Big news from Nintendo today, who've just dropped a couple of massive announcements.
New console. Mobile games.
Ooh. Erm. Wha? Don't panic. Let's unpack this thing.
First off, let's talk hardware. "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"," Ninty boss Satoru Iwata revealed during a Japanese press conference. "It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year."
So that's happening. Bear in mind that the NX will be deep in the development skunkworks and we likely won't see a new console in 2016, and quite right too. The Wii U deserves proper support and a proper lifespan if Nintendo expects fans to make another jump. Interestingly, Nintendo plans to roll out a new account service that can be logged into on multiple platforms, and that will replace Club Nintendo. Chances are that it will also replace NNIDs too.
"Nintendo, together with [mobile developer] 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," Iwata explains.
"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."
But wait, "smart devices"? Yes, Nintendo finally plans to jump into the murky mobile games domain after years of heated arguments for and against the move.
“Both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s IP, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices,” said Nintendo in a statement. “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.”
This is good news. Instead of ports, Nintendo plans to collaborate on a small number of titles designed specifically for the mobile market in terms of input and play time. Hopefully they'll think about some sort of NES Remix collection rather than more Pokemon Shuffle-esque cash grabs though.
But has Nintendo decided to deploy its video game business on smart devices because they have lost their passion or vision for the business of dedicated video game systems?
"Nintendo has decided to deploy its video game business on smart devices, but it is not because we have lost our passion or vision for the business of dedicated video game systems,” says Iwata. " Oh good.
"On the contrary, because now we have decided on how we will make use of smart devices, we have come to hold an even stronger passion and vision for the dedicated video game system business than before."
Discuss. Sound off in the comments!