On March 17th, 2015 Satoru Iwata (then director and president of Nintendo) and Isao Moriyasu (President and CEO of DeNA) announced an alliance between Nintendo and DeNA that would see use of the Nintendo IP in mobile gaming. Given the direction of mobile gaming and the inverse direction of Nintendo’s profits, a partnership of this nature was not unexpected. However, hidden amongst what would ultimately become a 5-page transcript was a gem that could herald the coming of the ninth generation of video game consoles.
“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the 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 is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year”– Satoru Iwata, March 17th 2015
It was merely a sidenote in this ‘Business and Capital Alliance Announcement’ but one which has resulted in a flurry of speculation and expectation online and IRL (for the few who still interact with that platform).
In this series of articles, I aim to delve through the chronicles of the 2015 web, sorting fact from fiction in an effort to understand what is next for the “NX”.
Only information divulged by Nintendo employees in interviews or official announcements and statements can be deemed accurate and be relied upon as truth. In part 1, I will examine the information from these sources in an effort to outline what is known (as opposed to assumed) about the “NX”.
- Nintendo are hard at work on their next home console.
The announcement by Satoru Iwata on March 17th gave no clue as to whether the dedicated game platform codenamed the “NX” would be a home console, mobile device or some kind of hybrid. However, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on June 18th, 2015 (“Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime talks Amiibo and the ‘Skylanders’ Deal”), COO and President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime stated “We’ve also said publicly that we are already hard at work on our next home console and that’s another element we’ll be talking about much later.”
The only public announcement pertaining to any console was Iwata’s brief mention of the “NX,” so it can be presumed that the home console Fils-Aime is referring to is the “NX”. That is not to say that the “NX” could be not a hybrid device.
- Detailed information on the “NX” will only be made available once the console is close to completion or a prototype is ready for display; sometime in 2016.
At the 75th Annual General Meeting of shareholders Q&A on June 25th, 2015, Satoru Iwata provided some information about the release date of the “NX”. He stated:
“When Nintendo announced the collaboration with DeNA on March 17 of this year, I mentioned that Nintendo is currently developing a new dedicated video game system codenamed “NX.” The reason I mentioned this was, at that time, there were more than a certain number of people that thought that Nintendo would give up on the dedicated game system business and concentrate on smart device application development, or that Nintendo should take that path. In addition, such tone could be seen frequently through the media. I felt it was necessary to communicate that Nintendo is not pessimistic about the future of the dedicated game system business but rather more and more eager to continue it. On the other hand, details on the new platform essentially should come later. This is because the entertainment business has an aspect where there is value in surprising consumers. It is not convincing enough to the consumer if we describe how the magic works before actually showing it to them and then expecting them to be surprised or delighted. Having the element of surprise or doing the unexpected is the premise for introducing new ideas and having them welcomed with surprise. That is why I have been repeatedly saying that the next news on NX will not be announced during 2015 but will be announced in 2016.”
At the very least it can be ascertained that Nintendo will not make any announcements about the “NX” until a working model or prototype has been developed, and that this will be sometime during 2016.
- The “NX” will be unlike the Wii or WiiU.
On December 3rd, 2015, Time Magazine published an exclusive interview with current Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima (’14 things Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima told us’). When asked about the “NX”, Tatsumi Kimishima stated: “I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or WiiU. It’s something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base.”
Oh, thank god we’re not going to see a WiiZ.
- “NX” is definitely a codename at this stage.
In the same interview, Tatsumi Kimishima was published as saying: “As for the codename NX, I don’t believe that there’s any real meaning behind it, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know where it came from.”
If we take a look back to 2006, before it was unveiled as the (questionably named) Wii, the codename for said console was ‘Revolution’. Much preferable actually. In fact, use that name for this console please.
- Nintendo’s ‘dedicated video game platform business’ (of which the “NX” is a part) will interact with Nintendo’s ventures into the ‘smart device gaming business.’
In a message to Nintendo’s investors and shareholders on December 28th of 2015, Tatsumi Kimishima noted that, “For our dedicated video game platform business, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed “NX” with a brand-new concept and our unique software-led hardware-software integrated business will continue to constitute the core business for Nintendo.”
“For the purpose of maximizing the population that interact with Nintendo IP, we will also enter into the smart device gaming business and aim to generate revenue and profit from it as well as to create synergy with the dedicated video game platform business.”
When it came to the “NX”, Nintendo’s company line was ‘find out more in 2016’ and every employee sang the same tune flawlessly. Any information about the “NX” additional to that provided above was likely sourced from an industry insider, friend of a friend of a friend, or Jimmy’s estranged uncle who works as a translator at Nintendo (i.e. treat with caution). Coincidentally, that kind of information happens to be the topic of What’s NeXt for Nintendo? “Part 2: The Speculation,” in which we take a look at information from third parties, and we presume until our hearts are content (when we reach 99 hearts, naturally).