At the end of the last console generation, publishers were funding games with development budgets in excess of $100 million. Few of those ever made that back. So with the news that Nintendo and keeping the technical potency of the NX at a sane minimum, it means that developers and gamers can focus on actual gameplay again. However, this will likely annoy publishers.
This is because large games publishers like to have a one size fits all solution to game production, as in one game that can be released across multiple platforms. In general, this means that you need each platform to have an equivalent degree of technical potency and also a shared input method.
This limited a lot of the third party publisher support on the original Wii and actively undermined the Wii U, though more to do with the input rather than just the technical power. After all, why spend money developing a game when you can only release it on just one console.
Now, with massive budgets that is indeed a very valid argument. However, these massive budgets are now a ticking time bomb for console gaming.
When people like Epic’s Tim Sweeney openly come out and say that spending $100 million on a console game is no longer viable, it’s time the industry as a whole woke up to that.
While much of the actual operating costs for games are hidden from public view, it’s now an open secret that ballooning console budgets can no longer be sustained in the long term.
This is why the NX is actually a smart move, not only are the leaked technical specifications of the console kept at a rational minimum but the overall input setup is not completely left field either.
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Considering that Nintendo’s handheld consoles have been so successful, it makes a lot of sense to embrace that with the upcoming NX.
The only obstacle Nintendo needs to overcome is that they need third party publisher support for the NX. If publishers can get it into their heads that the blockbuster game budget approach is a route to long term ruin, then the NX may stand a chance after all.
Nvidia is providing the core technology that powers Nintendo’s next
generation NX console. Multiple sources have confirmed that the new
machine is based around Nvidia’s mobile-orientated Tegra processor, with
development kits currently using the Tegra X1 chip found in the Shield Android TV console and the Google Pixel C tablet.
The news is bound to come as some surprise to those – including ourselves
– who suspected that AMD would provide the technology guts to the new
Nintendo machine, but what’s clear is that the firm is planning to go
into a completely new, potentially revolutionary direction. Right now,
it is simply not interested in providing hardware that directly competes
with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It has its own ideas on where to take
NX is a mobile games machine, albeit one with a
twist – principally that the unit can plug into a base station that
transforms it into something more akin to a conventional console.
However, the handheld’s side-mounted control areas are apparently
detachable, becoming individual pads for two-player gameplay – as
revealed in today’s big Nintendo NX news story
on this site. At a really basic level, NX is effectively a reversal of
the Wii U GamePad concept. It’s a fully integrated mobile games machine
you can plug into an HDTV, as opposed to a console with a semi-portable
gaming component, bolstered with a unique ‘go anywhere’ take on local
And the compromise there is clear – a relatively
lower level of performance compared to the existing current-gen
machines. Nvidia’s Tegra technology is built with a specific profile in
mind: a delicate balance between performance and power efficiency in
order to maintain battery life, the life force of mobile gaming. What
this means is that prior, plausible rumours of an AMD-powered console
with PS4-beating performance and utilising x86 architecture are
erroneous. NX is smaller, leaner, portable – and yes, less powerful.