Last week's huge Dragon Quest event was filled with major announcements for the long running series. Most significantly was the announcement of Dragon Quest XI, which is arriving just in time for Dragon Quest's 30th anniversary. Two versions of the game were introduced at first; an epic HD adventure on PS4 and an intriguing 3DS adventure that you can play in either 3D or 2D. Dragon Quest has historically always been tied to the single dominating platform in Japan so to see the series go multiplatform was shocking. As the event was wrapping up the final "one more thing" announcement was that Dragon Quest XI would be coming to Nintendo's NX platform alongside Dragon Quest X. This was a megaton announcement considering these are the first two games announced for Nintendo's mysterious new console. I watched the exciting event live so I'd like to share my thoughts on what this announcement suggests for NX and the future of the Wii U.

Virtually nothing of substance is known about the NX other than that it is some kind of dedicated games system. The NX was announced to be in development following Nintendo's announcement that they will begin developing games for smart phones so as to assure both fans and investors that Nintendo was not abandoning their hardware business. The NX has been discussed as both their next console and as a platform which suggests there could be more than one NX device. Also important to note is that Nintendo considers the NX as a third pillar to the Wii U and 3DS which you can see in this image below from Nintendo's conference with DeNA in March.

Nintendo has been adamant that they won't share any information about the NX until 2016, but last Tuesday's Dragon Quest XI announcement has blown open the doors for speculation. Previously I felt that NX would be divided into two devices, a handheld and a console. While Nintendo describes the NX as a third pillar, Nintendo had previously used that exact language to describe the introduction of the DS back when the Gamecube and GBA were going strong. In other words, I feel the NX platform is primed to replace both the 3DS and Wii U similar to how the DS replaced the GBA.

The big innovation I feel the NX will introduce will be the ability to share NX games between NX devices. This will be a huge improvement for how Nintendo does business because regardless of which platform you buy you would have access to a majority of the games Nintendo produces. This would be a huge win for everyone. First party software lulls would become a thing of the past if more of Nintendo's efforts can reach their entire audience. Sales that would be restricted to one platform previously would thus be able to expand to the other audience.

This would be a huge help to more niche series like F-Zero, Star Fox, and Fire Emblem since their games would have even greater potential to sell to more people. Sharing software between platforms would also encourage Nintendo to cut down on some of their more redundant releases like the many Mario sports games since they wouldn't have to create a version of a game unique to each platform.

Of course I don't think every game will be shared between the two platforms and that can be for the best too. The PS4 version of Dragon Quest XI offers a substantial hint about the NX console's power since for that game to be able to run on the NX console, the new console must be more or less as powerful as a PS4. I don't expect the handheld NX to be as powerful as a PS4, and thus not all games could be shared between devices. If a new Zelda game were to be developed for the NX on the scale of Zelda Wii U, I don't see that vision being downgraded just so it can run on the handheld. Just because some games will be exclusive to one device, doesn't really diminish the overall positive impact of the ability to share software.

Dragon Quest XI also hints at the NX's release timing. Previously I felt Nintendo's next handheld would launch in 2016 and the console would release in 2017. When making that guess I felt the 3DS was nearing the end of its run and a handful of major Wii U releases were still to come in 2016. Since Dragon Quest XI is supposed to release within the year of Dragon Quest's 30th anniversary, Dragon Quest XI will release from May 2016 to May 2017. In order to achieve maximum impact from Dragon Quest's release, I feel the NX console has to release before Dragon Quest XI launches and thus it must be ready for holiday 2016.

A holiday 2016 release for the NX console wouldn't be unfeasible since most of the major Wii U development teams haven't returned for a second release on the console. Major developers like Retro and the Mario Galaxy team could easily have begun quietly preparing their NX launch titles after launching their early Wii U efforts. If certain games will be released to work on both NX devices, even the previously handheld exclusive developers could be used to bolster the NX launch in a major way. A 2016 launch for the NX can only be a good thing for the system's success too since it will be able to share multiplatform PS4 and Xbox One games for much of its life. If Dragon Quest XI will be able to reach NX, games like Final Fantasy XV and a host of Western games like Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty shouldn't be too far behind.

A 2016 console release would spell the beginning of the end for the Wii U, but that's ok. The Wii U has played host to an incredible amount of exclusives since its launch in 2012 such as Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2. It also has many more exciting exclusives to be released this holiday and into 2016 such as Super Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. Nintendo has pledged that even when the NX launches, the Wii U will still be supported for a little while, so I imagine there are still a few good surprises beyond Zelda U (which for the record I very much expect will remain a Wii U exclusive game considering how much it has to be designed around the hardware and the Wii U gamepad).

I think the potential of NX is even stronger now that Dragon Quest XI has been announced for the platform and now I'm even more eager to learn what the future of Nintendo holds. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long into 2016 to learn more about NX and the future of Wii U.


That concludes my latest blog! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below! I always enjoy reading and responding to your comments.