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Nintendo Finally Announces Mobile Games and a Mysterious New Hardware Platform!

Nintendo Wii Uu? Pronounced "Nintendo Wii Ooooooooh," of course.

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In a partnership with Japanese mobile app company DeNA, Nintendo will finally develop its properties into mobile games, and they’ve also got some new hardware, codenamed “NX,” on the way.

Nintendo sent out a press release this morning stating that their partnership with DeNA would explore any Nintendo intellectual property under the sun—the angry, angry sun—to create brand new games on mobile devices. Sadly, the release strictly states that the mobile games will not be ports of existing titles, so don’t get your hopes up for a virtual console-like service.

That’s a shame, because they won’t be leveraging their back-catalog to basically print money as I’ve wanted them to do for a long time, but it also means that they won’t be devaluing their proprietary consoles by offering current-gen game ports for mobile devices. I understand their hesitation, but I still don’t think anyone is buying current Nintendo hardware exclusively to play NES and SNES games, so I’m disappointed they’re seemingly still too afraid of losing console sales to port older titles.

They’ll also be building an “online membership service that is accessible from smart devices, PC and Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo 3DS portable system and the Wii U home console. The membership service, which is targeted to launch in the fall of 2015, will be built on DeNA’s extensive experience and capabilities in online membership services.” That’s as specific as they get, so it’s hard to know exactly what the companies are planning, but it’s a good bet that the new service will be an improvement on tapping into Nintendo’s existing online services from non-Nintendo devices and may have a role in the replacement of Club Nintendo, which is shutting down.

At a press conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s comments certainly made it sound like an evolution of Club Nintendo was likely, saying,

Unlike the Club Nintendo membership service that Nintendo has been operating, the new membership service will include multiple devices and create a connection between Nintendo and each individual consumer regardless of the device the consumer uses. This membership will form one of the core elements of the new Nintendo platform that I just mentioned.

And in potentially bigger news, that “new Nintendo platform” is the hardware currently codenamed “NX.” There’s a lot of speculation about what the NX is, but the only thing that’s known for sure right now is that Iwata called it “a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX,'” reports Eurogamer. He added, “It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year.”

So it’s definitely new gaming hardware, but there’s no indication of whether or not it’s a mobile or home console—or something new entirely. Maybe Virtual Boy 2? A Nintendo smartphone/tablet device? Maybe something to do with the forgotten Vitality Sensor? Maybe next-generation home console? Wii Three? Well, then they’d probably go with Wii Thrii. Or maybe just 3ii. And then the next one could be the NEW Nintendo 3ii, and—I’m getting sidetracked. The point is, it could be literally anything at this point, so jumping to conclusions is a bit premature.

I’d guess that it’s unlikely to be a sequel or replacement to existing game consoles due to its appearance along with the 3DS and Wii U in the infographic in this video from the press conference:

That sure looks like Nintendo touting an ecosystem of devices where the NX will fit into its own spot instead of usurping something else.

So what do you think the NX is? Do you buy into what is shaping up to be the newest round of doom and gloom predictions for Nintendo as they bring their characters to mobile games and people start assuming their handhelds are dead? Personally, I doubt Nintendo’s handhelds will die until Nintendo is good and ready to let them go, because the flagship titles of their main series will remain exclusive to their own hardware. The NES—and console gaming in general—wasn’t exactly killed by home computers, no matter what feelings of superiority some PC gamers express.

Or is the mobile device market a different circumstance? Hash it out in the comments.

(image via Mario iPhone case)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.