It’s inevitable, once we start getting comfortable with something, we begin to wonder what the next version will be like. Whether it’s the next movie in a franchise, the next game in a long-standing series, or what we’ll be viewing or playing certain media on, our thoughts are often always looking forward.
Though the current generation of video game consoles are still very young, the future is coming ever closer. With Virtual Reality helmets being one of the items many are expecting to make a big impact. Then of course, there is the ever growing mobile market. Though it hasn’t “crippled’ the gaming market like many predicted, it’s still a big part of the gaming market nowadays. For Nintendo, they are the first to announce their intentions for the future of their console line. The “NX”, as it is codenamed right now, is already sounding like something radically different than what Nintendo has done before. Yet, as history has shown us, just because something is different, it doesn’t mean it’ll appeal. With the not-so-good sales of the Wii U looming over Nintendo, the NX has to succeed.
Here’s 5 things the Nintendo NX needs to do to succeed both right off the bat, and into the future:
1. Make The Name Impactful/Unique
To be fair, this one is a little tricky. However, recent history shows that the name of a console can have significant impact on how it’s viewed, and how it sells. In fact, of the big three, only Sony never has to worry about naming its consoles. All they have to do is use the next number in the line. It’s easy, it’s simple, it shows advancement, and it sells.
For Nintendo, one of the biggest falls of the Wii U was that it had “Wii” in the title. This caused great confusion amongst the fanbase, as they believed this was not another console, but rather that the Wii U Gamepad was a big addition to the Wii. By the time this notion was “rectified”, it was already too late. to this day, some people still don’t know the difference between Wii and Wii U.
Now, this doesn’t mean they have to have an epic name for the NX, but rather one that just makes it special. The Wii was weird when we heard about it. Then, they did the “Wii would like to play” commercials, and everyone started taking notice of it. Add that to their promotion of the console and its motion controls, and sudden the name wasn’t so weird. It was the Wii!
Now what they’ll name this new console is still up in the air, but if they do it right, they’ll have one less hurdle to worry about.
2. Killer App At Launch, Maybe Two
Launch titles are critical for new consoles. The reveal of a console is meant to create conversation about “what playing the games will be like”. But to sell the consoles, you need to have games from the getgo. For both the 3DS and the Wii U, Nintendo has struggled to produced games for the beginning buyers. Often, especially in certain gamers cases, they’ll not buy the console until they know when a specific game they know they’ll play will come out. Others, will want to make sure they’ll be playing the game for a while to ensure their money is well invested.
Of the last three Nintendo consoles, the Wii had the best launch lineup. It had Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as its heavy hitter, one that embraced the motion controls the Wii was trying to bring gamers too. It also had Wii Sports, which came with the console for free. While the Wii U had Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land, many gamers believed both titles weren’t up to the caliber Nintendo is known for, especially for Mario Bros U.
The NX needs to have at least one heavy hitter for launch, possibly more to be honest, as Nintendo needs to show that they’re ready to bring games at a good rate to new consoles. They have the time right now, they need to use it.
3. Consistent Release Of Games
So you launch the console, you have our attention. Now what? Well, you need to continue to show gamers that they have a reason to play the games. Both Wii and Wii U had sometimes incredibly long gaps between titles. Yes, when we got them, they were often bundled together, but there are times when there is months in between those titles that are hard to fill. For example, Splatoon came out in May. It was a big hit, and is continuing to be one of the most popular games on the system. The next big release? Was Super Mario Maker in September, essentially four months after Splatoon launched.
For the Wii, there was a major gap between the big titles, one which was later delayed. It’s fine to have a small gap between games, to allow breathing room, but to reserve a majority of games for the latter part of the year, though financially smart, does aggravate gamers. We want to play them as soon as we can. Yes, delays are understandable, but if we’re waiting and incredibly long time for a game, and there’s nothing to play in the meantime? What’s that say about the console?
If Nintendo can launch well with the NX, then maintain a consistent flow of games for the console, it’ll be better off almost immediately.
4. Third-Party Exclusives/Support
In some ways, this is the biggest wish on many people’s wishlist for the console.
Nintendo is known as one of the best when it comes to first-party exclusives. It’s almost literally what they do, and they’re very good at it. Through decades of growth, Nintendo has one of the biggest rosters in terms of gaming franchises. Because of this, they have a wealth of titles to choose from. Even if they don’t make a game for every franchise in a console generation, they usually do as many as they can, with many selling big.
But, first party support alone can’t do it alone. There are almost unlimited amounts of third-party developers out there, and all want to make games. What Nintendo needs to do with NX is showcase what makes it special, and bring them onboard for exclusives, or at the very least, ports of their games. The Wii U infamously lost key third-party party support after it started off to weak sales. Thankfully, there have been reports that Nintendo has shown off the console to many developers, and the overall response has been positive. If Nintendo can get some key exclusives, not only will that boost sales of both consoles and games, but it’ll encourage more partnerships, which in turn will help all involved.
One of the big partnerships for the Wii U era that many will remember is Nintendo teaming up with Platinum Studios. They made Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, and are now helping on Star Fox Zero. No doubt that teamup will continue long afterward. Who knows who might step up next?
5. Make Is Special, Then Use What Is Special About It
This one was big for the Wii U. There’s no doubt that the Wii U Gamepad was special. In fact, it was very useful in certain games, and it’s “off-screen” play was very innovative. However, there was just not enough games using this capability. Aside from the off-screen mode, which some games didn’t even use, the Gamepad just wasn’t used well in some cases. Which is sad, because when it did work, it worked well. Very well even. Gamers right now are praising how Xenoblade Chronicles X uses the Gamepad to great effect. Yet others just don’t bother, or bother in significant ways.
One of the mysteries of the NX is what Nintendo do/use to make is unique. The Wii had motion controls, the Wii U had the Gamepad. With HD graphics already a guarantee, Nintendo will need to do something else to gain immediate interest. Will it try to be an “all-in-one” system? Will it use the handhelds to its advantage? Or could Nintendo has something so different in mind that we honestly can’t even predict what they’re thinking? I honestly don’t have an answer, but I hope that whatever it is, Nintendo not only uses it to their full advantage, but encourages other developers to do the same.
Obviously, we don’t know what’s in store for the NX. Most likely, we’ll find out what’s coming in some form at the upcoming E3 in June. What I believe though, is that Nintendo will do it’s best to rebound from what happened with the Wii U. This is honestly what they do. They have a low point, and then rebound big. They did decent with Gamecube, then made the Wii and dominated. I think they got a little overconfident with Wii U, but because of what’s happening, they’ll use it to fuel themselves into making the NX the best possible console they can. This is what Nintendo does, and if they do the things above, and throw in a surprise or two? They’ll do much better next go round.