It makes good sense to be careful when reporting on rumors. Sometimes industry tittle-tattle is best ignored until something concrete comes to light, but the recent rumors about Nintendo's NX are worth talking about for a few reasons.
First, the rumor's source is "Geno," an individual who has shared accurate game-related predictions in the past. He's broken news about a new type of Pokémon in Pokémon X and Y (Fairy-type), as well as the PlayStation 4's capabilities. Geno's contributions are documented in Dual Pixels' story about the NX rumors.
Second, the next move Nintendo makes is a very big one. If the NX fails, it could spell big trouble for the battle-scarred company. We're obviously all eager to see what's next, especially since Nintendo arguably does its best and most creative work when its back is against the wall.
Third, we still know so little about the NX at this point. We want something to talk about.
Fortunately, Geno has definitely delivered some NX-related news that's worth chattering about. Again, there's no confirmation any of it is true, and Nintendo itself doesn't comment on rumors, but there's nothing about the revelations that are outlandish. In fact, more interesting than the news of the NX hardware itself is word that morale and energy at Nintendo are supposedly very high.
The NX is allegedly at least as powerful as the Xbox One and is capable of running Xbox One- and- PlayStation 4-tier games without an issue. Geno states one third-party developer he talked to said "[The NX is] the easiest device we've ever developed for. You just take your code, compile it and it works."
That's not surprising, and the ease of development is sure to give Nintendo some much-needed third party support. It's worth wondering what'll happen once the current generation winds down, since we may as well assume the next Xbox and PlayStation will be more powerful than their current iterations, and will therefore probably outpace the NX. That said, Microsoft's recent announcement about the unification of its consoles and Windows-based platforms spells strange and interesting things for the console market in general.
Nintendo's supposedly not shying away from pairing up the NX with phones and tablets, either. According to Dual Pixels and Geno, "One feature is that [the NX] can answer phone calls and display text messages from your phone onto the screens itself so you don't have to stop and answer your smart device."
NX gossip of any kind is grand, though most of us probably expect the NX will integrate with smart devices in some manner. It's also heartening to hear third-party developers might be having a very easy time programming for the machine, but let's face it, Nintendo should have been more accommodating to its third parties ages ago.
So let's dissect the bits of the report that go beyond predictable and edge into the brand of innovation Nintendo is known for .
"Allegedly the analog controls for movement has small motors in them for full haptic feedback," says Geno. "Meaning if you control a character and hit a wall, the sticks move away from the direction of that wall to simulate running head first into it. This can also be used for jerking when firing a gun, taking damage, moving over rough terrain, ect."
Assuming haptic feedback doesn't interfere with a game's actual controls -- I trust Nintendo would playtest the feature half to death before even considering it, but it's not like the company hasn't flubbed controllers in the past -- this feature could potentially be super-cool and take us to a level of interactivity far beyond the controller rumble Nintendo made industry-standard with the Rumble Pak.
Geno also says, "Look to Pokemon GO to get the idea of the type of social features that will be in NX that will take multiplayer, AR and the StreetPass concept to a whole new level."
Nintendo knows how to make social networks a lot of fun. StreetPass, Miiverse, Swapnote (we miss you) -- they're more than places where you can brag about your accomplishments via some sterile trophy cases. And the simple-to-customize Miis are far more personable than Microsoft's Avatars, which exude a try-hard aura at best and are equipped with a Joker-fish smile at worst.
Since we still don't know a whole lot about Pokémon GO, there's not much we can guess about Miiverse II. We'll have to assume Nintendo has some more great ideas for making digital pals (and hopefully the staggered rural peoples of the world will have an easier time of things).
Moving on to the NX's guts, the operating system allegedly powering the NX, "NintendOS," is "powerful," and "ties into multiple devices and services allowing a very competent and pervasive eco-system designed to constantly involve the consumer's lives." It also supposedly looks and runs similarly to Android, though "NintendOS" is arguably the cooler name.
(What about pronunciation, though? "Nintendo OS?" Ninten-DOS?" You decide.)
The best part of the rumor report -- and potentially most surprising part -- is that Nintendo's staff is "highly motivated in delivering a fantastic system and games," and hasn't been this hyped over a project since the original Famicom. Given the uncertain state of the console market, the beating Nintendo took with the Wii U, and the fall of its bottom line in general, it's very heartening to know the company is eager to put its shoulder to the wall and push back.
Finally, in case you were wondering, many of the NX's ideas were reportedly outlined by Nintendo's former President, the late Satoru Iwata. Employees are said to end meetings and brainstorming sessions with the battle cry "For Iwata!"
Even if everything else in Geno's report turns out to be inaccurate, we hope Nintendo's new motivational slogan is real.