A NX Portable Hybrid Sounds Great If Third Parties Are On Board

I still have no idea what’s going on with Nintendo’s NX. Grave rumors point to a device that acts like a portable you can connect to your TV. Such a platform has a knack to fit Nintendo’s strengths in portable play, going back to the Game & Watch. I’m more of a fan of portable gaming anyway, hence my many hours into 3DS and my enjoyment of Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad. If the rumor pans out, I’d be for it, barring what software support the system is going to have, whatever it is.

What concerns me is the third party situation. I’m talking about the EAs, the Activisions, and the Ubisofts of the world. When people say that Nintendo lacks third party support, they usually mean AAA games and essential franchises. What will they do for the NX? It all depends on how easy it is to develop for and whether NX owners want to buy those games.

Third party publishers and Nintendo have been odd bedfellows for eons now.  Wii U was initially introduced as a platform that would see the same major releases as PlayStation and Xbox, so we got versions of Madden, Fifa, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, and so on. When it became abundantly clear that the Wii U wasn’t selling to expectations, as with the third party ports, all hopes for future games of that sort went away.

Games from the first year of the Wii U that should have been present, big shock, were not. The Wii U missed out on Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Grand Theft Auto V. These could have potentially been improved in design with the features of the system’s GamePad controller, but skipped out because third parties had decided that Wii U versions would be money losers. It made some business sense if their support that was at launch did not move the needle. If you’re a publisher, there’s little financial benefit in putting out such ports.

All these woes that befell the Wii U can be traced down to its very hardware design, and not just the GamePad. The GamePad controller was part of the problem, but it was a symptom overall. While Microsoft and Sony were shifting over to X86-based hardware, Nintendo stuck by PowerPC for the Wii U, the same development hardware they’d used since the GameCube. While well-established by 2012, the X86 was essentially PC architecture and much easier to develop for. The PowerPC had become long in the tooth for third parties in the pre-dawn of PS4 and Xbox One. As a result, Wii U saw plenty of half-baked, incomplete releases like Mass Effect 3 and Madden 2013. It has come to the point where all Nintendo has a small number of publisher alliances with mostly indie titles.

Rumor has it the NX will run on the X2 chip from NVIDIA, which while more powerful than the Wii U, is not as powerful as the PlayStation 4. If the NX is hard to develop for, we all lose. This was a problem on the Wii U, and my concerns have taken a resurgence ever since Nintendo’s Tatsumi Kimishima said that the NX will be a “new way of playing games”. How many times can you reinvent the wheel? NX doesn’t have to compete in the same specs war, but with serviceable hardware, an equitable games library would be nice to have. It’d be a smart move, honestly.

I want third parties to support NX because I want NX to be a success. Not so much to have those games for myself, but for those who can’t afford to get a second home console upwards of $350. Four years later, all that’s left on Wii U are token third party games like Just Dance, Skylanders, and a hell of a lot of LEGO games. If the NX should want to avoid dreadful software droughts, having the same kind of popular games as the other consoles would alleviate those woes. The NX needs to round out its library with heavy hitting games that aren’t just from Nintendo. To wit, if you only owned a Wii U this console generation, here’s some of the major titles you’ve missed:

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Gran Theft Auto V, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Batman: Arkham Knight, Overwatch, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Star Wars: Battlefront, Destiny, DOOM, and Rocket League.

That’s a lot of games to miss out on.

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About The Author

Editor-in-Chief (Former)

A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.