Nintendo NX: More Answers, More Questions

Eurogamer has delivered the news we’ve all expected.  The Nintendo NX will be a portable device that will be able to dock and connect to your TV when you are at home.  Apparently, the goal of the console is not to bring in hardcore PS4 and Xbox One gamers.  Instead, Nintendo is hoping they can still capture the market that moved on to smartphones after the Wii’s decline.  According to IGN, “One source says that the console’s power sits between a PS3 and PS4, and that Nintendo’s intention is to ‘upgrade’ smartphone gamers, rather than draw fans away from the PS4 and Xbox One”.In addition to this news, video game websites are reporting that Nintendo is preparing some premier first party content for the release of the console.  Indeed, a new Pokémon game as well as a Mario title will be released along with The Legend of Zelda within the first six months of the console’s release, if rumors are to be believed.  The reports also claim that Nintendo has already garnered third party support from Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Activision and Warner Bros.It is important to note that most of these companies released content on the Wii U during its first 6 months on the market.  In those cases, there were some brand new and interesting titles (ZombiU).  However, most of its content during that time were ports of titles that released earlier on other consoles such as AC III, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.  In light of this fact, one can hope that Nintendo is making a conscious effort to get brand new, interesting content to their new console.  With the billions of dollars that Nintendo still has in the bank, I would hope that they would be willing to offset the cost of releasing new content for these publishers.  This would be a great gesture of good faith that would benefit the console in the long run.Admittedly, I feel better about the NX today than I did one week ago.  Whether the new NX succeeds or fails, it would seem that Nintendo is less tone deaf than they were last generation.  Don’t get me wrong, I still wish the company was a little more focused on graphics in order to further incentivize developers to make new games on the NX.  I’m still one of the few left that still hopes for a more powerful device than the rumors suggest.However, it’s clear that Nintendo is very conscious of a few more things this time around.  The Wii U era has been a dark time for Nintendo lovers like me.  I still remember that first year of the consoles life just sitting there waiting for games to play.  Luckily for me, I had third party titles to play on the Wii U because I deliberately held out from playing games like Assassin’s Creed III, Batman, and Darksiders when they were released on other platforms.  I stubbornly held out because I wanted to play these games on a Nintendo device.  And, for those that know me, those were titles that were very difficult for me to wait on.With everything we know today about the console, there are still things left unanswered.  What is the true level of graphical parity?  Will developers still shy away from putting the hardcore titles on the device due to these constraints?  If the NX manages to sell 10 million consoles in the first year, publishers like Activision shouldn’t have much choice.  Let’s not forget, the Wii carried all the Call of Duty titles up to Modern Warfare 3 and the Wii U had Call of Duty: Ghosts and Black Ops 2.We still know nothing about online functionality and how the device interfaces.  It is very reasonable to assume that the gaming community will not tolerate another Nintendo device that lags behind PlayStation and Xbox with online tech.  The online has to work.  More importantly, it has to be easy to use.  Nintendo cannot afford to get this wrong for another generation.  Additionally, I’ve purchased the classic Mario Titles countless times (because I’m easy).  For every digital game you’ve purchase on Nintendo platforms over the years, it would be nice if those games could simply transfer to the new platform.  C’mon Nintendo, let us keep our games.  This would be a tremendous sign of good will to its loyal fan base.Finally, Nintendo’s messaging has to be on point.  For better or worse, the Wii U walked out of E3 with people not sure about what they had just seen.  “Was it an attachment to the Wii?”  “Was it a new console?”  Indeed, Nintendo had a lot of trouble explaining to the public what this new product was.  As it stands, it looks like the NX is going to be easy to explain.  However, it is important for Nintendo to not repeat the same mistakes on messaging.So there you have it.  Is Nintendo’s NX a day one buy for you?  Or, do you need to wait and see?  Let us know what you think in the comments and check out our “Weekly Games Chat” for more discussion on Nintendo NX.  Game On!!

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