There is nothing like the announcement of a new console. The speculation as to what’s going to be new and the anticipation of how it will top the last model are all part of the process. But what if the feelings are more one of concern? Nintendo, the Japanese-based video game giant behind the likes of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, redefined gaming in the ’80s and ’90s but in the last few years has been losing money.
The company’s current console, the Wii U, had a slight boost in sales in 2015 thanks to Splatoon and Super Mario Maker, but is still slugging along in the last place of the console wars. This, along with Nintendo Direct’s increased focus on on the company’s 3DS lineup, makes it difficult for loyal Nintendo fans not be worried about what’s coming next on the home console front in the form of the NX.
Rumors and potential designs of the NX have been flooding the Internet for the last year. In late 2015, designs of a touch-screen gamepad surfaced with a similar concept to that of some smart phone games – where the main action buttons are part of the screen. This news was soon followed by a rumored holiday 2016 launch for the console, which could be announced at E3 this summer. In addition, there has been all kinds of speculation as to the power of the new console, as well as rumors of new social capabilities and a big emphasis on the use of Bluetooth.
The latest bit of speculation to come from the rumor mill is that the NX may have gesture controls reminiscent of Microsoft’s Kinect – an underwhelming and underutilized feature the Xbox developer has since abandoned. According to patent filings discovered by a NeoGAF user, it appears Nintendo’s new system has “both gesture recognition software as well as some kind of distance measuring capabilities” and “includes an infrared camera and GPS tracking.”
If the designs presented are genuine, it gives a general idea of where Nintendo is heading with the NX. Having introduced mainstream motion controls with the Wiimote back in 2006, this seems to be another attempt to build on that style of gaming experience. Nintendo may well be attempting to replicate the success of the Wii, where the motion controls drew in more casual gamers. However, while this was a success in the short term, Nintendo was unable to capitalize on their achievement with the Wii U GamePad. Critics and analysits have stated the company didn’t fully utilize the console’s unique capabilities and didn’t complement the controller with first party games in the best way possible. The few good Wii U games – like the Mario titles – could be played just as easily and enjoyably with a classic controller, meaning the Wii U-specific GamePad didn’t add to the overall gaming experience. It is no wonder then that third party software exclusive to PS4 and Xbox One have mostly steered clear of the current console.
Nevertheless, the gesture-based control scheme is still just a rumor. Perhaps the tech will not just be used for novelty, but for something genuinely fun and creative. Here’s hoping that whatever Nintendo has planned, it is used to directly complement and benefit the first party games — especially if the new Zelda is going to have a joint Wii U-NX release.
There is no current release date for the Nintendo NX. Screen Rant will have more information regarding the system as it is made available.