When Nintendo announced plans for a new home console, codenamed NX, they did so in an effort to calm fans. The company knew that its partnership with DeNA for mobile games would draw questions regarding a fully-fledged console pullout, but rather than leave those floating in the ether, Nintendo addressed them head-on.
However, confirming a new console so early has also left Nintendo in a tricky spot. Since the NX is unlikely to release before fall 2016, there isn’t much the company can confirm or deny about its feature set. That isn’t stopping reports from speculating on the matter, though, like today’s claim that the NX console will support either Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) when it launches.
According to a highly speculative report from Digi-Capital, Nintendo’s NX console will not pursue VR or AR in the traditional sense – i.e. by shipping with its own headset. Rather, the financial and investment site believes that Nintendo will capitalize on its partnership with DeNA by designing a smartphone-based VR solution.
While the source has no factual basis for their claims, only trend analysis, Digi-Capital believes that we could be looking at a Samsung Gear VR type implementation for the NX console. For those who might not be familiar, the Samsung Gear headset takes specific smartphones, in this case Samsung branded phones, and uses them as the VR screen. The phone does all of the legwork and processing, and the headset itself can be sold at a relatively affordable price.
Although the prospect of Nintendo investing in a console with a “gimmick” makes sense given their track record, it’s hard to believe the company would enter a market that is well and truly crowded already. From Oculus to Sony to Microsoft, half a dozen companies are trying to capture a slice of the VR pie, and that’s assuming there is a pie to be had. If the NX were to be another VR solution, then that would put Nintendo severely behind the curve, much like they were when the Wii U launched.
For now the Nintendo NX is mostly a mystery, and the company is unlikely to show their cards any time soon. The untimely passing of President Satoru Iwata has forced Nintendo to focus on its corporate structure first and foremost, before eventually looking towards the future. But, that future could be very bright depending on how Nintendo positions the NX. There seems to be a lot of hope within the Nintendo fan base that this new console will turn things around.
Do you think Nintendo’s NX console will be VR or AR based? What would get you interested in the upcoming console?