It’s nearly impossible to accurately predict Nintendo’s future moves, unless something is leaked ahead of time. Rumors have persisted over the past six months that Nintendo will unveil and release its upcoming NX platform this year. Some people look at these rumors and dismiss them because historically Nintendo doesn’t reveal hardware and release it in the same year. While that is true, one of the most successful hardware releases of all-time was announced, shown, and released all in the same year: the Nintendo DS. This proves that Nintendo has been able to pull it off before with astounding results. Plus, let’s not forget that both Sony and Microsoft didn’t unveil the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One until the year of release as well.
So, now that the date announced for Nintendo’s year-end financials (April 27) is fast approaching, when can we expect more news regarding the NX? Again, if we look back at Nintendo’s past actions it looks like we might be in for a simple press release before a full unveiling at this year’s upcoming E3 show, which takes place from June 14 – 16.
Here’s how the Nintendo DS announcement, reveal, and launch took place:
January 20, 2004 – Press Release
An unprecedented approach to video game play — holding two separate game screens in the palm of your hand — hits the scene later this year when Nintendo introduces a new portable game system, code-named Nintendo DS.
From information made available today, players can look forward to being able to manage their game progress from two different perspectives, enhancing both the speed and strategy of the challenge. For example in a soccer game, users can view the whole game on one screen while simultaneously focusing on an individual soccer player’s tackle or goal on the other screen.
Players will no longer be forced to interrupt game play to shift perspective, such as moving from a wide shot to a close up, or alternating between a character’s ongoing battle and a map of the environment. Nintendo DS makes it possible to perform the tasks in real time by simply glancing from one screen to the other.
Today’s announcement is but a glimpse of the additional features and benefits that will be shown in full at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles in May. Once fully revealed, players will see innovative advances in game interaction.
“We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century,” explains Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president.
Nintendo DS features two separate 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and semiconductor memory of up to 1 Gigabit. It’s scheduled to launch worldwide before the end of 2004.
In addition to Nintendo-developed software, the company is in discussions with third-party game developers around the world.
Nintendo DS will be marketed separately from the company’s existing Nintendo Game Boy Advance portable system and Nintendo GameCube home console.
May 11, 2004 – Nintendo DS Debuts At E3
November 21, 2004 – Nintendo DS Launches In The U.S.
Assuming the NX is launching this year, Nintendo could very well follow a similar timeline. This would mean we might see a press release regarding the NX before Nintendo’s financial results meeting in April. They did exactly this with both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. Take a look:
March 23, 2010 – Nintendo 3DS Press Release
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Launch of New Portable Game Machine
Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Minami-ward of Kyoto-city, President Satoru Iwata) will launch “Nintendo 3DS” (temp) during the fiscal year ending March 2011, on which games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses.
“Nintendo 3DS” (temp) is going to be the new portable game machine to succeed “Nintendo DS series”, whose cumulative consolidated sales from Nintendo amounted to 125million units as of the end of December 2009, and will include backward compatibility so that the software for Nintendo DS series, including the ones for Nintendo DSi, can also be enjoyed.
We are planning to announce additional details at E3 show, which is scheduled to be held from June 15, 2010 at Los Angeles in the U.S.
That year Nintendo released its Fiscal Year-End financial results on May 6 and had a briefing with investors on May 7. The 3DS would not release until March of 2011 in the U.S.
April 25, 2011 – Wii U Press Release
To whom it may concern:
Re: Wii’s successor system
Nintendo Co., Ltd. has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii, which the company has sold 86.01 million units on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011.
We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.
Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.
That year Nintendo released its Fiscal Year-End financial results on April 25 and had the investor briefing on April 26. The Wii U wouldn’t be released until November of 2012 in the U.S.
So, there’s been precedence for a system to get announced, unveiled, and released all in the same year. However, more times than not Nintendo takes its time between announcing a new platform and bringing it to market. Desperate times may call for desperate measures, and with sales slowing down on 3DS and sales never taking off for Wii U, I continue to lean toward the NX arriving late this year. Let us know what you think!