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The Nintendo NX is rumored to be a console/handheld hybrid

Nintendo NX

Details on the new Nintendo NX console have reportedly leaked, and among the most surprising details is that it may not be a console at all – or more accurately, it may be only half a console.

Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal claimed that Nintendo is preparing to ship software development kits to developers later this month. That’s in keeping with most rumored time tables, and would put it on track for the also rumored Summer 2016 release.

BTW, you’ll notice the word “rumor” a whole lot in this article. The sources seem legit, and they fit with what has already been leaked, but at the moment this is still all very much unconfirmed.

The bigger reveal from the sources is that the Nintendo NX – or whatever it ends up being called – won’t just be a console, it will be a console/handheld hybrid of some sort.

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.

According to Kotaku, the WSJ author went on to tweet a clarification that the Nintendo NX is “likely to have… more than two devices.” 

That would actually make sense for a few reasons. To begin with, it sounds like an evolution of the Wii U’s gamepad.

One of the Wii U’s biggest selling points was that the gamepad could also second as a handheld gaming device on its own – or at least, on its own as long as the console was within range and turned on. If Nintendo could actually find a way to offer a handheld device that would allow you to continue your game on the go, it would be a nice selling point.

If that is the case, it wouldn’t be all that different from what the PS Vita does with the games that are cross platform. That didn’t save the Vita from falling into the weird limbo it seems it be in, but the idea was intriguing.

It would also fit with Nintendo’s greatest strength: its handheld division.

Before his untimely death, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata hinted at the possibility of a connected ecosystem similar to what many mobile devices offer. Even though he is gone, it seems like a sensible move, and one that new Nintendo boss Tatsumi Kimishima will likely continue.

The timing would also fit. Although the Nintendo 3DS is still selling well, and despite a few new versions that offered a couple of tweaks, Nintendo is about due for a new generation of handhelds.

The WSJ article also mentioned that the new system would include “industry-leading chips.” If so, that could put it way ahead of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Both rival consoles are beginning to hit their strides, but there are many who haven’t upgraded to a new system yet. If Nintendo can convince third-party developers to come back and also develop the big new titles for Nintendo’s system, things could get very interesting.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo for comment, and expect to hear a polite “no comment” at any time.

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Founder and DBP boss. Ryan likes the Kansas Jayhawks, long walks on the beach, and high fiving unsuspecting people.
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