The new Nintendo console is coming March 2017, and other fun facts
The worst kept secret in gaming, the new Nintendo console codenamed Nintendo NX, is now set for release in March 2017. Details of the console are still scarce, but with the date now set, you can probably expect to hear more soon (including plenty of details coming from E3 in June).
“For our dedicated video game platform business, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed ‘NX’ with a brand-new concept. NX will be launched in March 2017 globally,” the company announced during its fiscal year earnings report, which was then picked up by CNET.
The news was later confirmed by a tweet from Nintendo of America.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 27, 2016
Not a lot of solid facts are known about the console, but there are plenty of rumors we can use to wildly speculate on.
The Nintendo NX is said to be a console/handheld hybrid, which sounds intriguing – although technically the Wii U could also be categorized in the same way, given the tablet-like GamePad. There are also rumors that the system will feature a new type of controller, but that isn’t surprising. It’s also not confirmed.
There have been plenty of images of prototype controllers floating around, along with artwork taken from patents Nintendo filed. Even if those images are completely legit, console makers often go through dozens of prototypes before settling on a production model. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers are both the result of countless hours of work determining the best form factor.
Ergonomics experts were consulted, 3D printing machines pushed out dozens of variations, and test groups gave hours of feedback. With just under a year to go, there’s a good chance the final Nintendo NX controller model hasn’t been determined yet.
Shifting release dates
The early rumors were that the console was due in summer 2016, but those were never confirmed. You can’t really call it a delay if it was never officially set to be released, but it is a little odd to launch in March.
Recent console releases have all firmly aimed for the end of the year to be part of the holiday sales rush. There’s probably a very good reason for the spring release, and it is probably unavoidable, but it could end up hurting early sales numbers.
Of course, the flip side of the argument in favor of launching for the holidays is that the Wii U released in November 2012, a full year before Microsoft and Sony, and yet it performed poorly against both. Even with a year head start, the Wii U has sold around 12.8 million units to date, while the Xbox One has moved 18 million; the PS4 is ahead of them both, and has shipped over 35 million to date. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 continue to see consistent sales, while the Wii U is treated like a dead console walking.
Nintendo NX games
There have also been leaks regarding what games will be heading to the Nintendo NX, although most of those games were considered to be NX titles when the console was going to launch in summer 2016. Several developers will probably wait for the NX’s release and take the time to further polish their games, but any ports also heading to the other systems won’t have that luxury.
The March 2017 release also has an unfortunate casualty for fans waiting for the upcoming Legend of Zelda title intended for the Wii U. Despite numerous promises of a release in 2016 (which followed several delays), Nintendo also confirmed that it will withhold the new Zelda title to create a port, making it an NX launch title.
The game will also be released on the Wii U, the system it was developed on, but that release will coincide with the NX’s launch.
Fans of Nintendo and the Zelda games in particular may get a minor sense of deja vu from this news. Nintendo did the exact same thing with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which was supposed to be for the GameCube, but after numerous delays was released on both GameCube and as a Wii Launch title.