Nintendo is expected to introduce its NX console before the end of the year, with the platform likely arriving in March, just a couple months after the crucial 2016 holiday season. The latest rumor is that it’s a portable, handheld device that relies on cartridges instead of discs or cards, and packs a detachable controller on each side of a built-in screen. On the software front, Nintendo will reportedly crank out triple-A titles within the console’s first six months.
Sources close to MCV told the site that Game Freak is working on a new Pokémon game for the console, while Nintendo will serve up a new Mario title and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Meanwhile, Nintendo is working closely with Activision, Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to secure third-party content during that six-month window. Nintendo reportedly has no plans to follow the slow path it took with its Wii U and 3DS software launches.
With the NX, Nintendo is seemingly trying to close the gap between console and handheld. The machine will supposedly be based on Nvidia’s Tegra mobile processor, with the latest development kit including the same chip found in Nvidia’s Shield Android TV console, the Tegra X1. That’s surprising given that AMD GPUs have been a major component in Nintendo’s consoles since the Gamecube. Then again, the company is trying to convert mobile gamers with its new device, so a Tegra chip seems appropriate in this case.
If you’re unfamiliar with the most-recent Tegra X1, it sports four ARM-based A57 CPU cores and 256 Maxwell-based GPU cores. The chip supports DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1, and Vulkan. It’s also capable of a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 60Hz and a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 120Hz.
What’s interesting here is that the Nintendo NX could potentially run Android apps if the console’s operating system supports Google’s platform (it won’t be based on Android). Additionally, there’s a high likelihood that Nintendo could introduce cellular connectivity to the NX console, allowing gamers on the go to download and play Android games alongside their Nintendo favorites. Chances are, Nvidia could be cooking up a special Pascal-based Tegra chip just for Nintendo’s mobile console.
Sources told MVK that reports regarding the Nintendo NX serving as a mobile console with detachable controllers is 100 percent correct. The graphics provided by the device will reportedly be somewhere between the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4, as the console’s target audience is the group of gamers residing between the PlayStation 4/Xbox One, and the smartphone/tablet.
“It’s a nice bit of kit, a bit of a novelty, but a good one,” one executive with hands-on experience told the site. “It won’t appeal to PS4 fans. Nintendo seems set on trying to upgrade smartphone gamers. That’s going to be a big job for the marketing department.”
Given the Nintendo NX will be a mobile device, the company will supposedly provide a docking station used to connect the “tablet” portion of the console to an HDTV. Since the NX will indeed sport a portable design, the cartridges are expected to be rather thin, but larger than 3DS cards. The cartridges may also be 32GB in size, which seems like a good capacity considering the console is addressing a wide gaming market. Unfortunately, due to the processor architecture, the Nintendo NX may not be backwards compatible without some kind of emulation.