Sources indicate that Nintendo’s next console will be a console/handheld hybrid

According to a report today in the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has begun sending out software development kits for its new upcoming hardware named NX. The following quote from the report is the biggest hint at what the NX has in store:

The exact shape of the NX hardware isn’t yet clear. People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U’s capabilities didn’t match those of competitors.

A lot of these features in the next Nintendo system could change the console space. Stating that “at least one mobile unit” can be used with the console and on the go implies that there may be multiple second screen controllers and that they do not need to be tied down to the system. The Wii U currently utilizes a second screen but depending on the living quarters that the console is setup in its range can be very limiting. The “industry-leading chips” also sound very different for Nintendo who has had inferior hardware in comparison to its competitors for the past three generations.

Also in the report, the sources state that the system could be launching as soon as next year due to the current state of the 3DS and the Wii U. The 3DS was released to the world six years ago and while the “new” models did help the system reach over 50 million sales worldwide it isn’t surprising that the company believes that the handheld is ready for a successor.

A couple of months ago Nintendo also filed a patent for a console that did not have an optic drive. In his patent they also released images that hint at the controller having a separate display apparatus.

Nintendo_patent_NX_01 nx

The cross-over between console and handheld also makes sense when looking back at the merger between Nintendo’s originally separate console and handheld divisions. The systems have seen some benefits such as Miiverse integration and cross-buy on games such as Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars.