If you are Nintendo and you’re sitting at home preparing to market and launch the Nintendo NX this coming year, you’ve got to be thinking about quite a few factors as it relates what should be done and what shouldn’t. Both Microsoft and Sony have experienced success with certain plans and failure with others, so Nintendo has a lot to reference moving forward.
Assuming Nintendo’s NX is a powerful console that is focused more on the core gamer versus the casual gamer, the firm already has a lot of ground covered that will benefit the system right from the start. That said, things like price, controller, gimmicks, backwards compatibility and messaging are all items Nintendo must carefully consider.
As we sit here, the Xbox One and PS4’s permanent prices check-in at $349, however the systems were briefly made available for $299 this holiday season. Microsoft did the same thing last holiday and then decided to make $349 a permanent price, so it’s possible the Xbox One could see another price drop sometime next year. Getting back to Nintendo, they are going to enter the console market with a brand-new system.
That means whatever price Nintendo chooses to mark the NX at, it will have to consider the fact that PS4 and Xbox One have already experienced price drops. When you look at the Wii and current price of the Wii U, the systems have typically checked in at the lower price point compared to its counterparts in the PlayStation and Xbox. Even if the system is as powerful as the aforementioned platforms, it will still be very hard for Nintendo to bring a console in at $399 or more. It’s fair to expect Nintendo to introduce its new piece of hardware at the same price as the PS4 and Xbox One, unless it has some killer, must-have features that truly warrant a higher price.
The past two Nintendo consoles have prominently featured gimmick technologies that have been a mix of successful and not. The Wii had the “it” factor and was a console that core and casual gamers had to have. Even non-gamers picked up a Wii because of its intrigue, but Nintendo failed to capture lightning in a bottle for a second time with the Wii U. Microsoft already proved this generation that core gamers do not want a peripheral technology forced upon them, so it’s fine if Nintendo wants to bring forth that sort of technology with the NX. What must not happen is to have whatever peripheral bundled with the console because we saw how that panned out for Microsoft.
Giving gamers a choice between getting the NX with or without the peripheral technology is the essential balance Nintendo must strike in order to not alienate gamers like Kinect did. Should Nintendo NX not even have a peripheral sort of technology, then none of this part matters, but it’s fair to say many would be shocked if it didn’t have something because the Wii and Wii U did.
Emulation and backwards compatibility are in for the PS4 and Xbox One, respectively. When you look at the Nintendo Wii U, it has some of the most well-reviewed first-party software of any of the three major platforms, so it would behoove Nintendo to have enabled backwards compatibility for Wii U games on the NX. This is especially important for the Nintendo gamers that have adopted the Wii U and stayed loyal to Nintendo. While it’s something all gamers will benefit from, it’s most beneficial to existing Wii U owners that will migrate to the NX.
Finally, messaging will be crucial to the initial success of the Wii U. Sony has proven how far effective PR and Marketing can take a console. The PS4 has had a tremendous start to this generation and a lot of that is due to the work Sony put in before the console was even on the market. The approach and type of audience Nintendo will garner with the NX rests largely on whether or not it will be a powerful console that can compete with the PS4 and Xbox One.
If it is, then messaging is crucial as well as its features. If the NX has backwards compatibility, then Nintendo must let people know that even before the system launches. Slow playing such an announcement isn’t an option given the fact that we know games of past generations can be played on PS4 and Xbox One right now.
It’s obvious that we will know the price before NX launches, but bringing the NX out at the same or a lower price point as the PS4 and Xbox One would help them match up well. Should the Nintendo NX be a console for core game developers, than an architecture that developers can easily learn and accentuate, much like the PS4 and Xbox One, will be a key part in regaining third-party support.
Finally, therein lies one of the biggest things Nintendo must learn from the PS4 and Xbox One: third-party support. The Nintendo Wii U has simply lost all third-party support and that has arguably been one of the biggest turn-offs for people picking up the console. Whether people like the franchises or not, Call of Duty, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed and other major franchises not coming to the Wii U has absolutely damaged the system’s success.
It has become crystal clear how important third-party deals are to both of the latter gaming consoles, and it will be even more important for the NX. Whether its early DLC, exclusive betas or exclusive games themselves, Nintendo NX must have an immediate and firm presence in the third-party exclusive game.
Now with all of the comparisons made for what Nintendo should do based on what has already been done for both consoles, all of this isn’t to say being the best Microsoft/Sony hybrid possible is a good thing, however there is a lot to be said about learning from what your competitors have done. Gaming is a stronger and better industry with a Nintendo console that is thriving versus the struggles they’ve seen since 2012. Hopefully the NX will shift the tide so the industry has three consoles that are thriving once again.