It’s no major secret that Nintendo’s Wii U sales have been through a struggle. The company fought diligently to bounce back from the console’s troubled launch, but some analysts have calculated a lifetime sales projection of 25 million units, which is far lower than what its competitors in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will likely end up generating. To combat the Wii U’s sluggish sums, Nintendo is planning to move away from the system earlier than expected, by working on their upcoming hardware code-named Nintendo NX.
Details for the Nintendo NX are scant, as all we really know is that the console is not Android based. And even though there are no titles officially lined up for the system, it’s safe to assume gamers will see the likes of Mario, Link, and at least Samus on the Nintendo NX. The last presumption in that series of characters is especially probable since game designer Kensuke Tanabe has previously made it clear there will be no true sequel to Metroid Prime until the new hardware comes out.
Bearing all of that in mind, a patent Nintendo filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office back on February 10, 2015 could give us a clue as to what direction the company is taking the NX. According to the filing, the patent involves the schematics of a system that lacks a disc drive, which could indicate that the forthcoming console is foregoing CD copies for games altogether. However, it may not eschew physical media entirely, as a card slot is also listed in the design plans, insinuating the use of SD memory cards.
An excerpt of the patent’s technical details explains:
“An example system includes an internal hard disk drive storing a program and/or data, a communication unit transmitting/receiving a program and/or data via a network, and a processor executing a program stored in the hard disk drive to perform game processing. The example system is not provided with an optical disk drive for reading out a program and/or data from an optical disk.”
Nintendo has yet to confirm such plans, and quite frankly, no one should hold their breath until they do. Companies file for patents all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to utilize them. It could just be a shrewd business move on Nintendo’s part to make sure they own the rights to the idea before another firm can get to it.
At any rate, if Nintendo wants to beat Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, they’re going to need to heed some of the steps Sony and Microsoft have taken in order to ensure their systems’ respective wins. That includes strong exclusives, better hardware, and a more traditional controller. Maybe some of our suggestions for the console will lead to success.
Although there has been no official announcement on the Nintendo NX‘s availability, a release rumor implies we’ll see a reveal of some sort in July 2016.