According to a Wall Street Journal report, developers should be receiving dev kits for the upcoming Nintendo NX platform sometime soon. This news comes alongside the release of a new Nintendo Developer Portal, a resource for people making and distributing games for Nintendo platforms.
The report, which cited sources familiar with Nintendo's development plans, suggested that the company is aiming to introduce the platform next year. What does "introduce" mean? Well, the Wall Street Journal quotes David Gibson, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities, who says that the firm is "increasingly of the idea that Nintendo might launch the NX in 2016 because of the softness of 3DS and Wii U," but I'm skeptical. Given that Nintendo is only just now shipping dev kits, conventional wisdom would say that we'll see an E3 2016 reveal for the platform and a 2017 release. But hey, I'll take it sooner so long as it's actually ready.
The report also gave a loose picture of what the NX might actually be:
People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely 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. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U’s capabilities didn’t match those of competitors.
That's not a lot to go on, but it is just enough specificity to start some fun speculation and raise some fascinating questions about Nintendo's plans. Will the mobile unit and the home console will be packaged together as a single product, or will they be released as separate devices which both operate on the same platform and run the same games? If they are packaged together, what sort of portability will the "mobile unit" include? Is it more like the Wii U gamepad or the 3DS? When talking about "industry-leading" chips, do they mean the home console industry or the mobile gaming industry? If the mobile unit is truly mobile, will it have the same chipset onboard that the home console does, or will games on that platform need to be scaled down for more restrained hardware?
Given what we now know about the NX, I have to say, my curiosity has been stoked. Though Sony's PlayStation Vita hasn't set the world on fire, I really enjoy the handheld's the cross-play and cross buy features, so a platform built specifically for that purpose sounds pretty good to me. I also hope that better hardware (and ideally, easier to use development tools) will give third-party developers a better reason to build games for the NX. But... I've also been hoping that since the GameCube, so I'm trying to stay realistic. But a man can dream, right? Right?