Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 video game consoles aren’t yet feeling the heat from sales of Nintendo’s consoles and games, but that could change after next year. This morning the Japanese video game giant announced the Nintendo NX, a next generation video game console that it plans to launch in the not too distant future to take on rival consoles.
Nintendo CEO revealed the existence of the NX during a speaking engagement this morning, according to transcripts on its site. Called the Business and Capital Alliance Announcement, Satoru Iwata was there to reveal more about Nintendo’s plans to embrace mobile devices. Iwata highlighted the Nintendo NX because he didn’t want Nintendo’s traditional fan base getting worried that the company wasn’t committed to the markets it already has a hand in saying, “As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX’.
It’s not really that surprising that Nintendo would have a follow-up to the Nintendo Wii U already in the works. Video game consoles take years of development and planning. Things are usually set in stone years before we actually seem the finished product on store shelves. The problem is that in revealing the existence of the Nintendo NX publicly, Nintendo might have made the worst mistake it could leading up to a new product launch.
When anyone is spending as much money as it takes to buy something like the Wii U, they want to know that it’ll have a long life. They want to see a calendar filled with games and new releases to keep getting the most out of their purchase. What’s more, they want to know that what they’re buying right now is the best they can get for their money. In revealing the existence of the Nintendo NX Iwata could have destroyed any hope of Wii U console sales recovering in a big way.
Nintendo’s audience is dedicated. They stay on the look out for the next exciting titles and announcements from the gaming giant. Now that Nintendo NX is publicly known, they might be more likely to hang on to their money rather than keep investing in software titles for the Wii U. What’s worse, Nintendo may find that anyone well-informed enough to read today’s news won’t purchase a Wii U now either. Even if they were on the fence, or planning to do so in the near future.
To his credit, Iwata doesn’t go into detail about the Nintendo NX. He immediately moves on after acknowledging that it is too early in the development cycle to share details about the Nintendo DX. He does say that Nintendo expects to share more about it next year. The real question is going to be what new “concept” Nintendo is focusing on with the Nintendo NX.
We think of mainstream gaming as set-top boxes with wireless or wired controllers. Nintendo hasn’t made a console like that since the GameCube. Instead of focusing on graphics and raw horsepower, the company has instead introduce new paradigms to the gaming industry. These new ways of gaming allow Nintendo to offer something that no other hardware maker can.
For the Wii, it was motion gaming and the Wiimote. The Wiimote allows users to swing their arms or move around in their game. The Wii spawned an entire generation of games that focused on natural user interfaces and made it easier than ever for anyone to play a Wii game. It sold very well, but sales slowed as Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 caught on and third-party video game makers didn’t embrace the console.
The Wii U has better graphics than the Wii. Gamers can still use older Wiimote controllers with the system, but it’s concept is it’s WiiPad. The WiiPad is giant wireless tablet with controller buttons that lets users see the items in their inventory or get real-time in-game statistics. Unfortunately, only one of the controllers can be used at a time.
The Wii U is on store selves now for $299.99 from GameStop.