Today, we all woke up to an avalanche of news from Nintendo, among it being that the Nintendo NX will be released in March 2017. This is both exciting and shocking at the same time. It’s real. And…IT’S REAL!
Let’s break down all the news and what this means over the next 11 months.
The NX is coming March 2017.
Obviously, the top news. In one announcement, Nintendo has told us a lot of things:
- The NX is real. OK, they’ve already discussed it, sure, but it’s real and it’s really, really happening!
- With a March 2017 release date, just 11 months away, it means we should see the NX for the first time sometime this summer.
- Combined with the announcement of their internal re-organization, the NX is clearly a business decision and not just a natural progression of their console offerings. They recognize that the Wii U won’t be making a comeback sales-wise.
Over the next 11 months, Nintendo will continue (yes, continue) to stay focused on NX in preparation for the biggest and best launch possible. The Wii U will likely not get many big releases, but they will get a few…Animal Crossing chief among them. Keep in mind that there are already strong rumors that Nintendo will be porting some Wii U titles to the NX, so expect that anything Nintendo releases this year will also be available on the NX. All Wii U titles are littered with multiple controller schemes, so porting their best titles to the NX is obvious and makes perfect sense, especially since it will satisfy (unfair) criticisms that they are abandoning the Wii U too soon.
This is really the best of all worlds unless (like me) you think Nintendo is better served dropping the Wii U the day the NX is released — but I get it. Plus, they want to sell their remaining system stock anyway.
The Next Legend of Zelda Will Be a Launch Title for the NX
This comes as no surprise at all, in fact I predicted it when I laid out what the NX launch could look like. The only difference to me is that I expected the NX to come out sooner than 2017. More like October 2016. However, pushing (and perfecting) Zelda for the NX launch makes all the business sense in the world. We’ve seen tons of great Wii U releases such as Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros., Rayman Legends, Nintendoland, and more…but it still sits at 25% of PS4’s sales and 65% of XBox One’s sales despite a one-year head start.
Nintendo needs to stop dumping money into the current generation and start again.
The Next Legend of Zelda Will Also Be Available on Wii U
This announcement reminds all of us Nintendo fans of Twilight Princess as it, too, was also simultaneously released for the Wii and Gamecube on the same day: Wii’s launch day. The Wii did pretty great and the NX can as well if it can capture just a fraction of its magic.
By the by, a nice collecting tip: buy the Wii U version and keep it sealed. Prices on Twilight Princess for Gamecube are still crazy high. Everyone invested in the Wii version…so the other is far more uncommon.
Animal Crossing on Mobile Platforms This Fall
Much like Amiibo, Miitomo came as a pleasant surprise for gamers when it was released last month. Ultimately, it was much more fun than most of us expected. With 10,000,000 downloads, it’s also been a smashing success! Now, to hear that Animal Crossing is coming to mobile, none of us need imagine how great it can be.
I still expect a couple things regarding our animal friends, however. First, there will still be a Wii U release of the franchise this year. How do I know? It’s obvious. Nintendo didn’t waste thousands of man-hours making an HD version of Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival just to make…well, Amiibo Festival. (As boring a game as it is.) No, that was a spinoff from a true, Wii U sequel to the franchise. There are still 8 months left in 2016 and a holiday season is around the corner. Nintendo isn’t just going to take that time off. Animal Crossing Wii U will be here soon! Expect an announcement in May.
Fire Emblem on Mobile Platforms This Fall
Very surprising! I’m a huge fan of the Fire Emblem franchise. I love the turn-based play and the small-size levels that let me play a round and get out quickly. While Fates wasn’t as good as Awakening in my opinion, I’m excited to see a mobile version. This also clinches what everyone wanted from Nintendo for years…they will be a staple in the mobile world for many years to come and it will only get better!
Predicted Timeline for 2016
Alright, so based on everything we know and heard today, here’s my remaining calendar prediction for 2016:
In May, Nintendo will announce Animal Crossing for Wii U. They need to announce another big title quickly to reassure customers that the Wii U won’t be ignored and that the new Zelda (which is still 11 months away) isn’t their only card to play. Also, this new version of Animal Crossing will see an NX port and be available on launch day.
In June, we’ll finally see the new Zelda gameplay. Remember, we’ve only seen a short cutscene of this. We haven’t seen the game and it may look totally different since it’s been so long. Hopefully it will match the expectations set forth a year ago. Also, expect the final Smash Bros. Amiibo figures to be released. (Bayonetta, Cloud, and Corrin.)
In July or August, the NX will be unveiled along with its new name. This will be the biggest presentation of the year for any tech company and will be carefully orchestrated. One could argue that Nintendo’s future (or lack thereof) depends on it.
In September and October, we’ll see Nintendo in a holding pattern. New games, especially indie and online-only, will be prevalent as they lean on 3rd-party producers to keep the customer base excited. Expect the next Metroid game to be announced around this time for summer of 2017. As far as launch titles go, there won’t be any more big first-party games announced. Nintendo has to already be thinking about mid-year and Holiday 2017 to avoid the huge gap the Wii U saw in 2013.
In November, Animal Crossing for Wii U will be released. I also expect we’ll start hearing from 3rd-party developers that they will be supporting the NX fully and there will be ports of their upcoming titles. (This is how we’ll know Nintendo is making a turnaround.)
In December, Nintendo will announce huge discounts on Wii U and 3DS systems as they phase the hardware and software out. This would be a good time to buy and keep a sealed Wii U in your collection to remember the Sega Dreamcast of its generation…