E3 2016: Don't expect the Nintendo NX to outperform the Xbox Scorpio or PlayStation Neo

Nintendo isn't about specs, but about content. That means you shouldn't expect the NX to beat its competitors in its technology.


While the world continues to wonder what kind of system the Nintendo NX will be when it’s revealed, one thing fans shouldn’t consider is a console that’s more powerful as its competition.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Reggie gave Nintendo fans a hint as to what the NX could be. Or, more accurately, what it won’t be. When asked about Microsoft and Sony’s plans for future consoles, Reggie says “You know, for us, it’s not about specs. It’s not about teraflops. It’s not about horsepower of a particular system. For us, it’s about the content. Nintendo is a content-focused company. We create entertainment that makes people smile.”

He continues, “So for us, we’re focused on bringing our best entertainment to the Wii U, as well as the NX in the future. So for us, whatever Microsoft and Sony are doing in terms of talking about new systems, that’s for them to fight out in that red ocean. For us, we want to make sure we’re bringing our best content forward, and right now, the reaction to Zelda has been more than we could have ever imagined.”

This appears to be the same rhetoric Nintendo has been saying for the past several years as Nintendo has essentially given up on being the most powerful console on the market shortly after the release of its GameCube. Since then, the Wii and Wii U have both been considered to be less about their power, and more about what kind of content they can deliver and it appears the Nintendo will soon follow suite.

Senior Editor
From The Chatty
    • reply
      June 16, 2016 12:32 PM

      Do we know how much (if any) backwards compatibility the NX will have?

      • reply
        June 16, 2016 12:34 PM

        we don't know anything

      • reply
        June 16, 2016 12:46 PM

        If everything is backwards compatible with the Wii and WiiU and I can trade my WiiU to get a big discount on the NX I will get one. Otherwise I have plenty of games to play on other systems and the WIi U itself. I think it will be difficult for them to get people that bought a WiiU to switch if the system is not amazing.

      • reply
        June 17, 2016 5:55 AM

        Exactly what I need to know. I've moved digital in recent years and I need to know Nintendo's strategy regarding a unified account and so on. Also, what the roadmap entails. We require a steady, constant stream of games for the NX.
        On a side note, Zelda was fabulous.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 12:35 PM

      For us, we don't believe having multiplatform support is a selling point for a home console.

      • reply
        June 17, 2016 5:59 AM

        640K ought to be enough for anybody.

        • reply
          June 17, 2016 6:00 AM

          Oh, I misread your comment, atom519. Not sure my snark is appropriate now!

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 12:37 PM

      Then why do you need a new console so fast? The WiiU is plenty capable for content. They probably saw the Xbox specs and shit their pants on how slow it will be compared to their system.

      I'm going to bet it will be slightly faster than a XBone or PS4 currently just how WiiU was slightly faster than an Xbox 360/PS3

      • reply
        June 16, 2016 12:45 PM

        Have a feeling this will be another WiiU. Lackluster sales and another silly gimmick that no 3rd party dev wants to develop a multi-platform game for. Not sure why they don't want to compete on specs with MS/Sony.

        • reply
          June 16, 2016 12:55 PM

          by refusing to compete on specs and being unable to compete on OS/services Nintendo essentially ensures that their console strategy is predicated on finding a unique hardware design every few years to spur sales (an incredibly difficult if not impossible task). The Wii U is further evidence that merely having great first party content isn't sufficient (which Sony and MS both know).

          • reply
            June 16, 2016 1:00 PM

            Exactly. They are trying yet again to capture lightning in a bottle like the original Wii. They will find out fast that this isn't as easy as they think.

          • reply
            June 16, 2016 4:39 PM

            3rd parties will be making games for the original PS4 and Xbox One for several years yet. If the NX is at least as powerful as those systems, it should be in a fine place to support 3rd party titles.

            • reply
              June 16, 2016 4:59 PM

              so all 3 consoles are coming out in 2017 right? So the NX would be launching as essentially a 3rd console in the XB1 and PS4 generation but against an existing install base of ~100m customers. So if it does well out of the gate then it would sell ~20m units in the first 2 years (that's what the PS4 did). If MS and Sony don't improve YoY sales at all (basically impossible) then they'll have added ~50m new units over those 2 years (XB1+PS4 was 25m units in 2015), so realistically more (what the mix of XB1 vs Scorpio and PS4 vs NEO is is obviously a big unknown). So now it's 2019 and Nintendo has 20m units against 150m units. And what percentage of those NX owners already had a Sony/MS console? So realistically there's < 20m new customers added by the NX for a 3rd party. It's not clear how much effort is worth devoting to that as a 3rd party developer, especially if Nintendo doesn't make it very very easy to port games (and that means not doing things like making a completely different control scheme from everyone else, or requiring there's some sort of portable game component or something). And then if the NX keeps doing well then say it's at ~40-50m units 4-5 years in (like the PS4), but that's right when Sony and MS are starting to push for NEO/Scorpio exclusives and 3rd parties are devoting less energy to 'last generation' (which includes the NX in terms of power level). So then the NX gets a year or two of the ports of last gen titles which didn't exactly spur Wii sales when it was in that position.

              We'll see what they do. Maybe we'll all be blown away. I think doubling down on the Wii U strategy (refuse to compete on compute power, requiring a hardware gimmick even if it's not truly great) is not great.

              • reply
                June 16, 2016 5:17 PM

                More like ~70 million, but that's still quite a lot. I think the big thing it has going for it right now is the mandate that the original Xbone and ps4 is compatible with the games. This effectively increases the cost of development on both of Nintendo's competitors compared to the NX. I will say that I think it will have to be aiming at 1080p 60 or better for it to have a chance though.

              • reply
                June 17, 2016 6:35 AM

                One difference in that is the attachment rate of games. Nintendo usually has a pretty good sell through of 1st party games to systems (ratio of # of 1st party titles sold vs the number of consoles sold through). I don't have hard data to back this, but I believe they have a higher rate than Sony and MS, but only one 1st party titles.

                What Nintendo saw with the Wii, was the non-gamers (causal), bought the system, may have bought one game at the time of purchase but then that was it. It dropped their attachment numbers on post purchase titles. But, in terms of console sell thru numbers to attract developers, the Wii was certainly compelling. The system's capabilities, obviously, were just too much of a limit to port titles to it from the more powerful system.

                As far as that ratio goes, they've in a different spot since the Wii U didn't appeal to the masses like the Wii did. But, without the large amount of sell thru numbers, it hasn't attracted much 3rd party support ,regardless of being a more capable system.

                All of that to say, I'm hoping we see Nintendo make a better business play with the NX. Yeah, they're still going to focus on content, and that's fine - it is their strength after all. But, planning for what happens after the initial sale, the brand recognition they may still have with those that bout a Wii at launch (and not much else afterwards, so it's probably collecting dust at this point) you'd hope they're making a smarter long play here. And, that may not mean competing in the spec race with Sony and MS.

                Yup, this is all wild speculation based on observation of industry numbers.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 1:04 PM

      Christ, Nintendo. Hopefully this thing isn't already D.O.A. I have no faith in their gimmicks.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 2:21 PM

      Good to at least confirm they aren't changing their tune on this. It'd be nice if someone was direct with questioning how they can assure third party support without hardware being roughly the same, or if third party support for non-original content is even important to them.

      • reply
        June 16, 2016 7:08 PM

        Every launch since GC they do some lip service about third parties, knowing they are just baiting some crapware or older games in order to pad the library, to make the system more attractive to consumers.

        The only people that make money on Nintendo platforms are nintendo and that's the way they like it.

        • reply
          June 16, 2016 7:10 PM

          Yeah, though I think the eshop has some decent indies, I wonder how those are doing

          • reply
            June 16, 2016 10:14 PM

            Some, like Shovel Knight, are doing quite well. My 3DS library is probably about half downloaded indie games.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 4:01 PM

      As long as it's on par or better than the original Xbox One and PS4 (which it probably will be), why does it matter?

      Microsoft has gone and said that, hopefully, there will be no segregating the user base between Xbox One and Scorpio, which means if NX comes out better than the original consoles they should be able to power multiplatform games.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 4:39 PM

      Will it outperform the current gen?

      • reply
        June 16, 2016 5:20 PM

        That’s a pretty low bar

      • reply
        June 17, 2016 6:37 AM

        The rev of the DS, or the next mobile console, would be more powerful than the Wii U given the current state of mobile GPUs.

    • reply
      June 16, 2016 9:52 PM

      Nintendo should just make great games.

Hello, Meet Lola