A massive leak has finally confirmed what the Nintendo NX will be: a super-powerful handheld/home-console hybrid with detachable controllers.
Eurogamer compiled a plethora of leaks about the upcoming system, and the facts are surprising even to industry insiders. The NX will be a wide handheld, à la the Wii U controller crossed with a tablet, with a revolutionary twist: the controls on either side of the handheld are controllers, which can be removed to play games on the upright portable screen. Equally impressive, the system will connect to a dock to play as a home console.
How they will achieve this technical feat is with Nvidia’s mobile Tegra processor, and all rumors point to the Tegra X1, found in the Shield Android console and Google Pixel C tablet. As Nintendo is not going with industry-frontrunner AMD, this means they will sacrifice competing with modern systems’ graphical fidelity to have a strong portable system with reasonable battery life– a bad battery life is a handheld killer. Some spec comparisons find that it can run games that ran 720p60fps on last-gen consoles (Xbox 360, PS3) at 1080p60, although specs vary from software to software.
There is a single rumor which may indicate that the NX will instead use the upcoming Tegra X2, of which very little is known, which would likely put the NX more on par with modern-gen consoles; for now, this is hopeful thinking.
On the software side, it appears Nintendo will be using their own OS, as opposed to the previously rumored Android OS. This, coupled with technical decisions surrounding the system, means backwards compatibility is unlikely. This is compounded by the fact that, also surprisingly, the NX will use cartridges, which those paying attention to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s trademarks already knew. The apparent suggested cartridge size is 32gb, rather small for games in today’s market– but then, the NX is clearly not trying to follow in its competitors’ footsteps. Digital downloads were originally considered the exclusive option, but now they will simply be one option.
In many ways, the Wii U makes more sense as a testing ground for the systems that would go into this console. And where the Wii U’s marketing was inconsistent, it appears the NX will be marketed as a superpowered handheld that rivals your home consoles. Nintendo tends to use hardware as a means to achieve specific mechanical goals within games, something shown by Breath of the Wild’s tablet system– though we can expect more to come, particularly when a Mario is revealed, and perhaps with ports of Splatoon, Super Smash Bros. 4, and the upcoming Pikmin 4.
When reached for comment on the rumors, Nintendo’s representatives replied, “Nintendo has not made any new official announcements regarding NX which is due to launch in March 2017. As such[, we are] unable to comment on the various rumours and speculations circulating.”
The above leaks suggest a further announcement can be expected in September.