Nintendo’s next generation console, codenamed the NX, might be closer than you think based on recent rumours. Over the last week, there have been rumours about everything from what form the NX will take, how much it will cost, when we might see it, how powerful it will be and what Nintendo is planning to put on it.
The rumours about the NX have long discussed whether it will be a handheld unit, a traditional console or somewhere in between. Nintendo itself has referred to the device as a hybrid between handheld and console. That made people think that while it could connect to a TV and use controllers, it was capable of giving you the same gaming experience on the road.
An analyst report from Macquarie Capital Securities suggests that the NX will be two separate devices. There will be a handheld NX device that will be released this fall but it will be followed by an NX console in 2017. They’ve also pegged the handheld at a $200 price tag. While they didn’t price the console, one would imagine that it can’t be too far off if Nintendo wants to compete with the Xbox One and PS4’s recent price drops and have the console and handheld as companion devices.
Recent reports also suggest that the NX will allow seamless or near seamless transitions between playing on the NX handheld and the NX console. An apparent leaked Nintendo survey suggests that they are at the very least targeting gameplay that “flows between Nintendo NX console and Nintendo NX handheld device.” I imagine someone in Sony’s PlayStation Vita department read that and thought “that’s what we needed the PS3 or PS4 to do with the Vita.” Granted, it’s not like Ninty needed that to sell the 3DS.
In terms of power, whether Nintendo has set lofty or low goals might depend on how you interpret the survey. They are targeting 4K and 60 FPS streaming video output from the console which might make it a pretty good Netflix box if it’s priced right.
The other interesting note from the survey is that they are targeting gameplay running at 900p resolution and 60 FPS. Now, there are a few ways to interpret that. Considering that not many games on current-gen hardware hit 60 FPS, this could be a minimum standard that Nintendo is targeting for their hardware and hoping games can do better than that so the hardware has to match the power of the PS4/XB1. It could be a hoped for target but Nintendo has been pretty good about beating it with its games on the Wii U. Or you could look at it as a hard target of hit 900p at 60 FPS and tweak the graphics to hit that without going over or under the mark.
If Nintendo is putting together console hardware that will guarantee 900p at 60 FPS (with the framerate being harder to hit than the resolution if the PS4 and XB1 are anything to go by), that could very well put them back into favour with the big publishers. Their alleged problem with the Nintendo hardware of late is that it’s been underpowered. If the NX is built to output similar resolutions to current consoles at higher framerates, that complaint is sure to disappear and we might see a Nintendo console with a third-party library again.
The other interesting hardware rumour is that the NX will somehow interface with other devices. Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki tweeted that the NX could “work with smartphones, PCs and even rival consoles such as PlayStation 4.”
The question becomes what the heck that means. I have not seen even the start of an explanation for what the could mean. The only thing that makes logical sense is if the NX console acts as a sort of video streaming device from your mobile device or PC to a TV or if the NX Handheld could do the same in your hands like the Wii U’s gamepad.
There are a lot of interesting rumours circulating about what the NX could be but we don’t know what it will be. It could be just about anything based on these rumours. Nintendo is going to have a lot of explaining to do when its ready to unveil the NX.