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Nintendo Going Mobile, Announces New NX Console

Mario jumpsNintendo announced a partnership with Japanese mobile platform DeNA this morning, signaling an intent to bring its popular franchises and talents into the smartphone/tablet space.  Here's Mike Futter at Game Informer to explain:

The games that DeNA will be working on are completely new, rather than ports of existing titles. Nintendo's entire slate of intellectual property is open to the mobile company to tap for its creations. Nintendo continues to hope that its mobile presence will drive interest in its dedicated video game console devices, something the company has stated as a goal for entering the smartphone and tablet space. 

In addition, DeNA will be developing a membership service for Nintendo that will be accessible on PC, 3DS, and Wii U. The as yet unnamed service is targeted for launch later this year, however it was not specified if this will be a regional rollout or if the duo will attempt worldwide release.

As if that's not enough of a business bombshell, it was also announced that Nintendo's next dedicated gaming console, codenamed NX, is in the works.  We'll hear more about that and how it fits into the DeNA deal in 2016.  Here's Stephen Totilo at Kotaku to explain what we know about the NX:

Seeking to put off questions that Nintendo's future would be entirely mobile, Iwata says that Nintendo is still very much in the "dedicated video game system market", and that their next piece of gaming hardware is code-named the "NX".

"Nintendo has decided to deploy its video game business on smart devices, but it is not because we have lost our passion or vision for the business of dedicated video game systems", he said.

"On the contrary, because now we have decided on how we will make use of smart devices, we have come to hold an even stronger passion and vision for the dedicated video game system business than before." 

"Now that we're less devoted to the dedicated video game system business, we're more devoted than ever before!" Talk about your double-talk. Iwata should run for office.

"As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business", Iwata adds, "let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand new concept under the development codename 'NX'."
I'm on the record of not being a fan of the mobile gaming experience as a whole.  The games are typically unbalanced, built on a foundation of paid consumable content, and commonly lack substance.  Worst of all, I can't use a traditional control pad / stick and buttons to play them.  Touchscreen platformers just do not work for me.  I need the tactile feedback of traditional control methods.  That said, if this is where Nintendo properties are headed, I'm going to have to get on board if I want to continue enjoying Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda in the next few years.  I sincerely hope that Nintendo will continue to employ their famed game design philosophies when they come to the mobile world.  I need more information overall about the DeNA deal before I can form a full opinion though.  We don't know much right now and there's bound to be so much more speculation and wishlisting circulating than actual, useful news.  Nintendo and DeNA framed this announcement to spark a stock price jump, not to reveal anything playable or show any new software.  While this news is worth following, it's not exactly meant for the end user just yet.

KirbyMoreover, there are many people out there in the gaming community that have been waiting for this day so they can shout out that the old ways are over and mobile games are the best and Nintendo is abandoning the core again and all other kinds of arguments meant just to stir the pot.  I'm really not interested in the impending and inevitable chest-thumping matches between "mobile games suck!" and "mobile for the win!".  No, I'm not a fan of traditional mobile games as we know them now, but if anyone can turn my opinion around, it would be Nintendo.  I've come this far as a Nintendo customer, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this new endeavor.  I certainly can't stop them from pursuing this, after all!  What's my alternative?  Take my ball and go home in a snit?  I only hope that their future games are just as fun as their modern and classic titles.  None of us really know where this is all going to lead yet, so until we have more information (and we'll be waiting a while, it seems), don't let articles with Photoshopped images of New Super Mario Bros. running on an iPad or Fire Emblem appearing on an Android device ruffle your feathers.  Even less is known about the NX console, how it fits into all of this specifically, and just how traditional it is.  We don't know anything concrete yet and it's too early to preach either gold or gloom, so just sit down and wait to see what happens next.  I think I'll play some Wii U while I wait.