As I’ve previously mentioned, I recently jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon with a fair degree of enthusiasm, and have been loving every minute of the pure, unadulterated gaming goodness that the Wii U has provided me with. However, the cost of that, it would seem, is that being a Nintendo fan often carries with it an inherent degree of worry and apprehension: What if Nintendo stop making consoles? What if they get left behind as games, and gamers, move away from Nintendo’s relatively simple (yet hugely enjoyable) formula?
Indeed, despite the Wii U’s general awesomeness, almost everything you read about next-gen gaming has it down as the last place loser, and it’s hard not to worry about the future of a company that lost the next-gen race having had a year’s headstart on the competition, right!?
Well, fear not fellow Nintendo fans/worriers, because yesterday the company announced two things that show they’re not ready to pack in this making great games and machines lark just yet. The first was that, in partnership with DeNA, Nintendo fully intend to jump into the world of mobile gaming, and the second, perhaps more exciting announcement, was that they’re already working on new hardware.
On the mobile thing, Nintendo explained that they’ll be entering into an “alliance” with DeNA, a company best known for freemium mobile games, to create “games optimised for smart device functionality” and an online “membership service, spanning smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Nintendo’s own gaming devices”. So, I hear you ask, does that mean we’ll soon be able to play our favourite Nintendo games on our smartphone too?
Well, the short answer is, we’re not sure! See, on the one hand, Nintendo have stated that “to ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimised for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system”. However, on the other hand, they also said “all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance”.
So that clears that up then (said nobody, ever!). Anyway, whatever happens, or gets developed, or “explored”, it’s certainly something for Nintendo fans to keep an eye on!
Now, the new hardware. At the same press conference, Nintendo’s chief executive, Satoru Iwata said:
“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 some information with you next year”
OK, that’s a little short on, like, actual information and whatnot, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. We don’t even know if this’ll be a new console, or a new handheld, but whatever it is, given the “brand-new concept” bit, and Nintendo’s penchant for an ‘outside the box’ approach to how we game, there’s a reasonably big chance that it’ll be something worth watching.
At the very least, the announcement of this “NX” will go a long way towards reassuring Nintendo fans that they’ve got many more years of innovation and enjoyment to come, and that the company has every intention of giving them more of the games, and devices, they love. Nintendo have always been pretty good at coming up with new and exciting ideas, and I, for one, am very happy indeed that they’re continuing to do so – even if we have to wait ages to find out exactly what an NX is.