The elephant in the room
Nintendo has said it has no intention of showing the NX at E3 this year, but with new iterations of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on the horizon, the conversation around upcoming gaming hardware wouldn't be complete without Nintendo.
The NX was first officially revealed in March 2015 to coincide with the announcement that Nintendo would begin developing smartphone games. It was introduced amidst speculation that the garlanded Japanese company may abandon the console market--where the Wii U floundered--in favour of the handhelds, where the 3DS dominated. However, the announcement of NX was a statement of Nintendo's commitment to the console space.
Before his passing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata described the NX as a "brand new concept." His successor, Tatsumi Kimishima, added it was not the "next version of Wii or Wii U," but something "unique and different." Kimishima also acknowledged that Nintendo needed to "move away from [Wii and Wii U]" to make something new.
Details of this new hardware platform remain a mystery, but plenty of rumours have circulated. Leading speculation is that Nintendo plans to unite its handheld and console efforts. Reports have suggested NX will include a traditional living room console and "at least one mobile unit." The two units will supposedly work in conjunction with each other, allowing players to take their living room gaming on the road. It has also been speculated the console could be used to boost the power of the handheld.
The NX will also reportedly use "industry-leading chips" to allow for better graphics and deeper functionality, though what these chips are or the functionality they enable is unclear.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and many other iconic Nintendo franchises, is not contributing to the development of NX. Traditionally, Miyamoto has helped guide the development of new hardware, but this time he's focusing on designing games.
Patents reportedly filed on behalf of Nintendo have also pointed towards a "free-form touch controller." One of the patent states the controller's buttons can be assigned for specific purposes. It will also accommodate both right- and left-handed players.
Perhaps the most interesting--and suspicious--aspect of the patent is the suggestion the controller will display what is on the TV on the surface of the controller itself. This ideas has been linked to a report from 2014 that claimed tech giant Sharp was supplying Nintendo with its new line of LCDs. These are designed for non-traditional display shapes.
Amidst the rumours, Nintendo has kept its discussions of NX high-concept, saying only that "it's a new way of playing games." Over the past few years Nintendo's attempts at reinventing the way we play games have resulted in one of the most successful consoles of all time, and one of the biggest failures. Whatever the NX turns out to be, it's going to be interesting to see how Nintendo defines its next generation of gaming.