Nintendo NX mega guide: hardware, software, games, key players, release date, price and more

Updated with Nintendo NX release date and next The Legend of Zelda game

If you’re looking for all the latest speculation about the Nintendo NX then you’ve come to the right place my friend. We’ve fired up the patent pending T3 speculatron and extracted the latest information about the system’s capabilities, launch titles and unique features. So grab your Master Sword, don your Power Suit and let’s go questing in search of Nintendo's next gaming console.

What you'll find in this guide:

  • What is the Nintendo NX?
  • Put this date into your diary
  • Let’s talk about hardware and features
  • Cross-device software will rule the NX
  • Launch games would be nice Nintendo
  • Key franchises need to and should return
  • Who has Nintendo got working on the NX?
  • And you should start saving this amount of money

What is the Nintendo NX?

The Nintendo NX is the codename given to the gaming giant’s upcoming, next-generation video games console. The NX, which is set to follow the 2012-launched Wii U, has been described by Nintendo as a new "dedicated games platform with a brand new concept", while industry reports indicate that the system is set to bridge the gap between home and mobile gaming. Very little official information regarding the launch name for the system, as well as its final design and specs, has been announced though.

Put this date into your diary

Nintendo has already confirmed the NX will launch in March 2017 — the company skipped showing the console at E3 and instead opted to show the only confirmed launch game for the console, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which will come to Wii U and NX on the same day. The company is sure to have an event in the next couple months to delve deeper into what the NX is and what other games it will be launching with.

Let’s talk about hardware and features

This is where things get really interesting. All rumours have gone hand in hand with patents suggesting the NX will be a mobile console first, but will also be able to connect to your TV and give you a console experience while you’re at home.

What’s more the NX will have detachable controllers to allow for the most comfortable gaming hybrid experience. The Big N seems to be cutting down the manufacturing cost for the device by opting to use infrared cameras instead of electrical components for the device — this fits in line with the company's decision not to sell the NX at a loss.

The NX will reportedly also feature a modular controller…this all sounds very crazy, but that’s always Nintendo’s way. The company’s patents have been updated to show a controller featuring various configurations — allowing you to put both d-pads on one side of the system for instance. Nintendo is arguably the last company to still be doing couch co-op right — perhaps this could be a new way to have two or more people playing at once.

When the NX was initially rumoured there were tons of rumours flying around the console would be the most powerful on the market when it releases and would be capable of outputting 4K. As the dust settled it seems as though this was wishful thinking — the rumours suggest the NX is going to be a mobile console first and foremost that will have the added functionality of being able to connect to your TV, not the other way around.

Because of this, the development hardware of the NX is powered by a version of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip that also powers the company’s Shield console. Things get a little more complicated as the X1 powering the Shield uses is ‘passively cooled’ — this means parts of the hardware that don’t move will direct heat away from the processor of the unit. However according to Digital Foundry the development kits for the NX are ‘actively cooled’ which means that the processor powering Nintendo’s latest piece of hardware is running at a faster configuration than what’s currently on the market.

Although the NX could be using the most advanced chips out there, they are still designed for mobile devices. The Tegra X1 debuted last year with the hopes of delivering Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 graphics — consoles that had already been surpassed by the PS4 and Xbox One two years earlier. Even the fastest mobile chips will have trouble competing with a console that has a slower chip plugged into your wall. Perhaps the NX will feature some kind of high performance mode for when you’re at home to bump up the performance a notch.

Cross-device software will rule the NX

Ah, now this is important. The last pieces of information on that leaked survey indicated that Nintendo NX users could “connect with other Nintendo players around the world via the Nintendo Network” and “earn and share gaming achievements, triumphs and defeats with your gaming friends and the Nintendo gaming community”.

Now, on the face of it, this sounds pretty familiar to the functionality that the Wii U / 3DS has offered this generation. However, when you factor in the news that in 2014 Nintendo dropped a cool $150 million on a non-gaming technology company, in 2015 announced a partnership with Japanese mobile developer DeNA, and in 2016 released its first ever mobile app, Miitomo, which went on to scoop up more than three million users in just 24 hours, then a shift toward cross-platform/device software becomes clear.

Nintendo has also gone through pains to unify its Nintendo Network and Nintendo eShop accounts across its devices, while the new smartphone Miitomo app encourages you to link your account into it too. The Nintendo NX will take this to the next level, with its OS and software designed from the ground up to link into apps, games and software that exist on other devices.

Launch games would be nice Nintendo

Reports are claiming Nintendo has learned from the mistakes of Wii U and 3DS and will deliver a consistent lineup of first party games to keep the NX afloat for longer than just the console’s launch period. New Mario and Pokémon games will supposedly be delivered within six months of the NX being on the market — Nintendo is planning on firing heavily and regularly when it comes to games. The NX seems to be the console to finally unify Nintendo’s handheld and console lineups — no longer will their first party teams have to work on two different systems, there will finally be one place for all Nintendo games.

The gaming giant has supposedly garnered third party support for the NX with the likes of Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Activision and Warner Bros already on board with the system. It’s still unclear whether third parties will be porting their games straight over to the NX or if they will be creating unique experiences for the console itself. With that said, although the NX is meant to sit between the current and last generation of consoles in terms of power, being able to take an experience on the go could be the trump card against a better looking version on another console. Nintendo will want to keep third party support on the NX and not have them abandon the console like those that came before it. The terrible sales numbers for the Wii U have shown you don’t just buy a Nintendo console for Nintendo games.

Key franchises need to and should return

Nintendo has been in the industry for a long time and has the heritage Microsoft and Sony doesn't — just looking at some of their iconic characters gives players from the 80s, 90s and 2000s that nostalgic feeling that’s irresistible. But Nintendo has to remember there is a whole generation of players that don’t know what Metroid or F-Zero is — that’s why the company has to focus on giving their dedicated fans the franchises they want while also getting new franchises to the console like Splatoon did on the Wii U.

So who has Nintendo got working on the NX?

Well, following Iwata’s passing, Nintendo created two new positions in the company: Creative Fellow and Technology Fellow. These positions are filled by legendary games creator Shigeru Miyamoto (responsible for the creation of Mario, Donkey Kong and the Legend of Zelda) and console design wizard Genyo Takeda. Both of these figures are working on the Nintendo NX, as well as various other projects involving the long-term future of the Nintendo.

Tatsumi Kimishima, the current Nintendo president, has also confirmed that Hideki Konno and Yoshiaki Koizumi are both working on the Nintendo NX. Konno is currently development head of Nintendo EAD Software Development Group No.1 (so the best of the best at Nintendo) and has previously directed the original Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, F-Zero X, Luigi’s Mansion and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Koizumi, the guy who directed Super Mario Galaxy, produced Super Mario 3D World and worked on basically every Zelda game since 1991, is currently working on undisclosed projects at Nintendo’s head office in Tokyo, Japan.

Basically, there is the crème de la crème of Nintendo software and hardware development working on the Nintendo NX and that is something to really get excited about.

And you should start saving this amount of money

Unlike previous consoles, Nintendo has already said it won’t sell the NX at a loss. Usually a manufacturer will sell hardware cheap then make money back on software, but this won’t be the case with Nintendo’s latest console. Although the console isn't going to be quite as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, it will be the most powerful handheld ever made. Being able to take games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild out the house isn't going to come cheaply — just think of the battery needed to keep the NX running…

The PlayStation 4 Neo and Xbox Scorpio are just on the horizon and are going to make the previous two versions of both consoles much cheaper. The NX will be competing with all of these to win over gamers but if the console has the same third party games but allows you to take them on the go with you then that could be what sets the NX apart both in terms of performance and price. You won’t be getting your hands on the NX for anything less than £249.99 with a more realistic price estimate for the console at £299.99.

Nintendo never sells software cheaply either, so just like previous console generations, you’ll be seeing games come out at high prices and then hold their value for a very long time — so make sure you’ve got enough saved for March next year.

This guide will be regularly updated throughout 2016 to reflect the latest Nintendo NX announcements.