Mobile Mavens

Is the rumoured Nintendo NX portable hybrid console exciting for indie developers?

Is the rumoured Nintendo NX portable hybrid console exciting for indie developers?

As with any major console release, there's a number of different rumous surrounding Nintendo's upcoming NX.

The most recent of which especially caught our eye. It suggested that the console may in fact be some kind of portable device which can be plugged into a TV screen when players get home.

If the rumours are true, it could be an exciting area for mobile developers - but what do indies think about it all?

To find out, we turned to our Indie Mavens, and asked:

  • As mobile developers, are you intrigued by Nintendo's rumoured portable/home console hybrid NX?

 

Aaron Fothergill Co-founder Strange Flavour

If it turns out to be true, the NX could be quite interesting.

We've already published games on iOS that take account of the ability to plug it into a TV with a HDMI adaptor, or via AirPlay to an Apple TV, as we'd noticed we had a small base of players who were doing this with their games.

With both SlotZ Racer and Any Landing we needed to do some subtle but important adaptations when playing via TV (mostly because the iOS -> TV options involve a small amount of lag in control), but it is a concept that works.

If Nintendo are designing the system with a GPU that will specifically handle both modes transparently to the game (although letting the game know it's on TV allows extra mode options for single screen multiplayer for instance), then it could be rather fun.

I'm not certain having a handheld console that comes apart to connect to a base unit is necessarily the best idea (sounds too complex for what it is), but I'm sure Nintendo know what they're doing.

From the indie dev point of view though, I just hope they keep improving on the Wii U approach of actually allowing indie titles, rather than it just being yet another console to play Zelda/Pokemon/Mario on.

Matthew Annal MD Nitrome

I don't see a particular reason to be interested in supporting it over any other console.
Mat Annal

I'm a huge Nintendo fan so I'm interested in anything they do, but if the rumours are true and there is nothing else to it then from a hardware standpoint, I'm deeply underwhelmed.

They have hyped that they have something radically new in the works, and this does not scream radically new in the same way as the original Wii did.

The only way this sounds remotely interesting to me is Nintendo's recent comments about VR being something they are looking into supporting with the next console.

If the console is portable and can either at launch or later support VR then having that without cables could be interesting.

From a mobile dev support point of view, I guess being portable would bring it more in line with the types of games we are developing, but otherwise I don't see a particular reason to be interested in supporting it over any other console.

Kepa Auwae Business / Design RocketCat Games

I really just want to play the new Zelda.

Pierre-Luc Vettier CEO Zero Games Studios

I'm not intrigued that much by the NX to be honest.

I really love Nintendo, but whatever the innovations or features of this new console, games will be the key, not the hardware.

A mock-up of the NX from Eurogamer

Let's just hope that this time, they will support indies for real, and that most of their big games will not just be classic Nintendo IPs, or the NX will fail as hard as the Wii U, which proved one more time that a good concept is not always enough for commercial success.

As a multi-platform dev studio, working on NX could be something exciting for us if the system is dev-friendly and the features are really innovative, but I'll wait for more information from the big N...

Ben Murch Co-Founder Perchang

It's a new console, so yes I'm totally intrigued!

I'd love it if Nintendo actually opened the floodgates and created an Apple-like App Store.
Ben Murch

I think we should probably be a little careful right now, as all we have is rumour and speculation. Being put off / on because of unofficial reports would be a little silly.

However, while we're in the land of silly speculation, I'd really love the idea of a console that turns into a portable... as long as it is actually portable. Nintendo devices have a history of not being "pocket friendly".

My phone is awesome. It fits snugly in my jeans pocket and is easy to get at for the times I want to use it. Not quite so with a DS, let alone something bigger.

I really hope they don't tread the same ground as the Wii U and create something for everyone and yet no-one.

Delving further into our dream-like article of requests, I'd LOVE it if Nintendo actually opened the floodgates and created an Apple-like App Store.

They can still have a premium area for all the first and third-party software, and then some area for the rest of us to exist in.

I'd almost certainly develop something for that, and be way more inclined to buy the console right from the off.

The behaviour of Nintendo over the past few years has certainly pointed towards opening themselves up more, so it will be really interesting to see if an App Store marketplace materialises.

Back to the real world then.

Nintendo are the most inconsistent of all the hardware manufacturers. They craft novel and interesting products with a pendulum like success arc.

For that reason alone, I'm more than interested to see what they have to offer the world NeXt (see what I did there).

Aaron Fothergill Co-founder Strange Flavour

It would be a lot easier for Nintendo to persuade their fans to buy hardware that works with the mobile phone they already have.
Aaron Fothergill

Seeing as we’re talking about a rumoured console, I’d like to chip in my ‘ideal’ Nintendo hardware product as an alternate.

Nintendo going all-in on mobile, and the NX actually being an MFi controller for iOS devices (while being Android compatible too) and solid, premium, Nintendo titles to go with it.

I suspect it would be a lot easier for Nintendo to persuade their fans to buy hardware that works with the mobile phone they already have, and harness the brand to sell software that they make more profit on, than to try and get people to find more pocket space for a console alongside their phones.

It would solve the mobile + TV issue and give indies the ability to publish for it too.

(Actually it wouldn’t really make any difference to indies, but given Nintendo’s focus on first/second party games, an actual console usually makes no difference too.)

Then again, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. They have their own peculiar and charming kind of insanity that resonates with their fan base.

Nathan Fouts Founder Mommy's Best Games

The idea that the NX may run on cartridges is great, because I love fast-booting systems and quick in/out game times. If I only have 20 minutes to play, I don't want to spend five minutes staring at load screens and logos.

As a developer though, this is awful. I don't want this to turn in an Ouya, which was rife with meagre mobile ports on what should have been a console experience.

If the NX design is 'mobile-friendly', I honestly hope there's some sort of quality control over what's released on it.

I guess I'm in favour of a sort of 'walled garden' in as much as the end-user experience is better, and the garden basically lets in devs that do a good job, and don't simply churn out quick ports.

Travis Ryan Studio Head Dumpling Design

Absolutely! A new bit of Nintendo hardware in the world is always a joyous thing.

I think that due to the ubiquity of quality mobile games (some from Nintendo) and the advancement in TV boxes, we’re looking at a successor to the 3DS rather than the Wii/Wii U, which is smart given that handhelds have led the charge for Nintendo over the past few generations.

As a developer, there are some interesting clues to look out for: The ‘buttonsy’ nature of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 demo suggests a modular controller with no touch screen or motion support.

I think we’re looking at a platform that has the chance to be ‘Super Nintendo’ good, for players and developers alike.
Travis Ryan

The GPU suggests embracing technological restrictions over raw power - looking at what was squeezed out of the Wii U - fine!

The prospect of truly ‘seamless gaming to go’ is huge in my opinion, since we’ve yet to see this promise executed effortlessly (PlayStation4 > PS Vita was close, but clunky with too many potential fail steps).

Being able to take your ‘big-screen’ game with you and vice versa, not only encourages play without restrictions, it’s also offering itself up to all types of gamers whether they’re at home, on the go or both. This is a huge play from Nintendo.

You’ve also got to consider Nintendo’s experiments in the digital and service games space over the past year or so.

We’ve seen the unification of the My Nintendo Account, a vibrant eShop economy supporting smaller and marquee developers side-by-side, and we’ve seen highly progressive content and engagement strategies of key titles such as Splatoon, Mario Kart 8 and Mario Maker (also worth noting that Smash 4 is primed with all the traits of a killer competitive platform akin to a MOBA).

And holding this all together we have Miiverse. Add a ‘Nintendo Library’ into the mix, a subscription-based buffet to Nintendo’s history (think Netflix) and Nintendo would clean up.

If all of this leads us to ‘The Nintendo Box’, with the whole of Nintendo EAD focused on one platform and service, I think we’re looking at a platform that has the chance to be ‘Super Nintendo’ good, for players and developers alike.

Editor

Ric is the Editor of PocketGamer.biz, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.

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