The NXT step for Nintendo
Nintendo seems to be skipping 2016 entirely after dropping the 2017 launch for the NX. Skipping an E3 conference, we will be hearing from the company later than expected with a NX reveal conference set for later date this year as Nintendo is desperate not to repeat the past mistakes of the Wii U.
The reason for the 2017 release is unknown but based on what the new Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has revealed in the recent “Nintendo NX’s release” date and “Nintendo earnings release” event – it is clear that they want to have a good launch line up to cement the console.
Nintendo’s decision to not release a Nintendo Direct in time for, nor appear at, this year’s E3 suggests that the Wii-U is breathing its final, dusty breaths. As far as we know, all current development titles have been moved into the NX. Except for Legend of Zelda, which has been pushed back from a release this year on the Wii U to accommodate the NX launch.
There’s a lot of hype around the game after footage of it debuted at Nintendo’s E3 Direct, so moving it to support the NX makes a lot of sense. Eiji Anouma, series producer for the Legend of Zelda, has confirmed the unreleased title will change the series just as Ocarina of Time did, even going as far to say the new game will be as good as the fan favourite. Leaning on this as a launch title should attract enough attention towards the NX to avoid the previous mistakes of the Wii-U.
“We are predicting about 800,000 Wii U hardware sales in the fiscal year ending March 2017, which is a decrease of about 2.4 million units compared to the previous year,” Kimishima explained.
“NX and smart device business will be essential to cover this gap, but we also expect download content business to play a role. However, we are planning with the expectation that NX sales will compensate for much of the impact on sales from reduced Wii U hardware sales”
Other safe titles such as Super Smash Bros and Beyond Good and Evil 2 have been rumoured to join the NX shelf.
New quotes from an indie developer at USgamer has also stirred the rumor mill for hopes of Metroidvania Axiom Verge being ready in time for the NX launch on March 2017. The studio USgamer confirms the hopes to have the title ready.
“I got a piece of good news today that indicates I might be able to have Axiom Verge ready for NX at launch… but basically that was as far as my source even knew,” their blog reads.
The manufacturing partner of Nintendo Macronix, the company which produces the 3DS and DS ROM chips, has also let it slip that they are apparently preparing for some large scale growth near the end of the year. Could this mean a move back to cartridges? With a new line of 32nm ROM chips as well as the Nintendo NX update means we could be seeing a console without an optical drive.
With the Wii U launch Nintendo went wrong on a few fronts; it had a poor reveal conference, practically no launch games and lack of games for a long time after. The Wii lacked in power but it was still approachable, whereas the Wii U had neither and failed to appeal to either the ‘hardcore’ audience from other markets and their own audience of light and fun casual gameplay.
The NX may have some issues of its own to overcome. Fans are uneasy with the change Nintendo has been undergoing with the move into mobile games, like Miitomo that debuted April 1st.
How the NX showcases itself will be the biggest factor. If they attempt to appeal to the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 owners there could be a concern that Nintendo is losing its own character to appeal to the masses. However, on the other hand, if the rumors are true and the NX attempts another console/handheld combination like the Wii U then it may also be signaling the end of the 3DS system.