Hints about Nintendo’s next piece of gaming hardware have been dropping since earlier this year, indicating everything from the company transitioning to an Android-based platform to a mobile tie-in with its partnered titles with DeNA. But a new report indicates that the system could be making its way to market as soon as next year.
Taiwanese site DigiTimes has reported that the console, code named NX, could be making its way to release as soon as July 2016. The site reports that Foxconn has already obtained the manufacturing rights for the machine (with Pegatron pitching for some of the work), and pilot production could begin as soon as October.
According to the report, orders could be finalized as soon as February or March, meaning that full production could push forward during May or June, so that everything is prepped for the July 2016 release date.
The report also states that Nintendo has high hopes for the console, hoping to ship 20 million units in the first year alone. That’s a pretty high number to reach, given that previously released consoles like the PlayStation 4 took 17 months to sell 22.3 million units, and that’s the best-selling console launch of this last generation by far. Achieving that level of success would mean Nintendo has to have great hardware at a great price, with great software and terrific marketing — and plenty of units produced in a timely fashion, as well. That’s a tough order, but Nintendo is one of the few companies capable of succeeding at all of those things.
Considering that Nintendo hasn’t confirmed any of these details, they’re best taken as rumors at this point. Also, there are a few things worth pointing out regarding the “quick” production of the NX.
First, Nintendo is still providing a healthy push behind the Wii U, with games like StarFox Zero and Yoshi’s Woolly World coming in time for the holidays. Secondly, Nintendo has stated it will first announce plans for the NX well ahead of announcing any sort of release date – and the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which takes place in June, seems to be the right time for such an announcement. “We’ll talk more about our next system, code named Nintendo NX, more in 2016,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America.
There’s also the question of rushing a console to market, as it doesn’t always produce the most effective results. Back in 1995, Sega rushed its Sega Saturn game console to market, shipping it to retailers the very same day that it was announced. Unfortunately, it backfired, not only with poor communication with retailers, but also with Sony announcing a lower price on its competing game console, the Sony PlayStation. Since that time, no game company has “rushed” a system release to market, instead taking its time and putting months of planning into the launch.
Nintendo’s CEO seems to be fully aware of what Nintendo needs to do in order to make the NX a success. “The platform business can sometimes be referred to as a ‘momentum business’,” Iwata said to an investor. “Thus, it is ideal to have a jump start and drive momentum. Looking back at some of Nintendo’s past platforms, this ideal launch has been achieved 100 per cent by perhaps only Wii. Even the Nintendo DS launch had areas in which we could have done better. I cannot disagree with your indication that Wii U is experiencing the most unfavorable situation.” Clearly Nintendo will need to have some solid games available at launch — could the next Zelda game see a launch on both the Wii U and the NX Whatever the case for that title, Nintendo will no doubt strive to have one or more of its key brands appearing on the NX platform from the start.
Whatever Nintendo has planned, it should represent an improvement in Nintendo’s performance in the game market, given the Wii U’s struggles. And it appears that a build for the system is already in place, as it was demoed to a number of the company’s partners last month, according to MCV UK. That would lend credence to the idea of a 2016 launch of the NX, as the hardware would need to be quite far along in order to launch in quantity next year.
We’ll see what Nintendo has planned soon enough.