by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s turned out to be a strange year of sorts for followers of Nintendo – it appears to be one of the final years in which we’ll see new software produced and sold for their Wii U console, and, as it currently seems, another year without much information on what will be succeeding the machine. The NX – a title bestowed upon the company’s next home console that has yet to be confirmed as its official name – has been shrouded in mystery for considerable time, and with further information supposedly due in October this year, many fans are starting to lose faith as we drift towards mid-month.
There is no doubt that the NX will be a big deal for Nintendo. The Japanese firm exceeded all expectations with their ground-breaking and wide-selling Wii console a decade ago, yet their follow-up system, the Wii U, has failed to follow exactly in its footsteps. There could be many reasons for this – industry insiders in their varying forms suggest marketing problems, the gimmicky nature of the console’s touchscreen controller, and a lack of strong enough third-party support for the platform to be considered a legitimate rival against Sony and Microsoft’s big guns. As it stands, Nintendo really need to pull something big out of the bag for their next home release.
Perhaps, as some sources state, this is why there is such secrecy – with a March 2017 release date having floated around for some time, the clock is ticking as to when hype for the console can be built up – and, as yet, we don’t really know too much about what it will look like, what games will appear in its launch roster, nor its capabilities. Various rumors and supposed leaks suggest that the console’s standard controller may double as a removable device that can be used to play games on the move – cleverly linking mobile and home gaming together – which will be something of a game-changer for the industry. Certainly, while the rest of the industry is keen to push ahead with virtual reality, it appears that Nintendo is yet again willing to try something a little different.
Always the innovator, Nintendo’s creations have sometimes let them down with regard to the console wars in recent years – arguably, the Wii U was perhaps taken less seriously and less-developed for than other platforms – meaning that this time, as and when Nintendo chooses to reveal the NX to the world, they’re going to need to produce a system that appeals to mass audiences as well as re-invent the wheel. Can they do it? Let’s wait and see…