Nintendo struck gold with the first Wii console in 2006, introducing affordable, motion-sensing technology. The hardcore gaming community was impressed at the start, or so it seemed, until the novelty wore off and gamers saw that the console would best serve the first-party fanbase and casual players. The follow-up console, Nintendo’s Wii U (2012), tried to push the envelope with a tablet-like controller packing motion-sensing technology.
Unfortunately, hardcore gamers didn’t take the bait despite the cool hardware, possibly due to the console’s all-too-familiar casual name.
Now we’re into the second half of 2016, and Nintendo’s hardcore customer base is sipping on hot rumors surrounding its next console, the mysterious “NX.” Some of us thought the big reveal would be during E3 2016 in June, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the company may officially introduce the Nintendo NX during the Gamescom event taking place in Cologne, Germany, starting August 17. Looking back, that’s entirely possible, as the Gamecube was officially announced in August 2000 even though the following Wii and Wii U consoles were revealed during E3.
Nintendo originally planned to expose the NX during its E3 press conference this past June, but according to Shigeru Miyamoto, the company decided against it due to the possibility that competitors would copy its unique hardware approach before the NX launch. Nintendo has always been rather cautious regarding its design ideas, but given that Microsoft is busy with 2017’s Project Scorpio and Sony is gearing up to unleash PlayStation 4.5 “Neo” this holiday season, you have to wonder why Nintendo is so paranoid.
Still, the company’s paranoia deserves some credit. In addition to the original Wii’s innovative motion-sensing technology, the company introduced a handheld device packing two screens, one of which supports touch-based input. Now we can add handheld 3D technology that doesn’t require special glasses, which was largely improved with the “New” Nintendo 3DS launched in 2014 (yes, Nintendo needs to do a better job at naming its hardware). The upcoming Nintendo NX console is slated to be another industry-transforming platform.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing to back up the rumor that NX will make a Gamescom appearance outside Nintendo’s official listing as an attendee, which isn’t anything new. However, with Nintendo skipping the Tokyo Game Show this year (which isn’t unusual either), and the company promising to reveal its new console within 2016, that leaves Gamescom or a special, stand-alone press event. Remember, Nintendo held a special “preview” conference for the original 3DS handheld back in January 2011, so a similar NX intro is possible.
On the financial side, after Nintendo revealed its Wii U console, we saw complaints from investors who really wanted the company to invest in the mobile market. We’re not too sure how happy they are regarding the unannounced NX console, but Nintendo shares jumped 10 percent Friday thanks to the release of Nintendo’s second mobile app, Pokemon GO. The game launched in Australia and New Zealand on July 6 followed by a North American release on July 7 (iOS) (Android). That game has yet to make its debut in Japan.
Clearly, Nintendo investors are tickled Kirby Pink over Nintendo’s initial mobile attempts. And while Nintendo makes a huge chunk of revenue from software sales, the company still needs to pick up the hardware slack caused by the underappreciated Wii U. That points to a much-needed NX console reveal in 2016 to generate lots of hype and hopefully lots of sales at launch. That said, Gamescom seems to be an appropriate launch platform for the NX, but we’ll just have to wait and see. If Nintendo misses that boat too, then expect a special reveal instead.
In the meantime, you gotta catch ‘em all with Nintendo’s new Pokemon GO app!