the current big third-party iterations. In fact, if they offer a different gaming experience the third-party support may come flooding back, assuming the demand is there, allowing developers to push their software in different ways. What innovation is needed, I don’t actually know. I feel motion control gaming has seen its day unless of course you’d like to spend megadollar and slap a visor on your noggin. I feel that Nintendo essentially need to release an Ouya type console. A console that offers different types of games and something that can tap into the Android marketplace. It’s no secret that the mobile market is completely bland, filled with Candy Crush clones and gameplay hidden behind a slew of ads.

If Nintendo can bring in the quality that they’re renowned for and position it into the mobile market they’re onto a winner. They could even begin to change the quality of games developed for mobile devices. Developers could presumably create games at a quicker pace too. Sure the visual realism won’t be there but old classic style games; platformers, puzzle games and the like would shine on the system. It would be the ultimate hipster accessory and at the right price would appeal to a wide array of users. Time will tell. It’s not long til E3 now and I’d bet my left nut they’ll announce something there. Speculations are rife it’s making me think that maybe, just maybe, Nintendo NX could be the next Gameboy.

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But seriously, how soon is now?

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