The Nintendo NX’s enigmatic nature has been its biggest attribute since its announcement back in March of 2015. Since then we have been subject to rumors, alleged design patents, and even fabricated photographs claiming to show the hardware itself. All we truly knew about the system was what we were told by Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. He stated in an interview with the Wall-Street Journal that the NX would be Nintendo’s “next home console”, but even such a direct statement is open to interpretation. Many people hoped to learn more about the system at this year’s E3, but when the dust settled nobody knew anything more than before the show started. It wasn’t until an earnings call that took place after E3 that we were made privy to the targeted release date being sometime in March of 2017. After being subject to radio silence ever since that earnings call, this week we finally learned more about Nintendo’s next console.
In a report that came out from Eurogamer, it was stated that the NX will be a portable console with detachable controllers. It will also be able to connect to a Television via a docking station. There had been rumors that a hybrid system was possible, but this gives us the most concrete evidence of that being the case. More details were also shared relating to the software format, the processors, and the OS, but understanding how those initial points related to the capacity in which the NX will operate helped paint a picture of how successful this system could end up being. Nintendo is in a position where they need to pull off something special to remain relevant in the console hardware market. It’s no secret that Microsoft and Sony have become by far the more popular of the home consoles. However, Nintendo may be showing its willingness to get back in the ring. While still reeling from the disappointing Wii U sales, Nintendo is preparing to launch its offensive, and their target may be the soon-to-be-forgotten fans of Sony.
The PlayStation Vita released in North America in February of 2012. While a successful North American launch showed a lot of promise, the novelty of the Vita quickly wore off and soon interest in the device waned. There are still a few dedicated publishers that release games for the system at a regular clip, but overall the big-name releases have slowed to a trickle. While considered a failure by most, the system does have a dedicated fanbase who suddenly finds themselves in a bit of a predicament. With all signs pointing to the eventual abandonment of their favorite handheld system, and with no notion of a successor being announce, where should they turn? In walks Nintendo.
The revelation that the NX would be a mobile gaming platform has to have caught the attention of some of the estimated 13 million Vita owners. Mobile gaming for some is a necessity when time to sit down and play just isn’t an option. If Sony decides they no longer want to be a part of the mobile console market, they run the risk of having a healthy chunk of their community flee towards a system that suits them best. PlayStation Vita owners obviously don’t make up the majority of Sony’s player-base, but it isn’t very often when the door opens for a competitor to scoop up players already primed for their new product.
The NX needs to have several things go well if it is to be a success. Questionable hardware decisions, an inability to appease third-party publishers, and unwillingness to listen to its fans have put them in a precarious position. However, there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic for Nintendo’s future. They already have a die-hard fan base that will support the NX without thinking twice, they have a large DS fan-base that already love their handhelds but are or will be interested in upgrading at some point, and the 13 million Vita users that could switch sides if they know their next mobile console will be supported properly. Those things along with the functionality of the system and the marketability could lead to a rewarding payoff for Nintendo.