Nintendo failed with the Wii U. There’s just no nice way to put it; even with games like Splatoon, it’s been too little, too late. So they’re moving on, to the Nintendo NX, which is sounding… well, it’s sounding very much like a Nintendo console.
The Wall Street Journal has a full breakout of where the system is at, and intriguingly, it sounds like you’ll be getting both a console and a handheld in the package. They’re also making a bid to get back on the radar of major third-party publishers:
People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U’s capabilities didn’t match those of competitors.
I speculated previously that the NX would be a smartphone, and this seems to bear that out to some degree. Think about the Wii U, for a minute; it’s designed to allow both console gamers and smartphone fans to game the way they want to in the living room. Being able to take the GamePad on the road in of itself would be a useful feature… especially if that GamePad can stream your game library.
That said, I can see a few hurdles for Nintendo, not the least of which is that bridges don’t get more burned than they do between it and third-party publishers. It’s hard to see even a killer system luring more than token development unless Nintendo has a massive hit right out of the gate. Similarly, although Nintendo is warming to online stores and the Internet, the way it releases older games and refuses to embrace features like voice chat are still… idiosyncratic, especially considering you can get away with pretty much anything you draw on your GamePad short of actual boobies. I’m not sure how they’d handle the idea of game streaming, or how they’d execute it even if they did embrace it.
Still, never ever count out Nintendo: It’s survived the worst the video game industry has to throw at it, and it’s still minting money. Development kits for the NX are going out now, so we should hear more about this console soon.