Back on July 20, 2016, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot had some interesting things to say about Nintendo’s new console, code-named the NX. He said that what he had seen was “really great”, and that the NX would “take lots more casual players back to the industry.” This second part was especially interesting, as it hinted that the NX would have another unique feature, such as the Wii’s motion controls or the WiiU’s gamepad, as opposed to a typical console, in order to bring back casual gamers. The Pokemon Company’s president and CEO recently said that “The NX is trying to change the concept of what it means to be a home console device or a handheld device,” so it seems more likely than ever that this unique feature will be that it’s a console and handheld hybrid, as most rumors are suggesting.
Just a few days ago, on September 22, Guillemot came back with a lot more to say about the new system. First of all, he mentioned that the “interface is very attractive” and that the NX is a “machine that will be very easy to use for all gamers.” This is somewhat surprising, one might imagine that it could be complicated to use a hybrid video game device, but of course much isn’t known about the feature, so anything Ubisoft has to say about the usability is reassuring.
Guillemot then said that the NX was “a fantastic machine” and that “it’s really Nintendo, coming with something new again. We love it.” Finally, he said that “Nintendo has learned from the WiiU”, and that they’re coming “back with something new and more attractive”.
Obviously, these comments sound very positive, but can they be taken seriously? It seems clear that the NX will be something unique, but whether it will be fantastic is surely not something to be believed so quickly, with as little as we know. The fact of the matter is that developers say things like this about new consoles all the time. Developers obviously want to have good relationships with console manufacturers, so when a console is announced, they have nothing to lose by saying positive things about it. The most relevant example, of course, is what Guillemot said about the WiiU in Nintendo’s e3 2011 press conference, which is when they revealed the console.
The above video is honestly very comical to watch now. Many of the third party titles talked about are nowhere to be seen on the WiiU, and many of the developers that praise the console deserted it almost immediately. Some particularly funny moments to look back on are when Martin Tremblay, President of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, complimented the WiiU’s “advanced graphic,” or when Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games, called the Wii U “a phenomenal piece of technology” that’s “going to really revolutionize what’s happening in console”. Yves Guillemot was also in the video saying that the “new controller really revolutionizes the traditional pad”.
Many nice things were said by developers about the WiiU before its release, yet the WiiU was an underpowered commercial failure. Remarks such as the ones previously mentioned prove that developers complimenting a console pre-release do not necessarily mean anything significant. However, Guillemot’s comment on the Wii U was one of the more moderate ones, and even the most extreme comments did not go as far as saying that the console was “fantastic”, which is definitely a strong word to use. What Guillemot said about the NX certainly is very promising and removes some of the uneasiness surrounding the situation, but based on previous remarks by many developers, Guillemot’s statements aren’t definitive enough to warrant complete confidence in Nintendo’s next console.
The most important thing to take away from this is that, apparently, Nintendo has learned from the WiiU. If that’s really the case, then things might really be looking up for the NX. Of course, we’ll never know until Nintendo finally gives in and reveals their new system to us. So, for now, we’ll unfortunately just have to wait.