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Rumors We've Heard About The Nintendo NX

Nintendo has finally announced a March 2017 launch window for its next big console, code-named the NX. While not much is known about this mysterious platform, there are plenty of rumors floating around and assumptions we can make about the system based on Nintendo's actions over the past couple years. In a gaming economy where Mario could use a power-up more than ever, let's speculate on the possible features of the Nintendo NX.

Connecting with your Nintendo Account

After axing the Club Nintendo program, the House of Mario bounced back with the Nintendo Account initiative, a new player account format meant to rally together your experiences across different platforms for all things Nintendo. As you'd expect, the NX is planning to utilize this system as well. Unfortunately, we're left unsure as to the extent of this connectivity. Will the NX be able to play the digital games you downloaded for the Wii U or 3DS? We'd really like to find out, especially considering the classic games kept in the Virtual Console library. Whatever the details, you can expect a lot more interactivity between the NX and other devices, such as your smartphone and PC—and hopefully other Nintendo consoles. We're not sure how the Nintendo Account could affect theme parks, though.

Tech specs

A big concern for the NX is how much power it'll have under the hood. The Wii U was easily outshined by the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One from a hardware perspective, and the underwhelming tech, along with the unconventional (but innovative) GamePad controller, led to a lot of third-party developers avoiding the system. This greatly hindered the lineup for the console and, in turn, resulted in underwhelming sales numbers. The NX will need to be able to compete with Sony and Microsoft's juggernaut consoles. Speaking with Time, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said, "I can assure you we're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U," which suggests some heavy-duty tech upgrades. We wouldn't be surprised by some kind of cloud-based tech fueling the NX.

Nintendo's 'Quality of Life' patenting

In a 2014 Corporate Management Policy Briefing, late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata explained the company's leapfrog technology strategy. Nintendo would like its hardware and software to jump ahead of the console, mobile, and wearable (smart watches and glasses) markets and release a series of non-wearable devices. This coincides with the "Quality of Life" initiative that Nintendo has been filing patents and trademarks for since 2013. These Quality of Life devices do not consist of games, or even game-playing devices for the most part. Instead, they're more like health accessories and gadgets intended to promote a better lifestyle for the user. One such patent was for an alarm clock-esque machine that would stay by your bed, monitoring all your vital sign data while you're zonked. Your respiratory, cardiac, and other kinds of biometric data is monitored as you sleep and compared to your previous health recordings in order to see if there has been some sort of progression or regression. It's supposed to encourage you get your life on the right track and start promoting better sleeping habits...we guess.

We wouldn't be surprised if the NX integrates with Nintendo's Quality of Life devices. Based on previous attempts with the Wii Balance Board and other health-inspired devices, we have a feeling this new-aged, leapfrogging health tech will play a vital role for the NX.


Games Lineup

Everyone is expecting/hoping that the NX will have a third-party-heavy lineup of games in order to atone for the shortcomings of the Wii U's library. Due to its monumental profit drops, Nintendo can't just rely on names like Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Kirby, and Star Fox to stay afloat in the gaming market anymore. In order to promote a healthy console debut, the company is going to need a solid lineup of launch titles in March 2017 to increase the incentives of buying an NX. Scuttlebutt claims that we can expect the 2014 Super Smash Bros. title, likely with all the previous DLC included and some kind of NX-exclusive content. Nintendo has also announced that the Wii U's long-delayed Legend of Zelda title will debut side-by-side on the NX at launch.

A handheld/console hybrid?

We'll always be confident in Nintendo's ability to promote classic-style gaming while introducing all kinds of technological innovations with each of its new devices. Many speculate that the NX will be some type of hybrid, featuring both a handheld gaming device and a console hooked up to the TV. That sounds quite similar to the Wii U, but as Tatsumi Kimishima said, things will be different this time around. Perhaps the NX will have some sort of docking mechanism for the New 3DS. Better yet, what if it had a GamePad-like device you could take with you on the go that played 3DS cartridges, but runs off the WiFi in your house to remain synced with your system so you don't have to remain in Bluetooth range? We've got our fingers crossed.