Since its launch in 2012, I would argue that the Wii U has had an image problem. Given the console’s resemblance to its predecessor, both in appearance and name, there are those who think “Wii U” is the name of the tablet-style controller, and presume it is an accessory for the original Wii from 2006. The new games made for the Wii U, more specifically the first-party Nintendo titles such as Mario Kart, Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong Country, can be played using original Wii Remote controllers, so some ask can these new games be played on the old Wii system?
I know those two queries sound a little crazy to those of us who keep up to date with our gaming knowledge, but in my experience with video games retail I have encountered them a lot, particularly when the Wii U launched.
But the third query that I commonly hear? “So, as well as playing it at home, my kids can take that controller thingy on car trips and keep playing?”
Yep, the iPad-with-joysticks look of the Wii U Gamepad gives a lot of people the impression it doubles as a portable gaming system, which it does not. But according to a report from The Wall Street Journal this past week, Nintendo may be implementing exactly that kind of feature in their upcoming console codenamed the “Nintendo NX”.
The Journal says the Nintendo NX development kits have been being distributed to third-party developers, and the kits imply the NX will “likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use.” We’ve known for some time now that Nintendo is planning to move into mobile games development (with Pokemon GO being announced recently) but this report combined with a patent application for a possible NX controller revealed on NeoGaf in September suggests that a Wii U Gamepad-esque design that is also a portable system is very much on the cards.
But what would this mean for the Nintendo 3DS? With the new model being barely a year old, and the NX being a fair way off, there is still plenty of life left for the system. But will the NX’s new controller replace it as Nintendo’s flagship portable gaming system? Will every NX game be released in disc and portable cartridge/disc form? Will they be sold together or separately? Mamma mia…
Jokes aside, it is an interesting prospect to consider. Only time, and obviously Nintendo, will tell. But hopefully the NX doesn’t feature that creepy watching-us-while-we-sleep feature. Nobody wants that.