Nintendo’s NX console has been highly anticipated among the company’s fans, and with E3 just having concluded, many were hoping to hear a few more tidbits about the upcoming game system. Unfortunately, Nintendo didn’t elaborate on its plans, though at least one executive let slip a few morsels – and the news isn’t good.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo America’s president reiterated some of what the company mentioned before: the Nintendo NX would be launching in the first part of 2017 and that the console is entirely designed around gaming.
Sticking true to Nintendo’s modus operandi, Fils-Aime also mentioned that the Nintendo NX “is not about specs”. Two times now, Nintendo has put out underpowered consoles compared to its rivals, and it looks like this generation will follow suite. With both the Sony PlayStation Neo and the Xbox Scorpio, coming out next year and being geared towards powerful graphics, Nintendo fans may once again be left behind. Fils-Aime said:
For us, it's not about specs, it's not about teraflops, it's not about the horsepower of a particular system. For us, it's about the content. Nintendo is a content focused company, we create content that makes people smile.
So for us we're focused on bringing our best entertainment to both the Wii U as well as the NX in the future. So for us, whatever Microsoft and Sony are doing in terms of talking about new systems, that's for them to fight out in that red ocean.
The company has two previous experiences with putting out underpowered hardware: the Nintendo Wii sold incredibly well and was an instant hit, despite both the Xbox 360 and PS3 being more powerful; meanwhile the Nintendo Wii U floundered and was mostly ignored by the gaming community, which opted en masse for Sony’s PlayStation 4.
The original Wii, despite being underpowered, sold so well because it introduced a brand new mode of gaming, using motion controls to entice gamers. The Wii U failed precisely because it did not introduce any such element, instead having to compete on “classic” console traits. The upcoming Nintendo NX is described as “an entirely new idea” so it’ll be interesting to see which way things will go this time around.
Another aspect worth mentioning, that Fils-Aime touched on, was VR support. Both Sony and Microsoft are banking heavily on the nascent field of VR with Playstation VR coming this October while Xbox Scorpio will also be supporting virtual reality. So how does Nintendo plan to integrate VR into the NX? It’s not at all clear that it will. Fils-Aime said:
We've been looking at the VR space since the days of the Virtual Boy. With us, we want to make sure our next content is going to be mainstream, mass-market approachable, and when something like VR is at that point, you can expect Nintendo to be there.
At best the company wants to say that it, with the NX, will be one to finally popularize VR, like it did with motion controls with the Wii. Either that or the company is looking to give virtual reality a skip with this generation of consoles.
In either case, we’re less than a year away until the Nintendo NX’s launch and we’re bound to find out more about the console until then.