If you’ve been following Nintendo Times, you’ll know that I don’t post every single rumor that comes across our inboxes or all of the ones smattered around the Internet. That’s because there seems to be a handful of (often conflicting) reports coming out every week. However, I wanted to touch base on several of the more recent rumblings because I think when viewed together and in chronological order, all signs point to a Nintendo NX reveal coming in the next several weeks. Here’s the timeline of events so far:
NINTENDO UK LEAKS ZELDA AMIIBO RELEASE DATE
So ten days ago the UK branch of Nintendo updated its amiibo page with release date information on the upcoming Breath of the Wild amiibo figures. The date shown for them was 04/03/2017. Now, to us American’s we would read that as April 3, 2017. However, Europeans put the day before the month, so in reality the release date listed was March 4, 2017.
You may ask yourself, what does a random date on upcoming Zelda amiibo have to do with the NX? Well, if we look at prior amiibo launches, like yarn Yoshi and the new Kirby line, they have released day and date with the game they’re associated with. So, by proxy, that means The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would release on March 4, 2016. Nintendo has previously announced that Zelda would appear on Wii U and NX simultaneously. Hence the NX would have to be released by March 4, 2016. This would jive with Nintendo’s previous statement that the NX would launch worldwide next March.
EUROPEAN RETAILERS MEET AT NINTENDO HQ
Last week it was leaked that major European retailers were meeting at Nintendo’s headquarters in Germany. Of course, this could be for numerous things, including Pokémon Sun & Moon, the NES Classic Edition, Paper Mario: Color Splash, or the prevailing theory, the NX. Now, keep in mind that Nintendo wouldn’t show off the NX to a bunch of lower retail management and expect them to keep it secret. It could, however, show it off to a high-ranking person at each retail outlet, such as the CEO or the head product buyer. Nintendo needs to clue in its retail partners on its plans far in advance to secure coveted shelf space in stores. If Nintendo hopes to hit its March release date, then it make sense to loop the retailers in on what to expect with its upcoming platform.
UK RETAILER PUTS UP NX PREORDER PAGE
It seems one of those retailers that possibly attended that meeting (Tesco) crossed some wires and created a placeholder page today for the Nintendo NX Wii U with a retail price of £349.99 with a launch date of December 31, 2016. Now, before we all get worked up over these details, keep in mind that retailers often create placeholder pages for products they know are coming out, but don’t yet know specific details or aren’t able to share those details at the time of posting them. This is very common to see, and normally retailers will purposely choose a higher price and then reduce it once official pricing is announced. The page was only up for several hours before getting yanked.
All of these events, taken separately, aren’t anything too special or convincing that an NX announcement is imminent. But, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and right now it definitely appears that things have been set in motion toward a reveal in the coming weeks. Even the order in which these things happened makes sense. Obviously Nintendo of Japan would notify its European and North American branches of release date information first. Somehow the Breath of the Wild amiibo dates made it out to the public, and was quickly pulled down. Then just a week later Nintendo of Europe holds a meeting with its retail partners, possibly revealing broad plans for NX. It’s likely they weren’t even shown the device, but rather given nuggets of information about release timeframe and whatnot. Finally, just days after the supposed meeting a UK retailer put up a placeholder page for the NX. The date and price don’t matter, but the timing of its creation fits perfectly into the timeline that seems to be materializing.
So, when will Nintendo finally take the wraps off the NX? I’ve always maintained that if they fail to show it by the end of October, then it’s most likely not coming out in March. As we made it further through September I began to worry that perhaps the system fell behind schedule once again. While that still could be the case, these latest rumors and events lead me to believe that the signs are pointing to a reveal in the coming weeks. Exactly when is still a mystery as Nintendo can play this out in several ways. They could hold a press conference, but doing so would require media invites, which would have to go out at least 10 days before the event. Or, Nintendo could simply announce a Direct (usually 48 hours in advance) and we could get our first look at the NX that way. Nintendo likes to keep everyone in the dark, but I’m hopeful that we’re finally seeing some light at the end of this very long and windy tunnel we’ve been in for the past year and a half.