Early last week, eurogamer.com released a story that according to credible sources on their end, Nintendos upcoming platform codenamed the NX, will indeed function as the handheld/console hybrid that has been rumored for a while now. Furthermore, they have also gone on to say that the console will support both downloadable games, as well as classic styled cartridges.
Since this news broke, it has been chaos across the board amongst Nintendo fans, with those taking sides for those in favor of the concept as well as those against it. Regardless of whether or not the platform turns out to be something different than expected, or does fall in line with the classic Nintendo move of aiming at a “new way to play”, one thing is for sure: Nintendo is going to have one hell of a time trying to regain the message. With the NX having already been confirmed for March of 2017, I have to wonder when Nintendo is planning to get in front of the speculation and tell its fans what the NX actually is. With TGS around the corner, and a busy fall for triple-A titles, I can’t understand what Nintendo is waiting for since they are only risking being drowned out by market noise the further into the year that they go.
Nevertheless, the NX will be announced at some point, and Nintendo will attempt to fulfill our gaming wishes as they lay out the roadmap for the upcoming platform. While we have already covered the NX in previous articles in which we discuss what the console should be, we have not discussed the hurdles it will need to overcome if it turns out to indeed be the hybrid console we are now catching wind of. As expected, the Internet forums are filled with why the console will fail, however I want to offer the idea that if done right- the hybrid could actually succeed. Before you continue reading (if I haven’t already lost you), clear your mind of all previous assumptions and judgments of a console like this, and let’s consider the possibilities in front of us.
While many have said that they want to see Nintendo get back to “true console gaming” (whatever that means), we have to accept that after more than a decade of experiments (with some succeeding beyond expectations *cough* Wii *cough*) Nintendo obviously has no interest in trying to compete in the same space as Sony and Microsoft. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but life immediately gets better once you do. Now that we have all that out of the way, here are three moves that could really change the way that majority of people are looking at the forthcoming announcement, and bring back those that have lost faith in the Nintendo brand.
1.) Offer Solution to the Console/Handheld Separation
This seems the most obvious, but if you are going to give us a portably console, then make sure everything is on there. Offer the solution so that both past 3DS and DS games, along with the new games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild, are both supported on the platform day 1. No longer will we have to see the audience split on where they want to play tent pole franchises like Smash Bro’s, but instead all can exist on one platform and on one network. Now you don’t have to try and coordinate with your friends where they will buy the upcoming Mario Kart, since it will all be on the same box.
2.) Offer all the Classic Titles & Make them Affordable (Dammit!)
While the WiiU was promised to offer this feature, it has been an incredibly slow rollout of Nintendo classics- and all at a premium price. I understand that Nintendo probably organized this gradual rollout to help fill the long periods without major game releases- after all 3rd party support is almost non existent on the platform now- this cannot be an issue on the new system. If they come out saying that there is a back catalog of 150+ games with 20 more being added every month of Nintendo Classics from every era, then that will get the public’s attention. Just look at the response of the NES Classic Mini announcement- the demand is there, all they need to do is act on it.
3.) Work w/ 3rd Parties & Indie Studios alike
What is probably the most important aspect of the upcoming platform, is for Nintendo to re-establish the faith that they once had with outside developers. If it is one thing that the WiiU taught us, it was that Nintendo couldn’t succeed on their internal dev studio alone. While I think the reality of us getting a new Zelda, Mario, and Metroid in the first year of the consoles life cycle is looking more and more promising with each passing month as the WiiU is left out to die with no software- this could instead turn out to be what the PlayStation Vita had always aspired to be. Imagine being able to move from Zelda: Breath of the Wild to an indie title such as Severed in a matter of moments, and all on the bus ride to work- that is a future that I could live with.
Regardless of what the (hopefully near) future brings, Nintendo has got a lot of speculation and hype to live up to now. It’s time to get out in front of it all, and let the fans know why they should be excited for the upcoming platform. I have every ounce of faith in the house that Mario built, and their ability to stir things up and blindside us with some great announcements- all they need to do now is remind us why Nintendo is a household name.