With a new Nintendo console confirmed to be under development, there are high hopes that it will deliver in ways that the Wii U didn’t and couldn’t. A lot is riding on the tentatively named Nintendo NX…
The Wii U had its fair share of great games, my favorite being Super Smash Bros., but there were a number of major issues that rendered it a non-contender in a console war that included the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A new system wars involving the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is now in full force, and Nintendo can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes with the NX.
- Nintendo Reveals Goal for Designing Nintendo NX Console
- Nintendo NX Doesn’t Have Optical Disc Drive?
- Nintendo NX Console Will Not Compete With PS4 in Power
That said, here are five things (in no specific order) the Nintendo NX console should have in order to be more of a challenge to the Xbox One and PS4 than the Wii U was to the Xbox 360 and PS3:
1. Sufficient Graphical and Computing Power
The Wii U was not a weak console per se, but it was still weaker than the Xbox 360 and PS3 when it launched at the tail end of the last console war… you know, when Microsoft and Sony were just about ready to retire their aging, much-more successful consoles.
The Wii U’s relatively weak system specs discouraged third-party developers from making games for it and gamers from buying it, with both groups believing that the more powerful Xbox One and PS4 delivered a better gaming experience courtesy of the larger, more detailed and more immersive gaming worlds they were able to provide.
To appease finicky gamers, Nintendo can’t afford to make the NX notably less powerful than the Xbox One or PS4. It doesn’t have to be above and beyond those two systems spec-wise, but it shouldn’t be blatantly underpowered either.
2. Stronger Dedication to a Unique Selling Point
Nintendo has something big in store for gamers with the NX console, something that will probably be as innovative and impactful as the first Wii’s motion controller. While we currently don’t know what that something is, let’s just hope the company does a better job at making it a unique selling point than it did with the Wii U’s touchscreen gamepad.
Rather than make it the console’s key success factor, Nintendo mostly pushed the Wii U’s controller into the background, giving up on it early due to the plethora of criticisms it received for being too “gimmicky” and, thus, rendering the console nothing more than an underpowered gaming machine with great first-party titles but nothing else. Nintendo Land is probably the only game that fully utilized the power of the touchscreen gamepad, and it was a lunch title!
If Nintendo is to introduce another unique controller or some other industry-defining feature with the NX, let’s hope they back it up with an array of games built specifically with that controller. Such dedication will give the new console a competitive edge.
3. Greater Emphasis on Online Features
To this day, the Xbox Live arguably still offers gamers the best online experience, and while Sony has come a long way in making the PlayStation Network a solid competitor, Nintendo still lags behind the competition by a long mile. The Wii U’s games have mediocre online functionality at best and that’s a major issue that must be addressed with the NX.
It’s unacceptable that a game as good as Mario Kart 8 doesn’t grant you the ability to talk with your friends in-game while racing, instead only allowing you to do so in the pre- and post-match lobbies. Xbox Live and PSN have those capabilities and then some…
As a children-oriented company — more so than Microsoft and Sony, at least — stubborn old Nintendo has always been reluctant to introduce voice chat due to the problems it could potentially present for its younger players. While that is completely understandable, allowing voice chat between players who are on each other’s’ friends lists seems fair and, frankly, isn’t too much to ask for.
The Wii U could have greatly benefited from Nintendo loosening its shackles when it came to online play, especially when considering it as a few notable games — Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. and Splatoon — that could have easily become some of the most iconic and memorable online games of the last console generation had there been unrestricted communication between players. This is a mistake they cannot afford to repeat with the Nintendo NX.
4. More Mature Image, Encourage Third-Party Support
Every Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64 has been stigmatized for being too childish — that is, featuring a lineup predominately aimed at children. That image has cost Nintendo to lose favor with both mature gamers and first-person developers, and is one they probably can’t afford to saddle the NX with.
Frankly, I find nothing overly childish about most of the games the company makes, but their rated E labeling undoubtedly makes them less appealing to average gamers. Rated M games are all the rage these day, even with kids, so it wouldn’t hurt Nintendo to venture more into that territory with the Nintendo NX.
Support from Third-party publishers and developers will be paramount, and the company must do everything in its power to make the platform as inviting to them as possible. Just imagine what impact Nintendo’s first-party games in combination in combination with AAA titles from the likes of Activision, EA, Ubisoft and Take-Two will have on the NX…
I am sure Nintendo fans want to be able to play Call of Duty, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto…
5. Improved, More Comprehensive Virtual Console
As company with a more storied history than any other in the video game industry, Nintendo has a back catalog of games that easily puts to shame those of Sony and Microsoft, and we are surprised they don’t exploit that key advantage.
Ask yourself this: How many Xbox 360 or PS3 games would you still want to play a few years down the line as opposed to Wii U games? Your answer to that question is probably “very few, if any” and that’s because the majority of the best games on those two consoles have either had sequels or are going to have sequels that render them obsolete, can be purchased on the PC, or have had remakes/remastered versions.
With a huge library of first- and third-party games dating all the way back to the ’80s, Nintendo stands unrivaled in terms of games with strong replay value. A game like Smash Bros. Wii U, for instance, has unprecedented replay value and might be the last Smash Bros. game ever made.
It’s shocking then that their Virtual Console has, until recently, been pretty lackluster at aggregating these games for gamers to enjoy. If — along with a plethora of brand-new games — the Nintendo NX launches with an improved Virtual Console complete with 50 to 100 ports of old Nintendo games, a lot of gamers, let alone Nintendo fans, will be very happy campers. This selection of games could even include those never released in North America (e.g. Mother 3) and possibly old Sega Genesis, Saturn and Dreamcast titles if Nintendo and Sega worked together again.
As lifelong Nintendo fans, we want nothing more than to see the Nintendo NX be a success. Now that you have read our top 5 things that need to be done, what are yours?