Nintendo NX: Why it should you care?

– Reduce

Between console and smartphone

Tegra X1

The Tegra X2

The cloud gaming

A former project


Since its partnership with DeNA, Nintendo flirting with the world of mobility and Android. The firm does not remain less specialized in the development of game consoles and the first information about the NX not suggested a link between these two ecosystems. The latest rumors, however, recall that our smartphones are just as able to run games, and that the border between consoles and smartphones is more than tenuous.

Nintendo NX is talked about for many months. First rumor, since its existence has been confirmed by the Kyoto firm that has nevertheless to comment on the rumors about her. Some still believe that it will be powered by a NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor and will be composed of a mobile unit with a screen with detachable handles on both sides, and a base for easily link all to a TV to play sedentary way in his living room.

If this description does not speak, imagine a sort of Wii U GamePad which could be carried anywhere while remaining functional even from the console of reach. But can we really expect the same thing from a mobile architecture as a home console?

Nintendo NX: the perfect convergence of the console and smartphone

During his official announcement, Nintendo remained very vague about its console, but said he would not actually the descendant of the Wii and Wii U. It is more a question of “something unique , different “, a device capable of uniting in a single product the world fairs machines, portable consoles and smartphones. A description matches the rather advanced by Eurogamer rumors and that, according to TrustedReviews advancing the NX does not have an x86 architecture as is the case of the PS4 and Xbox One, and Nintendo have partnered with Nvidia and thus possibly enjoy its mobile solutions.

The same day, Nintendo unveiled the world of its next two mobile games based on licenses respectively Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing. By opting for an ARM architecture on its NX, Nintendo could thus converge the two worlds by offering its mobile games on their new console in addition to its own titles (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild …) and thus expand more the potential of this financial windfall welcome in this economically difficult period for the firm of Kyoto. This seems also to be confirmed by sources of the Wall Street Journal, the latter stating that the console would be compatible with mobile games from Nintendo.

Tegra X1: what to expect

Announced in early 2015, the Tegra X1 is getting old, but still among the best mobile SoC of time when it comes to run intensive games. That chip Nvidia is mainly GPU equipped with a Maxwell microarchitecture and 256 cores. Moreover, we have seen ourselves at the TV Shield tests and Pixel C, both animated by this component.

The various devices are not running the same systems, it is difficult to truly compare the X1 Tegra’s capabilities and the latest in date of consoles. On a theoretical level, it can be remembered that the GPU of the Nvidia chip reaches 1 TFLOP power, slightly less than that in the Xbox One (1.3 TFLOP), and almost half as compared to one of the PS4 (1.84 TFLOP).

However we have seen in the past, the Tegra X1 is able to offer equivalent graphics performance, even superior to the previous generation of consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) and even the Wii U. On Shield TV, well-ventilated the processor shows its potential and allows to play games such as Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Borderlands 2 and DOOM 3. They also look for some faster and in better resolution than on PS3 and X360. It is, however portages, and developers have partly had to make concessions in graphic details (shadows, lighting effects, details of decor, etc.). The recent support Vulkan could however change this and allow to improve this kind of display effects and especially the number of items on the screen to provide a better rendering.

Graphically, the Nintendo NX could be unable to compete with the Neo PS4 and Xbox One Scorpio planned soon, or even with the versions currently available. Nintendo however has never really tried to compete on the field performance, preferring to innovate in terms of gameplay. NX therefore follow the same path as the Wii and Wii U in their time.

The Tegra X2 to the rescue?

One point, however, could change that. Nvidia has finally unveiled the successor to the Tegra X1, the GPU will be based on the Pascal architecture found on the latest generation of GeForce 10xx cards. Its details are not yet known, but the Tegra K1 transition X1 has more than tripled the extended power (326 GFLOPS 1024 GFLOPS). We can also guess that the Tegra X2 has the potential to reach the level of the current consoles and even surpass them.

This is of course a hypothesis, but this could be a way for Nintendo to strike a blow by displaying high performance, that many gamers expect from a console, while still offering an innovative concept with its hybrid console that can be used as well as sedentary nomadic way.

Head in the clouds

The other possibility for Nintendo to ensure the sustainability of its console based on the cloud gaming. Recall that the Kyoto company has filed a patent on it several years ago and active guard since that day, the last update dates back to March.

The partnership is so strong about since this is one of the advantages of the Shield TV, for playing titles like The Witcher 3 in 1080p at 60 FPS. This however requires significant infrastructure to host servers running the games, which is far from the main force of Nintendo.

The other use is to allow the portable module to remotely access a possible extra power contained in the dock. Like the PS4 and PSVita, strong processor load related problems of autonomy could thus afford to maintain the full potential of the console on the go assuming that the processor is broken only when placed on its base. Then this would be a great advantage of NX on smartphones and tablets, as powerful as they are.

A longtime project

This is not the first time Eurogamer reported similar rumors. Already in 2009, the British media published a very detailed paper on the console which then had to succeed the Nintendo DS by pressing its processor, a Nvidia Tegra 2.

Those who follow the news know that the video game console that has ever emerged. then we can imagine that this rumor was unfounded and the rumor that the NX turn with a Tegra X1 chip is just as fanciful.

Yet there is another possibility to consider. This project may have actually existed before being deemed too little viable for marketing, then reworked in depth to form the basis of what became the NX. From simple handheld approaching the mobile world, Nintendo would have expanded his horizon to create an ecosystem that can both meet its applications on smartphones, handhelds and those salon. And this ambitious intention deserves to be closely monitored, provided perhaps that third party publishers will lend themselves more interest than