The NX is inevitable and exciting, if only Nintendo could admit it
One would be inclined to think that news of Nintendo’s next console, known as the NX, would be good for the Kyoto based company.
A certain Junko Yamamura, analyst for Nomura Securities, one of Japan’s leading financial services groups, claims that the NX will be made official this year. That Nintendo will confirm that it is a hybrid home/portable console between March and May of this year, followed by an official unveiling of the console in June and culminating in the consoles launch between October and November – just in time for the holidays. That’s good news… right?
Yamamura has gone on to say that on behalf of Nomura Securities, “We have now altered our view because 3DS sales have been weakening a little recently, particularly in terms of software, as the machine enters its sixth year, and to factor in a harsher competitive climate and what happened to other existing consoles when new machines were launched in the past.”
Nintendo’s shares dropped by 5% in value following Yamamura’s statements. But let’s calm down and take this with a grain of salt. First of all, Yamamura doesn’t really offer any basis for his claim of an NX reveal early this year. Of course, there is a certain outspoken and controversial analyst who has strong opinions on this anyway.
I’m referring of course to Michael Pachter, Head of Research for the Private Shares Group division of Wedbush Securities. Pachter is somewhat infamous for controversial predictions and opinions about the gaming industry. One such prediction included the claim that the Playstation Vita would outsell Nintendo’s 3DS.
A little over a month ago, Pachter stated that the NX would most likely be launched in 2017. On an episode of The Pachter Factor — a weekly video series in which he takes questions and plays pundit on the gaming industry’s fortunes — he said: “I’d say 20 percent chance it comes out in 2016 in the US, 80 percent chance it comes out in 2017. If you don’t see it before E3, there’s a zero percent chance it’s coming out in 2016.”
Given his spotty record in matters of prediction, I’d be inclined to disagree with Pachter. Yet, he backs his statement up with some sound reasoning. “I can talk about Nintendo’s past practice, and use that as a predictor of the future,” Pacter said. “Nintendo’s past practice has been to announce their next generation consoles at E3, and to release them 18 months later… last I checked we don’t have 18 months until the end of 2016. So, it is less likely that something is coming out in 2016.”
However, Pachter did not rule out the possibility of an NX release completely. “But, the rumors are that there are NX dev kits out there. We don’t know how long they have been out there, but if the rumor has leaked they have probably been out a couple of months. It is really slightly possible that developers can make something for NX console launch in fall 2016, and do a quality product in 13 – 15 months. Slightly possible.”
We can also take a look back at what Nintendo has gone through in recent months as a company: the passing of Satoru Iwata, the internal restructuring of their management organization and the appointment of Tatsumi Kimishima to replace Iwata as their new President and CEO. It’s a little hard to picture Nintendo proceeding with the development of the NX at a pace that’s fast enough to get the product ready for release this year.
The 3DS is already five years old and nearing the end of the usual lifespan of video game devices, and the Wii U is soon to be put to pasture given poor sales. As such, declining sales for both consoles should be no surprise with or without an NX in site. And why should anyone worry? There are a lot of 3DS titles scheduled for release this year, and the 3DS already boasts of a robust library of titles that any new 3DS owner can go back to. As for the Wii U, there’s still Star Fox Zero and that new The Legend of Zelda game on the horizon.
Personally, I find the potential unveiling of the NX to be nothing but exciting. Nintendo, especially in previous generations, has always aimed to innovate how video games are played and I can’t wait to see what they came up with this time around. It’s unfortunate that investors don’t share the same opinion and are too focused on the bottom line.