Nintendo is synonymous with video games. So many iconic series, so many characters, so many memories. Despite their sometimes hit-or-miss track record, Nintendo will always be a legendary icon of the industry.
But things are changing. Nintendo is changing. In a world where people game more than ever – in more ways than ever – Nintendo is trying to keep up. Their answer to an ever-evolving and widening video game landscape is the NX. The NX is a code name for their upcoming system, due March 2017. It comes at a very important time for The Big N. They are no longer the biggest dog in the yard. Despite their insistence that they aren’t participating in the current console wars, the company is competing with – and losing to – Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo is at risk of being left behind, especially after the lackluster sales of the Wii U. Players are migrating more and more to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Nintendo needs to make the NX count. It’s time to make a splash again. But how?
Third Party Support
This is a big one. A big, big one. In fact, most people say this might be the most vital task at hand for Nintendo. For far too long, the Wii and Wii U haven’t nabbed many of the juicy AAA titles that fly off the shelves. Want to play the new Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto or Fallout? Well, you’ll have to fire up your PlayStation or Xbox. Nintendo just doesn’t have much of a relationship with major third party developers. That needs to change if they want to have a place at the table.
It’s really frustrating to want a Wii or Wii U but knowing you won’t use it nearly as often as your PS4 or Xbox One. Sure, you’ll turn it on to play the latest Mario or Super Smash Bros. game but when you want to play Battlefront or NBA 2K16, you have no choice but to leave Nintendo behind. When games cost $60 each, many gamers are deciding to skip Nintendo’s hardware altogether because the game selection just isn’t as strong.
Now, if Nintendo could offer all their landmark properties and some of the titles we listed, you would see more people interested in the NX. This is an important move for Nintendo to make. If they developed strong relationships with major third party developers, it would go a long way to winning many fans back.
Great Launch Titles
It’s not all about third party games, though. Nintendo has the best exclusive franchises. In fact, no other gaming console comes close. Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros – these are just some of the characters and titles that Nintendo owns and handles perfectly. These are massive deals in the gaming world and always draw huge buzz upon release. Imagine even two of these titles debuting on the same day as the NX. A new Super Mario Galaxy maybe? How about a gorgeous Donkey Kong Country for a new generation? A high speed, flashy Mario Kart? Any of those would get people waiting in line and willing to spend their hard-earned cash on day one.
Nintendo says the latest Zelda game will launch with the NX and that’s great news, ensuring interest in the console will be even higher. But Nintendo shouldn’t stop there. Their launch titles should combine some of the reliable games mentioned before but also, hopefully, some third party games that prove Nintendo is turning over a new leaf and trying new things while retaining their identity.
Launch day for a new system is a boring affair far too often. Nintendo can buck that trend — and drive up enthusiasm — with a slate of impressive and exciting titles right out of the gate.
Less Focus On The Controller
This advice is a little tricky. On one hand, we really want Nintendo to be innovative and try new things. That’s what makes Nintendo Nintendo after all. However, it would be a shame if the best new feature of the NX is its controller.
Nintendo changed the game (no pun intended. Okay, pun intended) with the Wii remote. It was unlike anything before it and altered the industry. It made gaming on a Wii unique and family-friendly. Sadly, the subsequent Wii U controller (or gamepad, as many call it) wasn’t as successful. Many gamers were turned off by the unreliable and cumbersome device. People were calling on Nintendo to go back to basics. Instead of focusing on fun controllers, focus on the games instead.
Nintendo is up to something again with the NX controller. Speculation has been running rampant. The consensus is that the controller will likely be independent of the console if the gamer wishes. If you’re playing Mario but need to catch a bus, perhaps you can just unhook the controller and take it with you without stopping the game. Essentially it could be like a Nintendo 3DS that’s also a controller.
That sounds genuinely great. If it works without a hitch that could be another groundbreaking move from Nintendo. However, if that’s the main focus of the system, it’s a bit underwhelming. Nintendo needs to be laser-focused on creating lots of new content, both their own and not. A dependence on the controller could backfire for a number of reasons, including a lackluster reaction from fans to software that doesn’t deliver like it should. What doesn’t backfire are strong games and a powerful system under the hood.
So while Nintendo should give us something fun when it comes to the gamepad, paddle, controller or whatever they call it, the main emphasis should be the system and the games it’ll play.
As stated before, this is a very important pivot in the history of Nintendo. The NX can be the console that launches them back to center stage or it can sputter and fade like the Wii U. With the failure of the Wii U and the advancing creep of mobile games, Nintendo needs to come back stronger than ever with something that’ll blow people away. All eyes turn to see what the NX has in store.