There isn’t a bigger fan of Nintendo that’s kept away from its consoles longer than I have. My love affair with the company blossomed through the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64 and came to hit a wall with the Nintendo GameCube. The Wii was already on its way out when I came back to console gaming. The Wii U had a few exclusives I wanted to try, but not enough to justify purchasing the console and the game that I wanted to play. By the time I was ready, the launch of the Nintendo NX was already something Nintendo was talking about publicly.
My hope is that the Nintendo NX will be a juggernaut. I don’t think that I’m alone either. Microsoft and Sony have been at the top of the heap for years; the time for a radical shift in allegiances feels right to me.
Here’s what I’m hoping the Nintendo NX brings to the table.
I Want a Better Controller for the Nintendo NX
For two consecutive generations of consoles, Nintendo has tried to bring natural ways of interacting with technology to the living room. With the Wii it was gestures. The Wii U had touch. I didn’t think that the latter was great, but the Wii had the right idea about things. Problem was, only Nintendo could produce a game that took advantage of the Wiimote well, it seemed.
Nintendo learned from its mistakes with the included controllers by the time Super Smash Bros for Wii U debuted, luckily. It packaged a pro controller with a version of the game. It had a pretty good idea that no one wanted to play a brawler with that massive tablet. This isn’t a mistake that the company should have to learn again. Natural user interfaces are great for the masses, but rotten for the kind of gaming that gets folks willing to spend $60 every few weeks in GameStop. This new console needs a controller that relies on buttons, not natural user interfaces.
Sure, the company could and should attempt to innovate somehow, but not at the expense of the core gaming experience. We need buttons, bumpers and joysticks on this new device.
I Want More Power from the Nintendo NX
Ultimately, what kept me from purchasing the Nintendo Wii U the moment Splatoon arrived was hardware. Developers clearly felt that the Wii U didn’t have enough power to go toe-to-toe with the Xbox One and PS4. They didn’t bother spending the money to backport their games either, leaving shoppers in a very awkward place.
I know plenty of people that want more than one entertainment console. I’m not among their ranks. When I purchase something, I want to be able to replace whatever it was that did its job before. In the Wii U’s case, I needed it to have enough third-party support that I could consider replacing the second Xbox One I keep in my office for media apps and the occasional game session.
Gamers pretty much got left in a situation that demanded two consoles for the latest titles. The Nintendo NX should be aimed at all kinds of gamers, from those that want yet another Mario Kart to those that want to play the latest Ubisoft titles after they tire of Mario Kart.
Differentiation is great, but you’ve got to meet the bare minimum expectation with the Nintendo NX. My expectation is that anything I pay more than $300 be able to play the same games that other expensive consoles can. I feel as if others have that same expectation.
I Want a Reason to Invest in the Entire Nintendo Ecosystem
Early on, there was talk of the Nintendo NX being a replacement for the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS. The rumor went that Nintendo would launch the Nintendo NX as a living room console. Later it would introduce a handheld device that connected to the console somehow.
With rumors of a Nintendo MX handheld console coming, that rumor seems to have been false. It’s a shame, because I’d have loved it. Just think of what such an arrangement would have made possible. Everyone that considered buying a Wii U was probably a little less interested the day they found out they couldn’t take the game pad with them.
Nintendo’s strength is in mobile right now. I don’t think it’s a bad idea for the company to be on the lookout for ways to leverage that advantage in the living room space.
Of course, this is a personal list. I’d bet that the requests of lots of other potential buyers would match with these, but that’s not what I’m aiming for. What we can all agree on is how important it is for Nintendo to stabilize its presence in the living room and nail the Nintendo NX release next year. Mobile gaming is huge, but lots of money is still in the living room console space.
Nintendo expects to launch the Nintendo NX in March of 2017.