Nintendo’s decision to ship the NX next year was the right choice
It’s not too often that I agree with what Nintendo is doing these days. Be it here on these pages of the site, or on our weekly Hey Poor Podcast, I’ve never really minced words when it comes to voicing my frequent frustration with the way Nintendo has managed to bungle the seemingly simple things that come off as second nature to their competition. And let’s not even get into how the Nintendo has largely left the Wii U to wither and die. However, despite my rocky relationship with the House of Mario over the past few console generations, I have to give credit where credit is due, and Nintendo’s recent decision to release the NX globally next spring, rather than this holiday season as many had expected, is probably one of the smartest things the one-time console juggernaut has decided to do in the past few years.
After all, the 2016 holiday season is shaping up to be huge for both Microsoft and Sony, with the PlayStation Neo and PlayStation VR almost certainly holding sway over many gamer’s wallets this winter, in addition to a flood of big-name releases such as Gears of War 4, Dishonored 2, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare making their way to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at the end of the year. This already over-saturated Christmas season lineup could well have drowned out the launch of Nintendo’s upcoming console if the company had decided to rush the system out for the holidays without first securing an impressive stable of launch titles to make the NX stand out from the pack.
Sure, the company’s stalwart supporters would likely buy the console in droves if it released in November, but to be a true success the NX is going to have to recapture the hearts of those who’ve felt shortchanged by the Wii U. To do so, Nintendo must work hard to deliver a wealth of noteworthy first-party titles, as well as court third-party studios who abandoned the Wii U during the current console generation. Hopefully this extra few months will allow Nintendo to do so, so that the NX doesn’t experience the same software drought the Wii U has been weathering since the day it hit retail four long years ago. If that means it’s going to take a few extra months to ensure that the NX meets these needs, while giving developers enough time to familiarize themselves with whatever unique features the console may bring to the table, then I’m more than happy to wait as long as necessary for the NX’s release.
Nintendo certainly seems to understand as much, with the company’s new President Tatsumi Kimishima saying in a recent Q&A session:
“One of the reasons for choosing the launch timing that we did is so that the software lineup will be ready in time for the hardware launch. Not only at launch, but we also need to be able to continuously release titles after launch. We are planning for this to be a platform that consumers can enjoy for a long time.”
If there’s one real negative to be found in the NX being sidelined until next year, it’s that Nintendo has taken their next Zelda game, which had previously been slated to release this year, with it. As many had already speculated, the game is now slated to be released alongside both the NX for both the Wii U and NX simultaneously. Sure, it makes sense, as releasing the game on the Wii U ahead of the NX would certainly be enough to stop some from adopting Nintendo’s new console specifically to play the latest Zelda title, but it leaves an obvious gaping hole in Nintendo’s lineup this year. And as the company has confirmed they will be skipping E3 (with the exception of showcasing Zelda), it seems to indicate Nintendo fans won’t have a great deal to look forward to for much of 2016. This is a shame, but truth be told I don’t think anyone expected a huge deluge of titles to make their way to the Wii U this year anyway, as the general consensus seemed to be we’d be playing the NX this holiday season. In any case, it remains to be seen if this time out of the console spotlight will help or harm Nintendo ahead of the NX’s March 17 launch.
Personally, I feel like Nintendo is making the right call. The Wii U’s launch had all of the punch of a wet firecracker, and going toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft this holiday season could potentially lead to another messy console launch if Nintendo cut any corners in bringing their console to the market. If the Big “N” can use this extra few months to build up a compelling list of launch titles while fostering fresh relationships with third-party developers, they could be well have a shot at reclaiming the hearts of gamers everywhere.
One thing’s certain – they can’t afford to let the NX become the next Wii U.
So, do you feel that Nintendo’s decision to release the NX in March of 2017 was the right call? How do you feel about Zelda releasing simultaneously on the NX and Wii U? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.