by ‘Apolon’ via iDigitalTimes

There’s a lot riding on the Nintendo NX, Nintendo’s upcoming “game platform,” which everybody seems to be assuming is a handheld and console hybrid (I wouldn’t be so sure—all we know for sure is that it isn’t Android-based and isn’t virtual reality–based. It’s a big mystery, and it carries on its shoulders the whole future of Nintendo… which may not be great news, since we hear the thing might be weaker than the PS4.

The Nintendo NX Really Needs To Succeed

Don’t get me wrong: Nintendo isn’t really in dire straits. The company isn’t even losing money anymore, although it did for two years in a row—the only time in the company’s century-long history it lost money at all. The Wii and the Nintendo DS were, of course, both phenomenal successes. The Nintendo 3DS was an initial failure that turned into a reasonable success. The Wii U has not done very well at all. Nintendo’s new “third pillar,” Amiibo, is the company’s highlight right now… a major success, selling millions of units every month. But the company needs a dedicated platform to support its new toy line.

For that, the Nintendo NX needs to be a hit. The company has scraped by the Wii U generation on the back of the 3DS and Amiibo, even as the Wii U has never really taken off. But ‘scraping by’ really is the phrase to use. Wii U releases have been relatively few and far between. Flagship titles haven’t been coming out nearly enough to drive strong interest in the console, aside from Super Smash Bros Wii U, which also had a Nintendo 3DS counterpart. And third party releases are totally gone at this point, besides from standard EA shovelware. There’s not much to cling to, and even with a new slew of first-party AAA titles, the console wouldn’t get new momentum at this late stage, in what would normally be mid-lifecycle.

So instead it looks like Nintendo is going to move beyond Wii U and hope to kickstart the new generation half a cycle early with the Nintendo NX. It’s a big risk,  and a lot is riding on it, probably up to and including Nintendo’s future in the hardware business. Certainly the console business is at stake. If Nintendo NX is a bust, following the Wii U… it’s hard to imagine Nintendo having the money and good will for a third stab at a dedicated console. Face it: If Nintendo NX doesn’t succeed, Nintendo as we know it will change forever. And that’s why the company is getting ready to go all in.

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