Much of the modern console market is caught somewhere between flux and holding-pattern, with Microsoft taking a potential risk on the optional-powerhouse of the 4K-enabled Project Scorpio, Sony rolling out an upgraded PlayStation 4 well ahead of expectations and everyone waiting to see what actually becomes of the new Virtual Reality push; the eyes of the industry have now turned to Nintendo to see what becomes of their “NX” console. The mysterious device, rumored to fuse mobile and console gaming into one market, is the hope of many gamers looking to see the old-school standard-bearer return to prominence after disappointing sales of the Wii U.
Now, a new volley of rumors have landed which may paint the clearest picture yet of what the Nintendo NX may actually be; teasing a potential revolution for home and mobile gaming.
Citing unnamed industry sources close to various levels of NX development, Eurogamer has filed a story claiming to reaffirm long-held gaming-biz speculation that the NX is indeed a mobile/console hybrid that intends to eliminate the line between Nintendo’s handheld and console gaming product lines. Such a concept had been speculated on even before the NX was officially announced thanks to the design of the Wii U console, which utilized a “gamepad” controller with a built-in screen that, in effect, could function as a handheld console – but only within a limited range of the base-unit.
While earlier rumors had suggested a handheld that could “stream” to an HDTV or unify with a separate base-unit for HDTV presentation and a power boost, the new rumors suggest something at once more compact yet more technologically ambitious: An extra-powerful handheld console comparable to current-gen home-unit specs (utilizing Nvidia’s new powerful Tegra mobile-processor) possibly featuring a tablet-inspired design which can be detached from it’s joystick/button components and docked to a television in order to present its games in HD-size – essentially transforming it into a traditional console.
Of special note particularly to the retro-gaming community that has been among Nintendo’s most loyal consumer supporters is the additional rumor that the unit will forego the use of disc or downloads for its software and instead rely on a form proprietary memory cards. While not a surprising decision for a handheld, if true this decision would effectively make the Nintendo NX (in its “docked” console form) the first major market home console to use game cartridges since the Nintendo 64 in the 1990s. In a similar vein, Nintendo recently announced the official release of a self-contained “Mini” version of their original NES Console for Holiday 2016.
The NX is not expected to be backwards compatible with either Wii U or Wii game software, but there has been no solid information as to whether or not it will retain functionality with the existing Virtual Console game-download and social-media services available on the Wii U and 3Ds consoles. No hard release date outside of “March 2017” has been confirmed, though the new rumors also hint at an official reveal of the device in September of this year.