Does the Wii U yet have a future?

In my last blog I talked about how all the tangible and verified information, plus the rumors we have heard seem to be hinting towards at the very least that Nintendo’s next-gen console code-named ‘NX’ at the very least will definitely have a portable version and possibly be a portable console that can double as a home console. There seems to be more than meets the eye when you look at the big picture.

When the rumor was posted about the NX having 900p/60fps resolution and frame rate, being on-par with the XB1, and able to stream 4K video,  a lot of people took that a lot of different ways.  Some people went into troll-mode touting that this is 100% confirmation and undeniable PROOF that Nintendo low-balled us again and can’t compete tech-wise anymore.  Then when it was suggested that these specs could be for a handheld all of sudden some of those SAME PEOPLE were carrying on about how those specs are impossible for a handheld and called the rumor bogus.  No doubt if this were any other company no one would question these specs.  People look at the last two generations and use that to define Nintendo’s entire gaming legacy.

Out of the 7 generations Nintendo has taken part in (they skipped the 2nd-gen) only twice have they had under-powered consoles. 
Color TV Game = Most Powerful of 1st Gen.
NES = 2nd Most Powerful of 3rd Gen.
SNES = 2nd Most Powerful of 4th Gen.
N64 = Most Powerful of 5th Gen.
GameCube = 2nd Most Powerful of 6th Gen.
Wii = Least powerful of 7th Gen
Wii U = (If you count Ouya as an 8th Gen console then the Wii U was 3rd Most Powerful, if not Least Powerful of 8th Gen)
Out of those 7 generations Nintendo had the best-selling console 4 times and best-selling 1st-party software overall in ALL generations.  Not too shabby I would say.

My point is that the idea of Nintendo going tech-heavy is not an new and unprecedented event.  It’s fact, and it’s history.  Furthermore, a handheld with 900p resolution on-par with the XB1 is not outlandish at all.  Today, the average screen resolution for a tablet is 900p.  Someone would ask the question, “How much would a handheld of this power cost?”  That’s a valid question.  Well let’s take a look at the Amazon Fire HD6.  This tablet has a screen resolution of 800p with a 6″ screen.  It has 8GB storage capacity, a Quad-Core processor at 1.5GHz per core, and 1GB of RAM.  This is at the very least ON-PAR with the Wii U.  Think about all the things you can do with a tablet besides playing video games.  The price?  $99.99 Yep.  For the price of the 2DS you can get a 2 year-old tablet on-par with the Wii U.  So it would be very easy for Nintendo to release a portable console with 900P resolution on-par with the 3 year-old XB1 for at MOST $199.99, perhaps even cheaper than that.

So where does the Wii U fit into all of this?  As I stated before, Nintendo as of the time of this post has stated they are not slashing financial forecasts of the Wii U hardware.  While the Wii U hardware sales aren’t great, they are better than they have been.  So my question is this and this is a “wild stab-in-the-dark” theory here.  If the NX is a portable unit, and the Wii U isn’t going anywhere, could the Wii U hardware actually be the base console for NX?

Remember, the first rumors of NX dubbed the code-name of the console ‘Nintendo Fusion.’  It was said that the new console would somehow “absorb” the Wii U architecture.  Also, we still don’t know all what’s under the hood of the Wii U, or the Wii U GamePad for that matter.  It has it’s own processor that no one has really bother to investigate.  I’ve always said that the Wii U was a prototype for what Nintendo wanted to do for the 9th gen because the infrastructure was not in place yet to do it when the Wii U was launched.  The Wii U has always felt to me like an incomplete, rushed console.  So many missing features and abilities that even the Wii had.  However I also remember that the Wii U has a highly-customized CPU network.  It has a Tri-Core PowerPC 750, a Dual-Core ARM Processor, and a DSP Sound Module.  I would venture to say that developers are not using all the horsepower the Wii U has, but there might be a reason for that.  It is a well known fact that console developers lock-down certain parts of the hardware to leverage the console’s full capabilities for themselves.  Nintendo is NOTORIOUS for this.  Could it be possible that NX was Nintendo’s plan all along and that the Wii U hardware actually was designed to merge or “fuse” with the NX portable to become a powerful next-gen console?  Who’s to say that Nintendo can’t just flick a switch that activates all the cores in the Wii U to where if you hook the NX Portable to it developers can leverage all that power combined to give you the best visuals possible?  PC games are scalable to a gamer’s particular PC strength, why not console games as well?  Then you add in the SCD (Supplemental Computing Device) which is heavily-rumored based on the patents filed by Nintendo.  You literally have a situation to where a console can be as powerful as you need it to be, or as powerful as you WANT it to be. 

If you are a person that is constantly on the go, you could buy the NX portable and call it a day.  If you already own a Wii U, you just hook the NX into the Wii U and now you have a next-gen console.  You tack-on the SCD and now you have Skynet.  🙂  Just kidding, but if the SCD actually happens and if it works the way the patent claims, you would have a console system that would be more powerful than you can imagine.  This could be why so many developers are speaking positively about NX and are planning ports of their games to NX.  Lastly, the biggest positive I can see about this is price.  If you already have a Wii U and the portable is $199.99, you essentially get a next-gen console for $199.99.  Publishers would definitely get excited about that and the idea of selling 15-20 million in the first year is not as outlandish (although it is still pretty ambitious.)  If the SCD is same price, then you still are out only $400 dollars.  Still at lot less than what you would pay to build a top-of-the-line gaming rig.

Now again, this is just a theory.  It’s not to be taken seriously.  I always like to think about all possibilities.  Most likely there will be a actual NX home console to go along side the NX portable console separate from the Wii U.  This was just a hypothesis on how Wii U could still live on, and even if there is a separate NX home console, Wii U could still be used in this fashion which is another reason why Nintendo is not looking to pull the plug on Wii U despite having really nothing announced for it after Zelda.  We’ll see what happens.

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