So, with the recent announcement of the Nintendo/DeNA alliance, lots of people have been wondering what Nintendo NX actually is. Is it a new console? Is it Nintendo’s version of Steam? Even having looked into the press releases and what not, I’m still not quite sure what Nintendo NX actually is.
The main confusion has come from Iwata’s use of the phrase ‘gaming platform’ when describing this new system. From my understanding, he means something similar to Steam or Origin, as a platform for gaming content, probably for distribution and social networking. It doesn’t necessarily mean a new console, as the loose translation of the word ‘platform’ have lead a lot of sites to believing he means a new console, yet Iwata never explicitly says the word hardware, but just claims that NX is a dedicated gaming platform that has some brand new concept to it. It could be a new system, but the fact it is made in conjunction with this new online system which DeNA is working on, could mean it will be a product like OnLive or Playstation Now, where people can access a variety of Nintendo games using NX as the launch platform. Even then, it is still incredibly confusing as to what this ‘new gaming platform’ actually is.
It could possibly be a streaming console, similar to the dedicated OnLive machines which can connect to this new membership system which is replacing Club Nintendo, and allow you to stream a huge variety of games from Nintendo’s back catalogue. Again, the ambiguous nature of the word ‘platform’, with it being used to refer to consoles, services like Steam and even singular games like Evolve which is supposed to be a persistent content platform, Nintendo NX might as well be a flying teapot that shoots lasers for all the solid information we have on it.
This, of course, isn’t the first time has had problems naming and clarifying what their systems actually are. Thousands of customers were confused as to whether the Wii U was just an expansion or a brand new console, and the recent naming of the ‘New’ 3DS will no doubt lead to many problems when buying pre-owned consoles as you desperately ask for an old New 3DS or a new old 3DS or even a new New 2DS XL.
Even so, the overall announcement of Nintendo NX and the DeNA partnership sounds promising. The new membership system does sound very Steam-esque, with members being able to access the system across a multiple range of devices and hopefully play games wherever they want. The flipside is that it seems to be targeted mainly at mobile users, thus turning the system into yet another irritating social network where people send you game requests to send them apples in Animal Crossing Mobile. Nintendo’s entry into the mobile gaming sphere could work really well and introduce a whole new swathe of players to old classics but it could easily turn into a quagmire of F2P knockoffs of Flappy Bird and Clash of Clans, just with Nintendo characters slapped on top. More important, Nintendo NX could be Nintendo’s ticket back into being a frontrunner in the gaming race, if we actually knew what the bloody hell it is.
So, do you actually know what Nintendo NX is? Comment below with your reckonings and wait for E3 for proper clarification!