The PlayStation 4 “Neo” leaked, the Xbox One “Scorpio” was mooted, and now it’s Nintendo’s turn, with Eurogamer getting the scoop on the NX’s unusual hybrid portable design and reporting in quite comprehensive detail.
The main takeaways are that this is not a traditional console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, with Nintendo once again aiming to do something quite different. Eurogamer’s sources say that it’s a portable device first and foremost, with a tablet-esque display that has detachable control elements on either side, like a more modular version of the Wii U’s Gamepad. A base station can then be used to connect this to your TV and play games on the big screen.
However, the actual brains of the device are within the handheld screen, making this a portable device first and foremost. That doesn’t mean that they will necessarily have to skimp on processing power, but this isn’t going for the performance crown against the PS4 and Xbox One, let alone their upcoming hardware revisions.
While many have expected Nintendo to tap up AMD for a chipset – AMD have one games-related chipset contract that has yet to be revealed – Eurogamer’s sources say that it will be based on Nvidia’s Tegra chipset, with the X1 in current developer kits, a chip which is currently seen in the Shield Android TV console and Google Pixel C tablet. A separate tech analysis of this by Digital Foundry notes favourable comparisons to the previous generation PS3 and Xbox 360, which the Wii U has been comparable to in terms of performance. The NX ought still be a step up over the Wii U, in other words.
Downloads will naturally be available, but in terms of physical media, this will ditch disc-based games in favour of cartridges, which are better suited to portability. Cartridges also have loading time advantages compared to discs, and this ought to allow Nintendo to sidestep the current generation’s issue of needing to install data to a hard drive. Eurogamer suggest that cartridges will be 32GB, though they’ll likely come in a number of different sizes.
Last but not least, they say that the NX console reveal is now planned for September, with a keen focus on the console’s portability in a much simplified message about what the console can do.
Taking all of this in, what do you think? Would this be a good move by Nintendo, to continue to do something different from their competitors?