A number of sources have recently revealed many of the specifications for Nintendo’s “NX” console, expected to be the next Nintendo home console and a successor to the Wii U, to Eurogamer in an article published today. Alongside this was revealed that the NX may attempt to blur the lines between home and handheld gaming, a concept that may be core to its design.
Nintendo’s consoles for many years now have been very notable for how they differ from other consoles due to their respective “gimmicks” – the Wii’s motion controllers, the DS’s touch screen, and now, according to this report, the NX’s ability to perform as both a hand-held and stationary home gaming console. According to the recent leak, the NX will feature its own integrated screen to function as a mobile device, as well as feature controllers that may be attached or detached to and from both sides of the console. Once at home, the ‘brain of the NX – within the controller’ may be connected to your TV via a docking station, allowing it to function as a standard in-home gaming console.
Though this would be a very unconventional design, Nintendo’s willingness to distance itself from home gaming consoles may somewhat be a logical one as the Wii U’s sales have drastically paled in comparison to those of the 3DS. According to the leak, the NX will use Nvidia’s Tegra X1, a chip designed for mobile use, as its CPU. While there may be concern that this design choice will deliver a sub-standard home gaming experience due to the use of less powerful mobile hardware, Nintendo may be using the popularity of handheld to once more gain a foothold in the home gaming market.
Nintendo’s choice of a Nvidia CPU here is also of note due to Nintendo’s choice to use an AMD chip for the Wii U, alongside Sony and Microsoft’s decision to do the same (albeit with a more powerful APU) for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One respectively. Due to the alternative architecture of the Tegra X1 when compared to dedicated CPUs designed for home gaming, it is difficult to quantify where Nintendo will stand in terms of power for the Nintendo NX. It is expected that the Tegra X1 will deliver sub-standard gaming performance when compared to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One’s APUs. It is possible the Tegra X2 may end up being used, and it is known that the Tegra X1 can do significantly improved performance over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The same sources additionally suggest that Nintendo will once more be using cartridge-based storage systems for retail games on the NX. This again can be compared to hand-held devices such as the immensely popular 3DS and decidedly less popular Playstation Vita, both of which currently use cartridges. It has also been noted that due to this drastic change, the NX will not feature any backwards compatibility, unlike both the Wii U and the Wii – it can, then, be expected from this that the NX will likely not feature any disc-reading functionality. This would match some patents filed earlier this year.
For the NX’s internal storage Nintendo apparently recommends a 32GB cartridge, which seems very conservative given that high-budget games for the PS4 and Xbox One now often demand 40 or even 50 GB of space alone, if not more in some cases. This rumored suggestion from Nintendo may suggest that due to the mobile nature of the console, storage requirements for their new releases may be relatively small. It could, also potentially suggest a focus on digitally distributed games that require a full installation on the console’s internal storage. Once again Nintendo is also expected to develop their own operating system (OS) for the NX, as opposed to licensing one for the system and that according to the report it won’t be Android as some rumors have had it.
As for when the NX will be revealed, the same sources suggest that this may happen sometime in September and that planning for the system has ‘recently moved up a gear within Nintendo’. No new information has arisen that contests the NX’s targeted launch date, which is still March 2017.