Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2016

Did Eurogamer reveal the NX? Cartridges! Hybrid! Oh my!

First, we need our revolution song. We can’t talk about the NX without it as our background.

Second, here is the Eurogamer link.

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Let us look at it in a shallow business way.

Not too long ago, I confidently declared the NX would not have backwards compatibility (meaning hardware of prior systems). I could say that because I knew why backwards compatibility was put in the first place. Game God Iwata said, “The transition phase is the most dangerous part of the console cycle. Backward compatibility helps remove that risk,” he never said that, but I am paraphrasing. When he said that, the PlayStation 2 had backward compatibility and performed extremely well in the transition part. Gameboy line always had backward compatibility, and it was never toppled in the market. DS has backward compatibility and did very well. Wii had backward compatibility and did very well too. Even the Sega Genesis had backward compatibility. All the signs and logic showed backward compatibility was something the market wanted. The Internet was very vocal about backwards compatibility.

But the PS4 doesn’t have backwards compatibility, and it does fine. Xbox One has backwards compatibility via software and no one cares. The truth is that backwards compatibility can be done ‘good enough’ using digital downloads. In other words, if Nintendo wanted to put a hit game from the prior system onto the new one, they can just re-release it digitally.

Or they can do a ‘remake’ of it. Why have backwards compatibility when people buy Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD, and other games released again?

The big problem Nintendo was facing, aside from rising development costs and needs for handheld and home console, was the global market was being split on the two. In Japan, handhelds were the craze. In the West, home consoles still dominated. According to Game God Iwata, Iwata believed Japan was several years ahead the trend. In other words, if I can seance Iwata’s thoughts into today, he would think that the future trend is handheld, not home console not just for Japan but for the entire world. Japan’s present is the world’s future. Nintendo does not see itself as abandoning the home console. The market has already abandoned the home console, Nintendo is just going to where the future market is. Since Microsoft cannot make a handheld, they will be entirely eliminated from the console market (Microsoft is already making moves to get out of the Xbox). Sony will find it harder and harder to compete as the home console market closes up (as Sony reveals they cannot make a handheld as the PSP and Vita failures show).

The Wii U seemed to be in many ways an attempt to solve the handheld and home console divide… which utterly failed. Did people stick to handhelds and not to home consoles in Japan because home consoles hogged the TV? Wii U tried to fix this. But the problem wasn’t the symptoms but the ground being removed from the home console’s feet.

The Home Console is to Handheld Console today as the Arcade was to the Home Console thirty years ago. The arcades came out first. They were giant. They had to be. As technology improved, the arcade hits found their way into a smaller package of the home console. PONG. Space Invaders. Donkey Kong. You name it. With the handheld, we are seeing a similar migration of home console hits move over. Nintendo putting Donkey Kong Country Returns and Hyrule Warriors on the 3DS told me where this was going.

Nintendo is Japan orientated. Japan is handheld focused. Therefore, Nintendo will be handheld focused. Handheld is the future in large part due to that is where the technology revolution is occurring. The gap between handheld and home console is rapidly diminishing.

Another big issue is while people kept talking about the Wii U successor, there was not much talk of the 3DS successor which needed to come out first. Nintendo is very good about obeying the console generations and putting out new hardware. 3DS came out in 2011. Consoles must be changed in five or six years. We could be confident about cartridges being in the NX because cartridges would still be used for handhelds.

NX is an inverted Wii U. While the Wii U is a home console that you can play like a handheld, NX is a handheld that can play like a home console.

The breakaway controller parts are… odd. I find the button use of Nintendo handhelds to be all wrong and to be severely crampy (and to be significantly smaller than the original Gameboy or early NES/SNES controllers) as if they were designed for asian hands. If this NX speculation is true, I welcome HAVING CONTROL over the input scheme and buttons. Nintendo hasn’t given us that since the Wii and the NES. Every other home console and handheld has forced us to use Nintendo’s crappy controller layouts.

Nintendo thinks way ahead. Nintendo is not going handheld because ‘it cannot compete with Sony’. The market is moving handheld only. It is Sony who cannot compete with Nintendo in the handheld space (two failed handhelds). Generation 10 or 11 could be seeing the PlayStation becoming mobile too. Generation 12 would then be a Nintendo Monopoly of the console space.

The smartphones/tablets would be to the NX as PCs are to the homeconsoles today. Iwata agreed with this line of thinking BTW as well.

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