10 things I want from the NX
With the NX set to launch in March 2017, and our first look at the console not likely to happen until after E3 (sigh…), here are some things I would like to see from the console:
Power: The PS4 and XBox One have been out for over 2 years now. If the NX doesn’t at least match up to them in terms of specs this won’t just put off consumers, but third parties too. Third parties will find it difficult to port their releases to the NX if the power isn’t equivalent – something both the Wii and Wii U suffered from.
Get the name right: The naming and branding of the Wii U was a shambles. Most casual consumers thought it was an add-on for the original. Calling it the Wii2 would probably have doubled its sales. The NX either needs to start with a new brand, or mark itself as a true successor to the Wii.
Achievement system: Microsoft’s achievement system was one of the biggest game-changers of the previous generation. Sony were right to quickly jump aboard the bandwagon with the Trophy system, recognising the significance of an overall ‘score’ for the player. Nintendo however have remained blind to its importance, with the Wii U inexplicably launching without an equivalent in place.
Legitimate online experience: It’s taken far too long for Nintendo to get up and running in the online domain. The original Xbox had better online functionality than the Wii. The Wii U represented an important step forward, but it’s still a far cry from what gamers have come to expect. If the NX launches without a robust online framework in place, it will suffer. Thankfully, Nintendo seem to have finally acknowledged how important this element is, with the success of Mitomo and the Wii U’s community indicating they’ve finally joined the rest of us in the 21st century. Similarly…
Have a fantastic e-shop from the get-go: One thing Nintendo has that neither of the other two big boys have is a 25-year strong back-catalogue of classics, that people have shown they are willing to pay for again and again. Bafflingly, none of the e-shops present on the 3DS, Wii or Wii U have capitalised on this, trickling releases out over months, frustrating everyone. Worse, there isn’t any cross-buy feature in place; something that’s been an industry standard for years. If someone buys a game on their 3DS, they shouldn’t have to buy it again for their NX. Give us one account.
Forget handheld: Nintendo’s grip on the handheld market has always been strong, and the company has always looked to bridge the gap between their home consoles and handheld equivalents. The GameCube/GBA connectivity was pushed hard by Nintendo, with Pac-Man VS dominating their now-infamous 2003 conference. The Wii U was something of a hybrid of the two experiences, but failed for well-documented reasons.
For me, it feels like Nintendo has always wanted the consumer to crave this connectivity, rather than actually listening to what their market wants. I am not bothered about handheld connectivity personally, and with the 3DS having its work cut out in the smartphones-dominant mobile experience, I’m not sure the NX trying to fit in here will be successful. Nintendo should make the NX focus on being a home console played in living rooms, and not try to confuse consumers with a dual-function. Something that would also inevitably affect the power/price of the system.
Backwards compatibility: Make the console backwards compatible with Wii U, Wii and ideally GameCube games. Wii U adopters already feel hard-done-by, and are unlikely to invest again unless their last purchase isn’t made completely obsolete.
Storage: 250GB minimum. No two-console options at launch.
One controller: A big pitfall of the Wii U was it’s confusing controller setup. So I have one gamepad, but can’t use two? Do I use the Wiimotes? With or without Nunchucks? What’s this pro controller? What about the Wii’s classic controller? Wait, now GameCube controllers can be used? It was a mess. Far too confusing for the average gamer, let alone the average casual consumer. Make it compatible with older controllers purely for backwards compatibility purposes, and take a one-controller-fits-all approach for new games. Hell, a tweaked GameCube controller would suffice for most.
Killer apps at launch: A Zelda Wii U port is not enough. A party game compilation attempting to re-create the Wii Sports magic is not enough. This console needs A Super Mario 64 at launch, a brand new AAA title, and ideally a number of quality third-party efforts alongside it.
Those are my thoughts on the NX – and it inevitably turned into a bit of a rant about the Wii U… what do you think the NX needs to do to succeed?