Nintendo itself has said that its upcoming NX console would be unique and different. Earlier leaks and patent applications have provided some direction but the latest exclusive from EuroGamer seemingly lets the entire cat out of the bag (and it’s quite a unique cat).
Multiple sources tell the publication that the NX is a fully portable console with a centrally-located screen and controls on either side (think Sega Game Gear). What’s unique here is that the two end controllers can be detached from the system. While at home, the whole assembly connects to your television via a docking station.
As has been previously rumored, the NX is said to use game cartridges as its physical media. Nintendo has reportedly recommended carts as large as 32GB which, in today’s world of gaming, isn’t all that much. Could Nintendo be repeating its past mistake (the Nintendo 64 used physical carts at a time when everyone else had moved on to discs)?
That said, digital downloads are also expected to be a thing so the system won’t lean entirely on cartridges.
Given the major shift in strategy, the NX isn’t expected to be backward compatible with existing platforms. The latest report also clarifies that the system will run a new operating system from Nintendo, not a fork of Android.
Curiously enough, sources say the system will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra mobile processor. That’s not entirely surprising considering its mobile-first approach although predictably, it’ll limit the console’s overall graphical processing power at a time when Sony and Microsoft are prepping 4K-compatible, VR-ready systems.
Nvidia's X1 has been available for some time now but as EuroGamer notes, it could simply be a placeholder for the X2. From what they've heard, the X1 in the current iteration of the NX is actively cooled with audible fan noise which doesn't seem like a great recipe for a mobile console.
Amittedly, we don't know very much about the X2 at this point (this document pretty much covers everything). If Nintendo were to use an X2 and the same Pascal architecture from Nvidia's new GPUs, it could be a surprisingly powerful combination that'd be quite efficient thanks to the 16-nanometer FinFET process. Underclocking the combo could further result in efficiency boosts, critical for a mobile machine that relies entirely on battery power.
Again, going head-to-head with Neo and Project Scorpion isn't Nintendo's goal. Purposefully sacrificing power in the name of portability is, well, the name of the game.
Sources say Nintendo is planning to unveil the NX this September ahead of its announced March 2017 launch.