The Nintendo NX Won’t Beat the PS4 or Xbox One, But That’s OK

At some point in recent years it was seemingly unanimously decided by those in the gaming community that everyone should become emotionally invested in the revenue generated by console manufacturers. Whereas in the ’90s the “Sega vs. Nintendo” debate revolved solely around the technological capabilities and game libraries of both company’s respective gaming systems, now we have gamers taking a vested interest in the business side of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, debating their revenue and quarterly reports like a bunch of unbearable Bloomberg Businessweek subscribers.

Though pointing towards a disappointing financial quarter for one of the “Big Three” is easy views for those in the media, in reality the amount that the average consumer should care about these statistics is infinitesimal. You’re here to play games, and the only thing you should therefore be actively concerned about is if the profits these companies generate actively prevent you from doing so. I understand that tech consumers feel weird allegiances to certain brands, but that is ludicrous. Hardware manufacturers aren’t your friends; they’re companies who provide you with the tools to enjoy your hobby, no matter how many charming men inexplicably wearing t-shirts beneath suit jackets try to tell you otherwise during their E3 press conferences.

Which brings me to the reaction surrounding the Nintendo NX. As we discussed earlier this week, a new and thoroughly believable report from Eurogamer stated that multiple sources have confirmed specifics regarding the mysterious new console. Firstly, it’ll be a handheld system that will also connect to the user’s TV, offering detachable controllers for multiplayer experiences outside of the home. Secondly, its games will be stored on cartridges instead of disks, leading to a reported 32GB file size that is smaller than what is required for many modern games currently on the market for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Lastly, it’ll not be as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, with it using Nvidia’s mobile processor Tegra and it also being limited by the amount of data that can be stored on its cartridges.

Nintendo-NX-Concept

A concept of the console received by Eurogamer.

Though such an unusual step forward from Nintendo would inevitably prompt criticism, I was baffled by the sheer amount of consumers who, rather than considering the potential impact a dual home/portable console could have on the system’s library of games, instead opted to go right for the jugular and discuss the potential financial impact of the console. I dread to think of a world in which before allowing myself to get excited for a new console release, I instead sat down to consider whether or not it will ultimately be detrimental to a company’s fiscal year. 

It’s not exactly a stretch to suggest that the Nintendo NX won’t “beat” the PS4 or even the Xbox One in terms of sales, considering that both have the advantage of established user bases. Nintendo has also been routinely shy of the core features that attract the modern gamer, such as robust online multiplayer offerings in their games and competitive graphical performance. However, there’s nothing even remotely insulting about the statement that Nintendo has always provided us with the best “second console.”

If you buy a console from either Sony or Microsoft then, aside from the odd exclusive, for the average consumer there is rarely an overwhelming urge to buy the other company’s console, too. However, since the GameCube Nintendo has provided gamers with a unique alternative to sit alongside their PlayStation or Xbox, that doesn’t offer the same vast library of new releases or swanky technological advancements, but instead presents a solid line-up of first-party games and classic exclusives that are frequently unrivaled in quality. Even the Wii U, which suffered from stagnation far too early into its life cycle, has a selection of the best games you could find in the current console generation, that make the console worthy of sharing space with your PS4/Xbox One despite it rarely hosting a new release.

Despite the constant suggestion that Nintendo should follow in the footsteps of Sony/Microsoft and develop a console that matches its peers pound-for-pound, Nintendo will never win in that domain. They realize that. This is why their consoles routinely offer something new and quirky, because the company understands that they likely won’t be the first console you buy, but rather the console you buy afterwards but fall in love with anyway. Is that a smart business strategy? Probably not, but that is not my concern. I want to play great games on great consoles, and everything else is superfluous. Unless you work for Nintendo, that should be the case for you, too.