The NX hardware will also tie into a new membership service that Nintendo is developing with DeNA. It's a replacement for Club Nintendo, and will incorporate multiple devices including the Wii U, 3DS and non-Nintendo devices such as smartphones and tablets.
It's no secret that Nintendo's Wii U has been struggling. Despite some standout titles, including Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the platform hasn't resonated with consumers like the original Wii or the latest hardware from both Sony and Microsoft. Many have wondered how long it will take before Nintendo decides to cut its losses and shift focus to a new console entirely. That would, of course, disgruntle existing Wii U owners, so a new system that sits alongside Nintendo's existing hardware, at least to begin with, makes sense. Chief executive Satoru Iwata says more details about NX will be shared "next year," so don't expect any grand announcements at E3 or the next Nintendo Direct.
"As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX,'" he says.
Why is Nintendo making this announcement now? Its decision to develop new smartphone games with DeNA is sure to rile some of its most dedicated fans, which feel the company's characters should be protected from outside developers, especially those in the mobile space. Teasing the "NX" today could reassure gamers that Nintendo is still committed to "hardcore" titles and won't be abandoning its hardware business anytime soon.