Nintendo’s upcoming NX will be a portable, handheld console with detachable controllers, a number of sources have confirmed to Eurogamer.
On the move, NX will function as a high-powered handheld console with its own display. So far so normal – but here’s the twist: we’ve heard the screen is bookended by two controller sections on either side, which can be attached or detached as required.
Then, when you get home, the system can connect to your TV for gaming on the big screen.
A base unit, or dock station, is used to connect the brain of the NX – within the controller – to display on your TV.
For more on the console’s power, Digital Foundry has a deep-dive look at the chip Nintendo has chosen as the centrepiece of NX, according to numerous well-placed sources: Nvidia’s powerful Tegra mobile processor.
NX will use game cartridges as its choice of physical media, multiple sources have also told us.
Considering NX’s basis as a handheld first and foremost, the choice may not come as too much of a surprise – although we have heard the suggestion Nintendo recommends a 32GB cartridge, which is small when considering the size of many modern games.
Naturally, we expect digital game downloads will also be available. We were told Nintendo considered but then decided against making a system which supported digital downloads only.
It’s not the first time cartridge-based media has been mooted for NX. Back in May, eagle-eyed fans spotted The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s trademark included cartridge-based games. This was a change from Nintendo’s usual wording for home console trademarks, which only refer to digital downloads and discs.
Due to the radical change in hardware design and internal technology, we’ve been told by one source that there are no plans for backwards compatibility.
Another source said the system would run on a new operating system from Nintendo. It won’t, contrary to some earlier rumours, simply run on Android.
Inside the NX, as stated above, the system will harness Nvidia’s powerful mobile processor Tegra. Graphical comparisons with current consoles are difficult due to the vastly different nature of the device – but once again we’ve heard Nintendo is not chasing graphical parity. Quite the opposite, it is sacrificing power to ensure it can squeeze all of this technology into a handheld, something which also tallies with earlier reports.
Finally, we’ve heard from one source that NX planning has recently moved up a gear within Nintendo ahead of the console’s unveiling, which is currently slated for September.
After the confused PR fiasco of the Wii U launch, the company is already settling on a simple marketing message for NX – of being able to take your games with you on the go.
Nintendo always designs its hardware to show off specific game concepts – and it remains to be seen how the system will showcase the next Mario, or even how the NX version of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – the only first-party game confirmed so-far – may differ when played on the device.
Previously, however, we’ve heard reports of various Wii U games reappearing as updated NX ports – Splatoon and Smash Bros. have both been mooted. And then there’s Pikmin 4, which Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed to Eurogamer just over a year ago.
“Nintendo has not made any new official announcements regarding NX which is due to launch in March 2017,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer when contacted about this story. “As such [we’re] unable to comment on the various rumours and speculations circulating.”