It’s not a surprise that Nintendo is working on a Wii U successor, since it typically takes years to develop one. What we didn’t expect, however, was for Nintendo to utter even a codename at this point. In Tuesday’s press conference, where the company detailed its plans to make mobile games with DeNa, it also teased a new system codenamed “NX.”
“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 codenamed ‘NX.’”
As expected, we have few details, other than that it’ll involve fresh hardware and gameplay concepts. The NX symbol appeared on a slide with Nintendo’s Wii U, 3DS and other mobile platforms, suggesting that it could be a complimentary system, not a direct successor to its current consoles.
The NX hardware will also tie into a new membership service that Nintendo is developing with DeNa. It’s a replacement for Club Nintendo, and will blend multiple devices including the Wii U, 3DS, smartphones and tablets.
It’s no secret that Nintendo’s Wii U has struggled. Despite some standout titles like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the platform hasn’t resonated with consumers like the original Wii or Sony and Microsoft’s latest offerings. Many wondered how long Nintendo will take before shifting focus to a new console entirely. That would, of course, lead to disgruntled existing Wii U owners, so a new system that sits with Nintendo’s existing hardware, at least for now, makes sense. According to CEO Satoru Iwata, we’ll have more N1 details “next year,” so don’t expect any grand announcements at E3 or the next Nintendo Direct.