During the summer of 2015, Nintendo announced that it would be breaking into the mobile market and creating games for phones.
In this same breath, they reassured fans that they would not leave console players behind. They revealed the codename of their in-development system that would be released in the near future: NX.
But more than a year later we still have no idea what the NX is. Nintendo hasn't given any updates and all the information we have is thanks to Internet leaks. All of the sources contain similar information, however, lending credence to the details. But even without these tantalizing morsels of what the future of Nintendo holds, I would be excited about the NX. But the rumors certainly make my excitement much more palatable.
Let me start off with the basics. What do the rumors say the NX will be? Well, Nintendo is reportedly developing a device that will meld their handheld and home console markets. What this means is that you will no longer have to buy both a Wii U and a 3DS to play all of Nintendo's games. Every title will be available for the NX and they can be played in the comfort of your home or on the go.
This is apparently possible thanks to a docking station. You'll insert some portion of the console into a base to play on the TV and then clip on controller attachments in order to bring the game with you as you explore the world outside. The games will also run in a nearly identical resolution in both modes, ensuring that there is no discrepancy.
I know. This sounds almost too good to be true. But if it is true, then Nintendo will be leading a gaming revolution that blurs the lines between mobile and console gaming. The system will use cartridges much like the 3DS and the controller sections that can be removed from the screen to play on the TV can also be fitted together to form a smaller controller for couch play.
If everything here is to be believed and it can be carried out in a thoughtful and sturdy manner, then the NX is everything I've ever wanted out of a Nintendo system. But the reason I'm so excited for this still hypothetical box is extremely simple.
The very first video game system I ever received was a Gameboy Advance SP, while the second was a Nintendo GameCube. From a very young age, the bright color, intriguing characters, gorgeous graphics, and rock-solid gameplay of Nintendo titles captivated me. And still today, many of my favorite games are on Nintendo systems.
The company may not have sold as many copies of the Wii U as it might have liked, but I still picked up and played every major title that graced the system, and I'll continue to be a Nintendo fanboy till the day I die. But there has always been a very clear disconnect between their handheld and console offerings.
The graphics on the handhelds were always a generation or two behind consoles, but beyond that, the systems never connected or interacted in any meaningful way. The first signs that this was changing came with the 3DS and Wii U, but nothing ever came out of it. With the NX, players won't have to decide whether or not they want to buy a handheld or a console, or pick and choose which games they want to play on either system. Everything will be under one roof.
When “The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild” releases in 2017 for Wii U and NX, I wouldn't be surprised if the Wii U sales can't keep up with those of the NX. Sure, people will have to buy a whole new console to play the game, but the convenience of being able to take the title away from the television and have no difference in graphics or controls is too good to ignore.
While some people may not like the idea of having all of their games on a series of carts when CDs exist, if the system is going to be part handheld, then you need a form factor that can be taken on the go easily. Based on the rumors, Nintendo has put a great deal of thought into this device.
They surely know that this is one of their last chances to make a mark on the industry, so they are going all-in. This also means that franchises that are typically marooned on either handhelds or consoles will get the chance to experience every game in Nintendo's portfolio.
Pokémon will be accessible from the living room and the backseat of a car. The newest Mario game can be beaten anywhere in the world. Everything that the NX is rumored to do just draws me in more and more. Out of any of the big video game publishers, Nintendo is the one I would want making this move.
They have a large selection of properties that are malleable and diverse enough to serve as portable and console experiences. And if the system is just slightly less powerful than the PS4, they can upgrade it every couple of years in order to make sure that the fidelity and functions are up to snuff. Nintendo might never have to create an entirely different idea from the NX, just continue to build upon and improve the base concept.
There is an insane amount of promise behind the NX, if everything turns out to be true, which seems more than likely because of the number of sources that have corroborated the same information. And playing Nintendo games on the go isn't the most exciting thing about it. If third-party publishers get behind the system and port their games, then we can play “Call of Duty” on the go, take “Assassin's Creed” anywhere, and check in on our favorite sports titles wherever we want.
The NX reveal event is rumoured to take place sometime in September and then release in March 2017. We don't have long to wait until all the pieces come together to form a cohesive picture, we just have to wait and see what kind of picture it'll be.
Matthew Herst is a Carleton University communications student, video game journalist and Sudbury.com’s resident geek writer. Yeah, this guy loves video games. Besides Sudbury.com, you can also find his work on TheNerdStash.com. Follow him on Twitter @supergurst.