Nintendo NX – Plan A

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NX Plans:  With NX information coming next year, we’re all kind of curious to what approach Nintendo will make with their next console/device.  I’ve decided to have fun with this and speculate different plans/options Nintendo could have when releasing the NX.  None of this is actually based on information from Nintendo, this is not a leak, this is speculation and strategy ideas.  Over the next week I will be posting at least 4 different strategy plans laying out objectives and how it is expected to succeed.

Plan A
Plan B
Plan C


Plan A’s Objective:
To release a low cost system that re-introduces the Nintendo brand and franchises to gamers, families and new audiences.  A new console that is a re-branding of the Wii U, does not require a GamePad and has a faster improved operating system. The NX will also support a portable option through another hardware device (“NX GO”).  The 3DS has sold 55million worldwide and the Wii U has sold 10million world wide currently.  The portable’s market has shrunk from the previous generation (DS sold 153 million) and Nintendo’s market share in the console has decreased from 37% to 19% (still decreasing).  Combining the cross-functionality of the portable and console will allow the strengths of both to combine and hopefully exceed the current 3DS + Wii U sales totals.  Pushing digital purchases and opening up the back catalog of Nintendo franchises will allow more profitable sales from software.  The goal is to get Nintendo and it’s franchises back in the minds of consumers before the NEXT generation (PS5 & XB2?) launches.  The Wii U will be phased out, but still receive support when the NX is released, this is to instill confidence in consumers that Nintendo doesn’t abandon their products.  The NX will be priced closely to the the Wii U’s phasing out MSRP.


System Specs:
Slightly more powerful than Wii U.  Does not have to meet the power/standards of the Playstation 4 and XBox One.  Requires more processing power than a Wii U in order to better handle an operating system with an active interface. Extra RAM will be required to support streaming and recording functionality.  Graphical abilities are practically the same as the Wii U.


Format:
Physical discs, same format as the Wii U. Digital purchases also available from the eShop


Backwards Compatibility:
The NX will play all Wii U discs and Wii U digital titles.  The NX however will not come with a Game Pad, those will have to be purchased with a Wii U.  A new Game Pad might also be released for sale separately. If a model is released separately it would be manufactured and sold at a lower cost, no new additions or functionality.

Wii U games that don’t use functionality of the Game Pad touch screen such as Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Super Mario 3D World or Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze will play fine on the TV through the Wii U, a GamePad will not be required.  Wii U games that use some touch screen functionality but it is not required such as Splatoon, Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2 will also be playable without the GamePad.  Wii U games that require use of the touch screen functionality like Super Mario Maker, Kirby and The Rainbow Curse and Nintendoland would require the GamePad and this would be warned and visibly noted on the eShop sales page.


Simultaneous Releases on Wii U & NX:
At first, NX games that are equal in power to Wii U games will also be released on the Wii U.  This is similar to how the GameCube & Wii both released The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This is also to make sure the Wii U isn’t perceived as dead or that Wii U owners were left to sink. Nintendo will no longer manufacture Wii U consoles and eventually will stop selling Wii U copies and phase the system out, similar to how the DS replaced the GBA (with backwards compatibility and all).


Retro Games Through Virtual Console:
The NX will play games from Nintendo’s past library’s digitally through the Virtual Console.  While technically this isn’t a form of backwards compatibility, it is a way for NX owners to play games from past Nintendo consoles such as NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, DS, and 3DS.  The library will include a large amount of games from the first day of release, including all Nintendo games currently on the Wii U & 3DS Virtual Console.  Third Parties will be welcomed and strongly encouraged to release their past games on the Virtual Console, the idea is to re-create the game libraries from all of these past consoles.  Creating something of a digital all-in-one Nintendo console and store.

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The “NX GO”:
The Nintendo NX will be a console similar to the size of the Wii U but will have a different appearance, not to get confused with the Wii or Wii U.  There will also however be a model that we’ll call the “Nintendo NX GO”.

This will be a portable version of the NX, but it will mainly be for handheld play.  This model could be around 50% more expensive than the regular NX model.  Those who purchase a Nintendo NX GO are expected to be more of the dedicated gamer, and more likely to purchase the GO.  The NX GO would be able to handle the graphic capabilities of all NX games and all eShop purchases would also appear on the NX GO.  The NX GO would also be able to connect and display on TV.  This could either be accomplished through an HDMI port or by a wireless Chromecast-type of device sold separately.

Even though the NX GO will add portability into the equation, it will have it’s limitations that the console doesn’t.  The NX GO will not allow hosting local multiplayer games like a regular console will.  The NX GO will not be able to host other devices such as controllers or an NX Console.  This means the NX GO will only be able to host local multiplayer that includes other NX GO devices.  In other words, if 4 friends want to sit on the couch and play NX together, they’ll either need 1 NX Console hosting 4 Controllers (current standard) or they’ll need 4 NX GO’s all connected together (similar to 3DS’ local play).  A NX GO can be connected to a NX Console and used as an additional controller.

The NX GO will also not be able to stream games online, and will be unable to record video.  The NX GO will also not be able to play physical copies as it will be entirely digital.

The NX GO will have one screen and be able to connect to the NX Console as a controller.  It can function as a standard controller or as a replacement for a Wii U GamePad when playing Wii U games on the NX Console.  The NX GO will not be able to play DS or 3DS games without connecting to a TV through the NX Console, HDMI port, or the wireless device sold separately.  The only way to use the NX GO to play Wii U games requiring the GamePad is also going to require connecting to a TV.  The NX GO will be used as the bottom screen.


Game Development:
Since the NX’s power and architecture would be similar to the Wii U, the transition of game development from the Wii U should go smoothly.  Games that began on Wii U will be able to move over to NX with ease and development tools will be familiar for new games.  The “NX GO” will introduce the console market to third party developers and franchises usually seen on the 3DS. To get an idea of what a release schedule would look like, combine both 3DS & Wii U’s line up from the past couple of years.  All of the games available on one platform and the possibility of being a home console, a handheld or both.  Just like on the 3DS & Wii U, since the hardware is unique, most games would probably end up being exclusive to the platform.  It’s assumed development for NX would also be cheaper than the PS4/XB1, and it would allow publishers/developers to sell 1 game/license over 2 devices (NX & NX GO).  The idea is to be low-risk and profitable.  The third party support would be different than the Playstation 4, XBOne and PC but still be able to create a serviceable line-up, similar to the 3DS.


Game Distribution:
Physical copies will still be printed, copies will be manufactured as closely to pre-order numbers as possible.  Digital purchases are more profitable and will be more encouraged, digital releases could also see earlier release while physical copies are manufactured to meet specific demands.

There will be an increase of “collector’s editions” that include bonus physical items such as amiibo, art work, or other “collectables.”  This will cause an increase in price for those that want to collect physical copies, customers receive more items while the company is increasing profit.  Digital purchases will  be able to keep the standard MSRP of $59.99 and appear as a better deal than a physical copy that is $79.99 and comes with a collectible item. This could also possibly make incomplete used copies less appealing.

Digital will also connect to your MyNintendo account and allow cross-system functionality and reward benefits.


My Nintendo Services:
Nintendo’s “MyNintendo” account will track all of the customers digital purchases and digital libraries.  Customers will be able to create a family account that allows up to 4 different profiles to access downloaded games on up to 4 different registered devices.   Online functionality such as multiplayer will only be accessible to one profile per game at once.  If the customer wants to allow all 4 profiles to go online with 1 shared copy, they will have to either pay for some sort of membership, or pay an extra $5 – $10 per profile.  The idea is that this is better than requiring a household to purchase 4 copies of the same game (unlikely) but also allowing to charge for 4 devices using the same game license.  There will be one main account and one primary device.  Other devices must register with and locally check-in or receive signal from the primary device every 7 days?  30 days?  As a way to deter people from sharing a “family account” across different households.

MyNintendo will include a rewards program that gives back credit in the eShop.  Something similar to receiving a $5 credit for every $500 spent.

Miiverse Functionality will be improved and more interaction on the NX.  Players will be able to stream, post videos, screenshots and have discussion in the Miiverse Communities.  This will also be accessible from a desktop or mobile device.  Online guides and wiki’s will be a possibility too.  Players will be able to share play statistics (Time Played, Favorite Game, etc) and some sort of “Achievement” system will be present.


Launch Titles:
The NX will launch simultaneously with new games, and re-launched Wii U games. An example of some new games are the following:

  • Zelda 2016 – This is the game currently being shown for Wii U.  This game will launch at the same time on both NX and Wii U.  The NX version will be advertised more and manufactured.  This is similar to Twilight Princess on the GameCube & Wii
  • Pikmin 4 – This will also release on the Wii U, it will also be manufactured and advertised less on the Wii U.  It could possibly see a digital release earlier on the NX.
  • Animal Crossing – This will release simultaneously for the NX and Wii U.  The NX version will allow more expanded Miiverse and MyNintendo functionality and this will be promoted more since Animal Crossing is a “social game”.  The ability to play with a NX GO will also appear as additional reason to upgrade from a Wii U
  • Mario Kart 8 NX – This game will be exactly like Mario Kart 8 for Wii U except it will come with the DLC Packs from the Wii U
  • Super Smash Bros. for NX – This game will be exactly like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U except it will come with all of the additional DLC from the Wii U.  It’s similar to a “GOTY  Edition”
  • Splatoon NX – IF Splatoon ever starts charging for DLC, this would be the Wii U version of Splatoon with the extra paid DLC.

Making a dream launch line-up is something to avoid here, but this is being used to show how the NX can release re-branded Wii U games for those that missed out on the Wii U.  The NX can also release games simultaneously with Wii U, and Wii U owners could look into a NX GO instead of the NX.  Customers will also see the continued support of the Wii U as something that will make them more confident in the NX support later on.


Price Point:
NX Console = $149.99 w/no games – I know this sounds ridiculously low but remember this system is going to be just slightly more powerful than the Wii U just for it’s operating system.  It’s also not going to come with a GamePad.  The Wii U is currently 3 years old and retailing for $249.99 with a GamePad and 2 Games (Splatoon & Smash Bros).   If you cut out the GamePad and 2 Games, I don’t see why the NX Console couldn’t be just a tad more powerful and launch around $150.  The NX Console is basically a re-branded Wii U that is used to rebuild Nintendo’s brand and franchise power until the next generation is ready to go.  The console could also come in a bundle format with a game for around $199.99

NX GO = $224.99 w/no games – This price might need to be as high as $249.99 but the goal is to get around $224.99.  Without a second screen or 3D functionality taking up costs, Nintendo should be able to cram more power into this portable and let it hang with the Wii U (which is close to the tech of the 10+ year old XBox 360).


Feedback:  What problems do you have with this plan?  What would you like to see improved?  What is missing or being overlooked?  Would you purchase the NX under this situation?  If you have any questions or concerns on how this would work out, please comment below ask. I’ll update with a “FAQ” or “Good Questions” section and provide the possible answers or work around.

Posted on November 20, 2015, in Featured Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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