It's not often days like this come around. First, we get news that Nintendo will be developing smartphone games - an apocalyptic announcement if ever there was one. But as the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata also announced another interesting piece of information during this morning's hasty press conference - news that has us a heck of a lot more excited, and should have you bouncing off the walls too. The big N are already hard at work on a brand new console. And we'll get to know more soon*
The slide above is taken from Nintendo's presentation to investors this morning, from a section talking about the new, unified user account system that Nintendo is planning on running. Along with the Wii U, 3DS, PC, tablet and smartphones (all useful devices for accessing your account, checking what friends are online, and sending messages), it also makes mention of the Nintendo NX - a brand new "dedicated game system" from Nintendo.
Iwata further elaborated, describing the NX as "a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept", which sounds a little bit ambiguous at best. But, there's actually a surprising amount we can gleam from this little snippet of information.
Firstly, which console is it going to replace? The odds on favourite here would be the 3DS, which has had its three hardware revisions - we've had the 3DS, 3DS XL, and now the new 3DS. Nintendo hardware typically tends to go through three revisions before we get the next console - we had the Game Boy Advance -> Game Boy Advance SP -> Game Boy Micro, and the DS -> DS Lite -> DSi - so the chances are high that the Nintendo NX will be a successor to the 3DS. But is that all it will be?
Iwata kept making references to the "new concept" that this new console will have - and that sounds suspiciously like the older rumour that's been banded about the internet about the Nintendo Fusion. If you haven't already, you really should read our run down of the Fusion rumour. While many wrote the rumour off as nothing more than fanboy dreaming, it's starting to feel like there may be more to it than we'd expected.
More than just a cool name, the Fusion was rumoured to combine a handheld console and home console into one. You could play a game on the big screen, and then when you had to go out, you could pick up your handheld and start playing.
Codenamed "Fusion Terminal" and "Fusion DS", these were two separate, yet intrinsically linked devices. The Fusion Terminal, as the home console component, came with specs that were much closer to those seen on the PS4 or Xbox One, with a powerful 8-core processor, an equally capable graphics card, and tonnes of RAM. Interestingly, it also would apparently come with a few more interesting features - like backwards compatibility with Wii U games (something essential to avoid annoying Wii U early adopters), support for up to four Wii U GamePads, a 3DS card slot (for playing 3DS games on the telly), and even inductive charging...
The Terminal DS, meanwhile, sounds like the love-child of the PS Vita and the 3DS, with another huge upgrade in terms of specifications, featuring two widescreen displays, along with an NFC reader (for the amiibo figures, presumably), a gyroscope for motion controller games, and even a thumbprint security scanner. We'll be disappointed if they do switch to capacitative, smartphone style touch-screens though, as that'd mean we (likely) couldn't use a stylus.
So, to recap, what do we know for sure? Nintendo are hard at work on a console called the Nintendo NX - a console that will apparently come with a "brand-new" concept. Could that concept be a docking station/handheld combination? Could this be a 3DS and Wii U successor in one? Is this just a rumour, or is there more to it? Only time will tell - and unfortunately, it'll be a lot longer wait than we'd hoped, with Iwata saying they'll only be ready to reveal more next year.
For those of you who know your technical stuff, we've re-posted the rumoured tech specs below. What do you make of all this?
Fusion Terminal (Console)
- GPGPU: Custom Radeon HD RX 200 GPU CODENAME LADY (2816 shaders @ 960 MHz, 4.60 TFLOP/s, Fillrates: 60.6 Gpixel/s, 170 Gtexel/s)
- CPU: IBM 64-Bit Custom POWER 8-Based IBM 8-Core Processor CODENAME JUMPMAN (2.2 GHz, Shared 6 MB L4 cache)
- Co-CPU: IBM PowerPC 750-based 1.24 GHz Tri-Core Co-Processor CODENAME HAMMER
- MEMORY: 4 Gigabytes of Unified DDR4 SDRAM CODENAMED KONG, 2 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1600 MHz (12.8 GB/s) On Die CODENAMED BARREL
- 802.11 b/g/n Wireless
- Bluetooth v4.0 BLE
- 2 USB 3.0
- 1 Coaxial Cable Input
- 1 CableCARD Slot
- 4 Custom Stream-Interface Nodes up to 4 Wii U GamePads
- Versions with Disk Drive play Wii U Optical Disk (4 Layers Maximum), FUSION Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) and Nintendo 3DS Card Slot
- 1 HDMI 2.0 1080p/4K Port
- Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
- Inductive Charging Surface for up to 4 FUSION DS or IC-Wii Remote Plus Controllers
- Two versions: Disk Slot Version with 60 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage and Diskless Version with 300 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage
Fusion DS (Handheld)
- CPU: ARMv8-A Cortex-A53 GPU: Custom Adreno 420-based AMD GPU
- COM MEMORY: 3 GB LPDDR3 (2 GB Games, 1 GB OS)
- 2 130 mm DVGA (960 x 640) Capacitive Touchscreen
- Slide Out Design with Custom Swivel Tilt Hinge
- Upper Screen made of Gorilla Glass, Comes with Magnetic Cover
- Low End Vibration for Gameplay and App Alerts
- 2 Motorized Circle Pads for Haptic Feedback
- Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback
- 2 1mp Stereoptic Cameras
- Multi-Array Microphone
- A, B, X, Y, D-Pad, L, R, 1, 2 Buttons
- 3 Axis Tuning Fork Gyroscope, 3 Axis Accelerometer, Magnetometer
- NFC Reader
- 3G Chip with GPS Location
- Bluetooth v4.0 BLE Command Node used to Interface with Bluetooth Devices such as Cell Phones, Tablets
- 16 Gigabytes of Internal Flash Storage (Possible Future Unit With 32 Gigabytes)
- Nintendo 3DS Cart Slot
- SDHC "Holographic Enhanced" Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit
- Mini USB I/O
- 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery