With rumours emerging that Nintendo NX will be a portable, handheld console with detachable controllers, Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter has broken down what we know so far about the console’s technical specification.
Early details suggest that we shouldn’t expect a conventional games console, with Nintendo seemingly treading a line between Wii U and the Nvidia Shield Android TV. It can be seen as a “reverse Wii U,” in that it is a fully portable device with a screen that may also be placed into a docking unit to be played on an HDTV.
Praising its revolutionary design, Leadbetter provides a tantalising glimpse at the potential that has driven the idea. With the control elements being detachable from the device, that could allow players to enjoy local multiplayer at any time regardless of their location.
“Local multiplayer out of the box, playable anywhere, either on the mobile screen or attached to an HDTV,” Leadbetter contemplates. “It could be a real game changer. A seriously big deal for a company that specialises in unique gaming ideas.”
Their break down moves on to the console’s innards, with much of their attention spent on exploring the decision to utilise Nvidia’s mobile Tegra technology – “the most powerful tablet form factor chip on the market right now.”
With eight CPU cores and a 256-core Maxwell GPU, the Tegra X1 is already used in the Nvidia Shield Android TV and the Google Pixel C tablet. This is believed to be in current Nintendo NX development kits, and can be seen as a much more capable chip than the Wii U had.
It doesn’t rival PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but Leadbetter positions it as a “turbo-powered last gen console.” Games such as Doom BFG Edition and Trine 2 run with a better performance on Tegra X1, but DirectX ports like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Resident Evil 5 aren’t as commendable.
The question that lingers for Leadbetter is why Nintendo NX was delayed to March 2017, and whether it could mean that Tegra X1 is a placeholder while Nintendo is waiting on Tegra X2 to deliver a more powerful and efficient solution. Ultimately, it would be closer to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in performance, as well.
Cartridges are back, but another question remains around the console’s screen resolution. We can expect to learn more in September when it is believed that the company plans to reveal Nintendo NX to the world.