(I shouldn’t need to point this out, but just in case there’s any confusion, this is a fictional news story based on my own concept for the direction I’d like Nintendo to go in with the NX)
15th June 2016 – Nintendo today announced its next home console, the Nintendo U, due for release in Japan before the year’s out. ‘NX’ was just a codename, it seems.
Prior to the console’s official début, there’d been much speculation regarding what form it might take. While many had expected a Wii or Wii U style twist on traditional console input, Nintendo have done exactly the opposite and gone for a GameCube-style purity of essene. There’s not a wand, camera in sight with the U, just a console and a pretty run-of-the-mill controller. It’s weird how excited I am about that.
Little has been revealed in terms of the technical capabilities, but we do know that Nintendo have followed Sony and Microsoft’s lead, tasking AMD with creating a bespoke, low power consumption processor and graphics solution. Given the amount of current gen ports heading in the U’s direction, plus the footage we’ve seen of the new Mario and Zelda games, it’s probably safe to assume the console is at least in its competitors’ ballpark.
Nintendo Network has been overhauled to bring functionality mostly in line with that of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. The eShop has simply been rebranded the ‘Nintendo Store’ presumably because calling anything an ‘e-thing’ nowadays sounds a bit old fashioned and gimmicky. The company is still dragging its heels on full chat support though, as it’s only available to Nintendo Account holders over 18. You can’t wrap ‘em in cotton wool forever, Ninty.
Also, Nintendo fans will finally get to experience the giddy thrill of ‘chieve hunting, by accumulating ‘Nintendo Stars’. Not to be confused with the pseudo-currency that used to be given away with purchases of Nintendo products and could be exchanged for various idols of fandom, they look and function in exactly the way you’d expect.
In terms of launch titles, we know that the new Zelda is coming to the U and Wii U at launch, in addition to Retro Studios’ Super Metroid Prime, a full 3D remake of the revered SNES original, and Mario Kart 9, but we don’t know what third parties will offer up as yet. We can probably expect the U to be furnished with 2016’s obligatory instalments of Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, FIFA et al, both when it drops and going forward, given the industry’s obvious enthusiasm for the console. I share their excitement – it’s great to see Nintendo back in the big leagues.
‘U’ in an excellent moniker for the device. Not only does it imply a transition – from Wii to Wii U to U – but also rolls off the tongue. Try it now – ‘coming to Nintendo U, this fall’, ‘yeah, I’ve got it for the U’. Sounds ‘ right’, just like ‘Xbox’ or ‘PS4’, doesn’t it? Which is surely the point.
There’s not a lot to dislike here. Nintendo have resisted the temptation to try and force innovation onto a skeptical and stuck-in-its-ways worldwide playerbase which has voted with its feet as regards Kinect, Playstation Move and, regrettably, the Wii U. They’ve realised that the runaway success of the Wii was largely down to it being in the right place at the right time, at the right price point, and that spending time and Yen trying to make lightning strike twice is foodhardly.
Nintendo have not only chosen to make a console that will allow their priceless first party IPs to speak for themselves – gimmick free – but also created a viable platform for multi-format releases, which is far more important than many people realise. The U should be out in Japan by the 31st of December this year, with the rest of the world to follow in early 2017.