Despite recent speculation, Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima explains that the company’s upcoming gaming platform the NX, won’t simply “replace” the Wii U or 3DS.
Earlier this week, Nintendo officially announced that its upcoming gaming platform, the NX, would launch globally in March 2017. While the company has yet to reveal the device’s real name (‘NX’ is just a codename for now) or even offer a glimpse of what the console looks like, that hasn’t stopped some from suggesting that it is set to replace the Nintendo Wii U, or the company’s handheld games console the 3DS. The fact that The Legend of Zelda has now been pushed back and will now launch in 2017 for the Wii U and the NX, has also helped to stoke this speculation.
However, Nintendo wants to put this theory to rest. Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has said that the NX “won’t simply replace” the Wii U or the 3DS. This according to a tweet by Takashi Mochizuki, a Tokyo-based reported for the Wall Street Journal.
Not everyone is taking Kimishima’s words at face value, though, as the Nintendo CEO also recently said that Wii U production could end in 2018. One thing is for sure, the NX will succeed the Wii U as Nintendo’s next console, but whether or not it will incorporate a handheld element is not yet confirmed.
Some have also theorized that Kimishima is keeping quiet about the company’s plans to avoid hurting Wii U and 3DS sales. In Nintendo’s fiscal year, which ended on March 31, the company’s earnings were down by a huge 60% and revenue was down 8%, so anything to increase those numbers is ill-advised.
Despite the sales of Splatoon and Super Mario Maker (which sold almost 8 million copies between them), just 3.26 million Wii U units were sold in the last 12 months. The 3DS didn’t fare any better either, shifting only 6.79 million units. While games like Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer were deemed successful (they sold 3.04 million and 122 million, respectively), Nintendo says overall 3DS sales have halted due to a “lack of major titles.”
Critics argue that these latest financial numbers show that Nintendo needs new hardware to replace its struggling systems. This perhaps also explains why Nintendo is taking such an outlandish approach with the NX.
Former Nintendo CEO, the late Satoru Iwata, said that expanding on existing hardware is “dull” and that Nintendo is “always” thinking about how it can “surprise” its players, also saying that the company has a desire to “change each person’s video gaming life.” If the NX is being envisioned as a replacement to the Wii U and the 3DS, then perhaps Nintendo will be able to spark new interest from consumers and improve its profits.