Nintendo has announced that it will launch its next-generation games console — called NX — later this year ahead of the product going on sale in March 2017, as the Japanese gaming giant reports a huge fall in revenue.
The company announced the NX news at the same time as it revealed that for the fiscal year ending March 31, its earnings plunged 60.6 percent to 16.5 million yen ($148 million) on revenue of $4.53 billion, down 8 percent. The company has struggled to compete with the Xbox One from Microsoft and Sony's PlayStation 4, with the Wii U failing to replicate the huge success the company experienced with the original Wii.
Nintendo failed to give any details about the new console, but quashed speculation about a reveal at the E3 gaming trade show in June, saying the company would be focusing on its new game "The Legend of Zelda" in Los Angeles.
Not much is known about the Nintendo NX, with Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima telling Time earlier this year that the console would not simply be an update to its current model. "I can assure you we’re not building the next version of Wii or Wii U,” he said. “[NX] is something unique and different. It’s something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal.”
A report from the Wall Street Journal in October said software development kits (SDKs) had already been shipped to developers with sources saying the NX would 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."
Following the huge success of the original Wii console, which has sold over 100 units, Nintendo has struggled to compete with consoles from Sony and Microsoft with its Wii U console, which has sold just 10 million units since launching in 2012. In the last 12 months Nintendo has sold just over 3.2 million Wii U consoles, but predicts that figure to fall to just 800,000 in the coming year ahead of the NX release.
The company also revealed that the new game would be released on Wii U and NX simultaneously next March, with the games being developed in tandem. The Wii U version of the game will be showcased at E3 as a playable demo, the company said.
“As we report the results of the last fiscal year, we also look forward to an exciting period ahead with further growth in our mobile business, new products for our dedicated video game systems and continued progress in our efforts to increase the number of consumers experiencing our IP through games, licensing and expanded entertainment,” Kimishima said in a statement.
Nintendo recently dipped its toe in the mobile gaming business for the first time with the launch of the social game "Miitomo." The company revealed that it had already passed the 10 million user mark since its launch in March. Recent data from SurveyMonkey Intelligence based on just 4 million users suggested Nintendo was generating $40,000 per day from the game with players paying for in-game currency to buy items such as clothes for their avatar.
Nintendo struck a deal with Japanese mobile game developer DeNA to release a total of six smartphone games over a period of two years and the company has now announced that the next two games in that series will be based on its popular franchises "Animal Crossing" and "Fire Emblem."
"Animal Crossing" is an animal-based simulator where the player character lives in a rural village populated with anthropomorphic animals. "Fire Emblem" is a tactical role-playing game with Nintendo saying it plans to make the smartphone version "more accessible" than the console versions of the game.