Nintendo is launching its newest console, the Nintendo NX, in less than a year – in March of 2017, in fact. We also know nothing about this “brand new concept” of a console.
Does that terrify you a little bit? No? Well, it probably should.
Whereas other companies have often announced a console and released it within a year, Nintendo is generally averse to launching its console so soon after announcing one. The Wii U, for example, made an appearance at both E3 2011 and E3 2012 before it launched for the public. The 3DS, which originally launched in March of 2011 in North America, was featured widely during the previous year’s E3. In the past, Nintendo has generally allowed at least nine months, and often up to 18 months, to move from initial console reveal to launch.
This time, however, Nintendo is playing its cards differently – and that is terrifying. The company stated last night that the NX will not appear at E3.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Nintendo, a company largely dismissed by the mainstream media nowadays, yet a company that is attempting to capture the mainstream market, is skipping the largest gaming event by the year. No, E3 is not the biggest game convention out there by sheer size. But, when it comes to mainstream media attention, it far dwarfs any other expo by a mile. E3 is a time when CNN, The Huffington Post, and Time Magazine all write articles about video games.
Let’s consider for a moment that the PS4.5 is an actual console, and it is fully revealed during Sony’s E3 conference this June. The mainstream media, from the New York Times to the Washington Post will distribute to its millions of readers information about the brand new console coming in the fall.
Except… that brand new console is not the NX, which is so important to Nintendo, but a revision of an already-existing home console.
Nintendo also misses out on one huge advantage of announcing console details ahead of time: fan feedback.
Remember how the Xbox One was first announced? Remember the massive fan retaliation that took place in May? After such negative public outcry concerning the new console, Microsoft completely shifted its focus during E3. The company ended up conducting a 90-minute conference centered on just games. The company reversed many of its decisions, and although the Xbox One is still lagging behind considerably compared to the PS4, the console is performing a far cry better than it would if it were still in its original state.
Now, consider the new Nintendo NX. What if there is some sort of huge deficiency with the console, or a decision that fans would not appreciate. Announcing the console early enough would allow Nintendo to change features and parts of a console that its fanbase finds disagreeable. Who know, maybe if Nintendo listened to its fanbase and renamed the Wii U, the launch period could have gone differently.
Overall, Nintendo is wading through very dangerous and uncharted territory. Launching a console requires months of preparation, marketing, and public relations. Moreover, skipping the most mainstream gaming event of the year surely does not do the company any favors.
So, I reiterate this statement of fact: The NX launches in less than a year, and we have no idea when we will know what it is.