Nintendo’s NX – Just The Facts

There isn’t much concrete information yet regarding Nintendo’s new gaming platform, the NX. We know to expect further details about it this year, but most information up until now has been vague. What’s surprising is how far back statements go from Nintendo and other sources in regards to NX.

Hero of Legend and several other forum members at NeoGAF have done an excellent job of compiling a list of sources and what was actually said on the record regarding Nintendo’s newest creation. While the statements won’t answer many questions, it’s a good place to start if you want to understand Nintendo’s philosophy behind what’s coming up next. Here are statements connected with the NX and the sources in chronological order:

January 31, 2013

The merging of Nintendo’s handheld and console divisions

“As you might already know from some newspaper reports, we will reorganize our development divisions next month for the first time in nine years. Two divisions which have independently developed handheld devices and home consoles will be united to form the Integrated Research & Development Division, which will be headed by Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director.” –Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



The first official mention of future platforms (NX)

“Last year we also started a project to integrate the architecture for our future platforms. What we mean by integrating platforms is not integrating handhelds devices and home consoles to make only one machine. What we are aiming at is to integrate the architecture to form a common basis for software development so that we can make software assets more transferrable, and operating systems and their build-in applications more portable, regardless of form factor or performance of each platform. They will also work to avoid software lineup shortages or software development delays which tend to happen just after the launch of new hardware.”

“Some time ago it was technologically impossible to have the same architecture for handheld devices and home consoles and what we did was therefore reasonable. Although it has not been long since we began to integrate the architecture and this will have no short-term result, we believe that it will provide a great benefit to our platform business in the long run. I am covering this topic as today is our Corporate Management Policy Briefing.” –Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



January 30, 2014

Home consoles and handhelds will become like brothers in a family of systems – similar to that seen in Apple with iOS or Android

“For example, currently it requires a huge amount of effort to port Wii software to Nintendo 3DS because not only their resolutions but also the methods of software development are entirely different. The same thing happens when we try to port Nintendo 3DS software to Wii U. If the transition of software from platform to platform can be made simpler, this will help solve the problem of game shortages in the launch periods of new platforms. Also, as technological advances took place at such a dramatic rate, and we were forced to choose the best technologies for video games under cost restrictions, each time we developed a new platform, we always ended up developing a system that was completely different from its predecessor. The only exception was when we went from Nintendo GameCube to Wii. Though the controller changed completely, the actual computer and graphics chips were developed very smoothly as they were very similar to those of Nintendo GameCube, but all the other systems required ground-up effort. However, I think that we no longer need this kind of effort under the current circumstances. In this perspective, while we are only going to be able to start this with the next system, it will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture. It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.”

“Still, I am not sure if the form factor (the size and configuration of the hardware) will be integrated. In contrast, the number of form factors might increase. Currently, we can only provide two form factors because if we had three or four different architectures, we would face serious shortages of software on every platform. To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. The point is, Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples. Whether we will ultimately need just one device will be determined by what consumers demand in the future, and that is not something we know at the moment. However, we are hoping to change and correct the situation in which we develop games for different platforms individually and sometimes disappoint consumers with game shortages as we attempt to move from one platform to another, and we believe that we will be able to deliver tangible results in the future.” — Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



June 23, 2014

Mr. Miyamoto discusses creating games that run on both handheld & console

“But over the last five years we’ve seen that the range of devices that they develop for has expanded, so they’re able to decide if they want to create something that is very high spec type of game or something that is for a lower-spec device. So I just think it’s good to see the freedom of choice that developers now have.”

“What I can say is, certainly, within Nintendo the fact that our development environment for our home console is different from the development environment for our portable system is certainly an area of stress or challenge for the development teams. So as we move forward, we’re going to look at what we can do to unify the two development environments.”

“So, particularly with digital downloads now and the idea that you’re downloading the right to play a game, that opens up the ability to have multiple platform digital downloads where you can download on one and download on another. Certainly from a development standpoint there is some challenge to it, because if you have two devices that have different specs and you’re being told to design in a way that the game runs on both devices, then that can be challenging for the developer—but if you have a more unified development environment and you’re able to make one game that runs on both systems instead of having to make a game for each system, that’s an area of opportunity for us.” –Mr. Miyamoto – Nintendo


Using technology to capture a large number of players

“For us, the next step is to think about what is going to be that element that is really going to catch the attention of a large number of players again and get them excited,” says Takahashi. “We’re constantly thinking about this idea from the perspective of the players and the needs of the players in terms of what can we can do with our ability and our technology to capture that excitement and passion.” –Shinya Takahashi – Nintendo



December 16, 2014

Nintendo To Use Sharp’s Free-Form Display In New Device
Sharp shows off how its new screen technology can take any shape. Above: A vehicle dashboard. Credit: The Japan Times.

“Sharp Corp. is close to providing video game maker Nintendo Co. with its advanced liquid crystal displays that can be shaped freely according to user demand, sources said Tuesday.”

“Unlike conventional LCDs, the Free-Form Display, which Sharp unveiled this year, has a bezel that can be bent, allowing for freedom of design.”

“Nintendo is expected to use the displays in its new portable game consoles to replace the Nintendo 3DS lines, or for a recently announced device to map sleep quality, which the company wants to market by March 2016, the sources said.”

“Nintendo will be Sharp’s first client to adopt the new LCDs.”

“Sharp will start mass production around early 2016 at its plant in Mie Prefecture, bringing forward its plan by about a year.”

“Nintendo is considering creating a hole at the center of the display, making it doughnut-shaped, one of the sources said.” –Kyodo – The Japan Times



March 17, 2015

Codename: NX is officially mentioned & is a “brand-new concept”


“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename “NX.” It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year.” — Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



New Membership Service Will Integrate With NX


“Nintendo, together with DeNA, will jointly develop a new membership service which encompasses the existing Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems, the new hardware system with a brand-new concept, NX, and smart devices and PCs, and Nintendo will be the primary party to operate this new membership service. Unlike the Club Nintendo membership service that Nintendo has been operating, the new membership service will include multiple devices and create a connection between Nintendo and each individual consumer regardless of the device the consumer uses. This membership will form one of the core elements of the new Nintendo platform that I just mentioned.” — Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



May 8, 2015

Nintendo Considers Making NX Region-Free

“My understanding is that it is not realistic on the existing video game systems because unlocking them after they are already on the market poses a number of hurdles. On the other hand, regarding NX, we understand that many consumers hold such opinions and such suggestions exist in the market, and although we have nothing concrete at the moment, we are internally analyzing what hurdles exist to lifting region locks. That is the situation right now. We acknowledge your request, and I personally want to give it positive consideration.” — Mr. Iwata – Former President of Nintendo



June 26, 2015

NX and Third Parties

“I will not share details on NX today but with regard to the launch of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U not necessarily having progressed well and not acquiring sufficient support from software publishers, we intend to offer NX through a Nintendo-like solution. Thank you for understanding that we are making various considerations and preparations in order to avoid what happened with the previous generations.”

“On a different note, I believe the standard for software publishers in selecting what hardware to provide their games for is the installed base after all. The larger the installed base or the more it is believed that the installed base will largely expand, there is an aspect that more software publishers are likely to join in. On the other hand, Nintendo is collaborating with various software publishers. At E3, which was held in the U.S. and is the largest trade show in the video game industry, we received many proposals for joint initiatives. In addition, Japanese software publishers have close relationships with our licensing department on a regular basis. As for collaborations with software publishers or their games, please consider that there are various ongoing projects below the surface.” –Mr. Iwata – Former Nintendo President



July 28, 2015

Dragon Quest X & XI announced for NX…


“Dragon Quest XI, which we announced today, as well as Dragon Quest X, which I’m working as a producer, are planned for release on the NX, which Nintendo is currently developing,” — Yosuke Saito – Square Enix Producer



August 4, 2015

…And then unannounced

“Our press release contained the official statement that had been originally planned, and there is no reason to believe any changes were made mid-way to the content of the official announcement. The comment made during the event was not based on the official statement, so please allow us to correct our statement at this moment. We regret any confusion this may have caused.” — Square Enix comment to Kotaku



October 16, 2015

Wall Street Journal reveals NX development kits have shipped to third parties

“Nintendo Co. has begun distributing a software development kit for its new NX videogame platform, people familiar with the matter said, suggesting the company is on track to introduce the product as early as next year.”

“The kit is used by third-party software developers to modify existing games for the platform or create new ones. Videogame console makers such as Nintendo like to have popular game titles ready when they start selling new devices.”

“The exact shape of the NX hardware isn’t yet clear. People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U’s capabilities didn’t match those of competitors.” –Takashi Mochizuki – The Wall Street Journal



October 29, 2015

NX might have unique user interface

“I understand that, thanks to the evolution of computer technology, aiming to realize a virtualized software development environment that does not depend on specific hardware is becoming the technological norm today. Simultaneously, regarding input and output technologies, I believe that it is also in line with the current technological trend that Nintendo should challenge itself with the creation of a unique user interface.” –Genyo Takeda – Nintendo



December 3, 2015

Mr. Kimishima assures that NX is a new experience; Not the next version of Wii or Wii U

“NX [the codename for Nintendo’s next game system] is in development,” says Kimishima, reaffirming that Nintendo will have more to say about it next year, and calling it “a next step in our dedicated device strategy, the core and primary focus of our business.”

“As far as NX goes, I’ve said it’s different and obviously a new experience,” he tells me. “If you look back to the beginning of our conversation today, we talked about the transition from Wii hardware to the Wii U hardware and how difficult it is to explain to the consumer base what is different and new about the new hardware. It’s difficult to convince them to switch from their current platform to the next platform.”

“That being said, I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or Wii U. It’s something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base.” – Tatsumi Kimishima – President of Nintendo




After reading all of the various quotes from various sources, one can begin to understand that Nintendo is really good at saying stuff without revealing exactly what its plans are. We’ve been told multiple times that 2016 is the year when we find out more details regarding the NX. We don’t know for sure when it will launch, what form factor(s) it will take, or what kind of new technology it will harbor. Many questions remain, and knowing Nintendo, a few may still exist by the time the NX actually makes it to retail. As always, we’ll keep you up to date on the latest NX news, rumors, and information as it becomes available. If you have any theories as to what the NX will be, leave us feedback below or e-mail us your thoughts.

Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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