I’ve been a fan of Nintendo for a long time now, owning most of their video game devices since I was a kid. And I’m very excited about the recent announcement that their newest console, currently referred to as the NX, will be released on March 2017. I’m definitely keeping an eye on any NX related news and any information on the hardware specs and functionalities and more importantly, the games that will be available at launch.
Despite this, it’s very unlikely that I’ll get an NX when it comes out. First, and it hurts to admit this, but Nintendo has this habit of releasing “half-assed” hardware and then following it up with much better versions a few years after. Half-assed may seem like a strong term but when I say much better hardware versions, I’m not just talking about specs upgrades – let me go into the specifics.
I first experienced this when Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance in 2001. The Game Boy Advance was a great piece of hardware during the time that it was released, with enough processing power to handle ports of Super NES games. But it had some pretty glaring flaws – it ran on AA batteries (which meant you had to keep buying batteries) and didn’t have a backlit screen (which made playing in the dark virtually impossible).
Two years later, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance SP. While not an upgraded version per se as it had the same circuitry, the Game Boy Advance SP came with a rechargeable battery pack which eliminated the need for standard AAs and had both a brighter LCD screen and a front-light. I was fortunate not to have bought the original Game Boy Advance and got my hands on an SP version; I can’t say the same for early adopters.
A similar thing happened to Nintendo’s next handheld, the DS, which saw three upgrades after the original release. Unlike the Game Boy Advance SP which corrected it’s predecessor’s flaws, the new DS versions were mostly improvements over the original. The DS Lite was lighter and more compact, had a slightly larger screen with an adjustable backlight, and better battery life. The DSi was even more lighter than the DS Lite and also had slightly larger screens, but it had a more powerful processor and allowed owners to access Nintendo’s online DSi shop. Finally, the DSi XL improved on the screen size further.
This trend isn’t limited to Nintendo’s handheld devices, as something similar happened with Nintendo’s Wii. At launch in 2006, the Nintendo Wii was bundled with the now infamous Wii Remote (or Wiimote) controller. The Wiimote worked fine for motion controls, but it wasn’t very precise. Nintendo came up with the Wii MotionPlus accessory in 2009 that allowed for more precision. A year later, Nintendo produced the Wii Remote Plus, a Wiimote with the MotionPlus accessory built in. This wouldn’t be a big deal if there weren’t any games that required the MotionPlus but there were, the most notable of which is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Finally, Nintendo released the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and followed it up with the Nintendo 3DS XL in 2012. The primary feature of the Nintendo 3DS is its glasses-free 3D effect which was quite flawed as you needed to hold the device at a specific angle and distance, else the visuals would become blurry. Nintendo then released the New Nintendo 3DS in 2015 (2014 in Japan) which featured several improvements: a more powerful processor, a nub that served as a second analog stick, and “super stable 3D” that had better viewing angles.
I also dodged a bullet with this family of handhelds. I initially owned the budget version of the device, the Nintendo 2DS, and was planning on upgrading to the older 3DS XL when Nintendo announced the newer models, so I delayed my plans for upgrading and waited for the release of the new models instead.
My point is, and this is from experience, that it’s better to wait for a year or two after the launch of the NX because the release of an upgraded version somewhere down the line is very possible. And in the case of the Game Boy Advance SP and the New Nintendo 3DS, the upgraded models had additional features that vastly improved the gameplay experience. I just want to make sure that when I spend my money, I’m getting the best model of the NX.
The second reason for me not to purchase an NX at launch is a little more minor compared to the above, and this has something to do with Nintendo’s launch titles. In recent history, Nintendo devices don’t have a lot of good games available that would justify a purchase. Here’s the list of the games available for the North America region during the launch of the Wii, the Wii U, and the Nintendo 3DS:
The Wii had The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and not much else; the Wii U had the 2D platformer New Super Mario Bros. U, and the Nintendo 3DS had… Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition? To be frank, I don’t find these games (aside from Twilight Princess) enticing at all. We don’t know what the launch titles are going to be for the NX, but I think it’s safe to say that whatever they are, I can wait a year or two before making a purchase.
And that’s pretty much it. I try to be cost-efficient and do my best to avoid unnecessary purchases. I want Nintendo to succeed and I hope that the NX will have awesome sales figures at launch, but I’m not going to be part of those sales because I don’t want to end up with a lower NX model or a new console without any good games.
What are your thoughts on getting the NX at launch? Any reason why I should change my mind? Let us know by leaving a comment or two below!