Nintendo is a very quiet company when compared to their competitors. An interview happens here, a Nintendo Direct happens there, but the time in between these major events are usually very spread out and the airwaves are generally free of any significant chatter. Because of that fact, whenever they do decide to speak, it’s always a big happening, and with their most recent announcements, that was certainly the case.
The surprise tease of the company’s next generation system, codenamed “NX,” has taken many aback, including myself. There were a million and one thoughts running through my head when I read the news. I even started unconsciously saying: “This is bad” over and over, for a few minutes. But then it hit me.
“What on earth am I getting all worked for?”
Yes, the news of the ‘NX’ certainly came out of left field, but when you calm down and actually think about it, there really isn’t much to worry about.
For starters, if you read the announcement, Mr. Iwata himself said that the only reason that he revealed the existence of the ‘NX’ was to ensure there wasn’t any confusion as to the direction Nintendo is taking with their video game business. This was a pretty clever move, as it shows that Iwata is aware of the way people have knee-jerk reactions to things like this, and it’s almost always negative. In other words, he didn’t want people thinking that Nintendo is now aggressively pushing towards mobile devices. Well played sir, well played indeed.
With that now being said, let’s also bring in this little but very important fact: Hardware manufactures never stop making hardware. Let’s use Apple as an example. Why do you think they can roll out a new iPhone every year? Do you think they just pull it out of thin air? That phone was more than likely in development mere weeks after it’s predecessor was done. Console development works in a similar fashion. When a console is completed, its successor is put on the drawing board not too long after. Nintendo themselves even stated this:
Our mentality is, fairly soon after we launch new hardware, we already begin thinking about what’s next.
Unlike phones and tablets, a single console can take years to develop; thus the reason why console generations tend to last 5+ years. Nintendo has followed this time frame ever since the NES. See for yourself:
Going by that timeline, it’s quite easy to see that no Wii U owner needs to lose sleep over the announcement of the NX. As surprising as it is, it’s not alarming; the console is at least 2 years away from being released. Not just that, but the immediate release of a new console is just a really bad idea.
If Nintendo were to release a new console next year, they would literally have to start from ground zero. The PS4 and XBOX One have pretty much settled into their positions. As of this writing, the PS4 stands at 20 million sales worldwide and the XBOX One is sitting in second at a little over 11 million. By 2016, the PS4 could easily be at 25+ million, and the XBOX One could be at 13+ million. If Nintendo were to release the Wii U’s successor next year, they’d have to deal with potentially 38 million competitors, give or take a few. That won’t be their only concern, though. What about 10+ million Wii U adopters? How do you think they would feel that after 4 years, their system is already put to bed? SEGA has so kindly vouched to be the example of how not to go about running a console business. While Nintendo is more financially stable than SEGA ever was, that doesn’t mean they’re immortal.
Nintendo would be fools to try and replace their current systems right now.
Nintendo has made some questionable decisions in the past, but we can be sure that releasing the NX isn’t one of them.he Wii U recently became a worthy addition to the Nintendo family, with its potential only being increased as 2015 moves forward. In other words, both of Nintendo’s current systems are in some really good positions right now, and Nintendo would be fools to mess that up.
So to all Wii U owners, calm down. Our little system isn’t going anywhere. And to those of you who are still sitting on the fence; what are you waiting for? Xenoblade Chronicles X, Zelda, Starfox and Splatoon are dropping this year —and that’s just what we know about. Do yourself a favor and buy a Wii U.