Luigi’s Mansion 3 (and other Nintendo NX Rumours)

Corrected point about PSP sales. That said, the point is still a valid one for the most part; handheld consoles which are designed specifically for smaller, more ‘portable’ games (and which focus on things like decent battery life) tend to outsell portable versions of home consoles with home console style games. It’s why the Game Boy never lost to any of its competitors, despite them often having better technology and home console style games.

With E3 just a couple of months away, you can’t go anywhere without coming across rumours about the system and its future games.  There’s been talk of a hybrid home console/handheld setup.  There’s been speculation that Zelda U will move to the NX.  Virtual Reality has been mentioned in the context of the Nintendo NX. Basically, if there’s any possible NX related idea you can think of, someone is claiming it’s coming to the new system.

And straight from NeoGAF, here are another few rumours about the system!  Are they true?  Are they likely?  Well, let’s find out!

Like last time, I’m using the tiered rumors where a T1 means one source told me, T2 means two, Tier 3 means 3, and Tier 4 means four or more (there are no T4 this time). I will reiterate this, I am not the source of any of this information. I am simply passing along what I heard. It should all be taken with a grain of salt and not be taken as gospel. Don’t cry and flame me if by June none of this is true.

We’re off to an ‘promising’ start folks. Apparently, the person posting these rumours has so little confidence in some of them that he classifies them as T1-T4 based on how many of his ‘sources’ say they’re true.

The names also sound like codenames for Terminator models, but hey, that’s just a random thought. So moving on…

T3 Rumors

The NX gimmick. I uh….was told not to post this part by some people. As usual, take it with a grain of salt (although I don’t know why I would be warned if it was false) I’m not under any NDA though, and well, it could end up being false. But I was told a variation of this by three different sources. I don’t believe they have a reason to lie to me. Here goes….

I have no idea if I’m right, I’m probably not, this could be fake and my sources may be lying. But hey, I’ll post it anyway!

That’s not very inspiring, is it? Then again, nor’s this part of the rumour…

The NX is going to have a screen controller (whether it’s optional or standard I don’t know) and can be used anywhere to play your home console games. The controller itself will not have any processing capabilities, it’ll essentially be a dummy vita.

So we’re going down the Wii U route here, with a GamePad controller. Somehow I doubt this, especially given how much money and time went into the controller when the Wii U was being developed. It stopped the system being as powerful as its competitors and jacked the price up really high too.

It’ll likely have basic OS functions to access the NX console from anywhere, like a tiny cpu. Nintendo will use enhanced Wii U gamepad streaming tech, and allow the controller to be taken anywhere, connect to the NX console at home (likely through Wi-fi or personal hotspots and the NX console will likely have to be in stand-by mode). Basically, it’s remote play built into the box and won’t require a $200 add-on to experience it.

And here’s where it falls apart.

Remote play for games… is not quite ready to be feasible yet. Something similar works moderately well for office work (using Teamviewer to access remote computers and do stuff on them), but games require a rock solid frame rate and the bare minimum of lag.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the world is at the moment. We have terrible internet infrastructure across much of the planet, and outside of certain areas (South Korea, Silicon Valley, buildings with dedicated fibre connections), internet speeds are not as great as they should be. Want to know why always on DRM is hated?

Because for much of the planet, it’s not feasible. Having you booted out of a game every few minutes because your connection drops off or slows down would make playing video games into complete and utter hell.

This idea would fail for the same reasons. Or heck, even more so, because if your connection to your console slows down or drops out, you are probably going to lose the game you’re playing.

Imagine trying to get through this level:

And then your internet starts lagging or you leave the coffee shop/train pulls into a tunnel.

Your poor Kongs are going to go flying into an obstacle and explode with the rocket barrel. Or worse, you’ll do what’s needed, it’ll look like you’ve bypassed the obstacle, but then have the console sync up and play the ‘life lost’ screen straight afterwards.

Put simply, internet connectivity is not good enough for a gimmick like this to work well as the main draw of a system. You might as well go one step further and have them send the instructions by post:

Above: God Dr Ashens and Guru Larry are awesome!

This is likely what Kimishima meant in his interview with Sankei (http://www.sankei.com/west/news/1601…030012-n1.html) “different way to play with a dedicated machine” and the whole “new way to experience games” mantra that’s been going around Nintendo PR.

Yes, it really is a whole new way play. Or not play, if you’re in a ‘first world’ country with great internet infrastructure.

It also opens up a few censorship questions, but more on that another time.

Speculation: Nintendo could also sell personal hotspot usb adapters to get internet anywhere and plug either directly into the controller or a wall outlet to not drain the controller battery.

I don’t get it, how would this help? You’ve got a personal hotspot, it’s called a smartphone. It still doesn’t help that much if the infrastructure is bad, and hey, if you’re on mobile data, then it most definitely is.

Note: This does not mean there will not be a handheld. This isn’t meant to be a replacement for the handheld as there will still be limitations and the controller won’t have a full OS or the capability for physical game media (discs or cartridges). The needs of a handheld won’t be fully met with this feature. It’s just a nice add-on.

Which makes complete and utter sense. A good home console and a good handheld console are incompatible ideas.

The former needs:

  1. Decent amount of power
  2. Interesting, fully featured games with deep and immersive gameplay
  3. A comfortable, well designed controller
  4. A setup which is compatible with a TV screen or monitor
    1. The latter needs:

      1. Good battery life
      2. Simpler, quicker games which can be played for short bursts
      3. To be small enough to fit in a pocket, handbag or rucksack
      4. A lower price tag

      You can have a good home console, a good handheld console or a piece of crap that doesn’t really do either type of gaming well.

      That’s why Nintendo hit it big with their Game Boys, DS and 3DS, and Sony failed miserably with the Vita. The PSP did better (around 75 million systems sold), but still not quite on the same level as the Nintendo DS and its different variations.

      T2 Rumors

      Luigi’s Mansion 3 is in development for NX. This rumor gained popularity awhile ago from Geno but this isn’t my source. This was a T1 to start but today I got another source to give some info on it. Two different sources have told me that it is in development for NX, and one source said it’s being developed by Next Level Games, who is big enough to do this and Federation Force at the same time.

      One source said it started as a Wii U game but after the disappointing performance of the Wii U and the scheduled release date for the game being late in the console’s cycle, Nintendo decided to switch development over to NX. (basically the same situation as Zelda for Wii U, but no word on if this game will also get a Wii U version). The other source said it’s a pretty big deal (he didn’t elaborate if he meant Nintendo is making it a big deal or his workplace is). To support this, an employee stealth edited his post last year.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon was a massive hit on the 3DS, selling near 5 million copies. Nintendo knows there’s an interest in the series, and a Nintendo NX game would be the perfect way to fulfil that interest. Heck, they’re already providing an arcade port of Dark Moon, that shows a certain level of confidence in the Luigi’s Mansion ‘brand’:

      As for it being moved over from the Wii U… yeah, makes sense. The Wii U is on its last legs, and some very credible people say that popular games like Zelda U, Super Mario Maker and Splatoon are coming to the Nintendo NX as well, to capitalise on its likely higher level of popularity.

      Either way, I think this part seems pretty plausible, though that could just be my inner Luigi’s Mansion fanboy speaking. Hopefully it has music like this:

      And some of the ideas from my Luigi’s Mansion 3 article:

      Luigi’s Mansion 3; What I’d Like to See – Gaming Reinvented

      But back to the rumours:

      T1 Rumors

      The NX will use a custom Polaris-like GPU. Likely will be on a FinFET 14nm fabrication node. The source told me it’s on the same architecture with heavy customizations of course . It will contain the feature set of Polaris. It is “marginally better than the PS4” and theoretically could be “2x the power of PS4 GPU”. I asked about PS4K being rumored to have a gpu 2x as powerful as the OG PS4 and how the theoretical performance of the NX would be and was told “Theoretically it could be close to the PS4K rumored specs”. Of course, we know nothing of Polaris or the PS4K specs, but he gave that metric.

      Not sure about this one to be honest. I’d love the Nintendo NX to be more powerful than the PS4, and I’m hoping it’s more powerful… I just don’t see it happening.

      Why? Because that’s not how Nintendo usually does things. They don’t go for ‘power’ first and foremost, they go for technical innovation and price. A console like this seems like it’d cost quite a bit to make, and that only goes up with the ‘remote play’ gimmick mentioned earlier.

      Talking of remote play, what I said about poor internet connections holds true here too. Especially when you’re streaming PS4 type games around the world and expecting them to run with minimal latency or lag.

      I’m going to paraphrase here, but one comment from a source about the power of NX was that “Dev’s could port over a PS4 game easily and have power to spare. Even the most demanding ones”. My own theory is any game that dips below 30fps on PS4 will likely stay at 30fps on NX and maybe have some enhanced effects.

      Would make sense given the earlier rumour, though I think estimations about the system’s ‘power’ level might be a bit optimistic at the moment.

      One feature he highly touted, which improves performance greatly in games, especially graphically demanding ones such as AAA open world games is Primitive Discard Accelerator. A TechGAF member described it as

      “designed to perform culling of triangles before they hit the geometry processor. Effectively, what this means is that it runs through the triangles (also known as primitives) as they hit the GPU and tests them to see if they’re actually going to be visible on the screen or not (with a variety of tests), then throws out the triangles that aren’t going to be on screen (i.e. discards them or culls them).

      Now, this is a good thing, pretty much regardless of the type of game. Attempting to render triangles that aren’t actually going to end up in the final image is a waste of GPU resources, and preventing that would be a pretty good thing. One of EA’s Frostbite developers actually just gave a talk on this at GDC (PDF link, very technical), where they describe the software-based culling methods used in Frostbite. In their test scene, they could throw out over 75% of triangles before hitting the geometry engine, resulting in an almost 20% performance improvement. AMD have also recently released their own software-based culling solution, GeometryFX, which like Frostbite runs as software on the GPU’s shader units. Hence, they’re obviously interested in the problem of triangle culling, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they developed a hardware unit to perform it more efficiently.”

      This was great to hear, but I asked if it was possible to get this feature set on 28nm GPU’s since those are more established and cheaper than 14nm and there isn’t a yield risk on those.

      “Well, from a purely theoretical perspective, any “Polaris exclusive” feature could be adapted to a 28nm process. Work on Polaris had likely been going on for about a year or so when work on NX started, so it is in theory possible that they said to AMD “Hey, we like this primitive discard accelerator thing, can we have it on our planned 28nm chip?”. The issue with this is that Nintendo would have had to fork over quite a lot of extra R&D dollars to get a functional block “back-ported” to 28nm, compared to components from existing GCN 1.2 chips, which were already ready to go for TSMC’s 28nm process. The other issue is the assumption that the primitive discard accelerator is single functional block that can be just pulled wholesale out of Polaris. It could be an integral part of the geometry processor or command processor, or the manner in which it operates could depend on the newer geometry or command processors in Polaris. This would mean that you’d need to port the bulk of Polaris’s improvements back to 28nm, or do a substantial amount of redesign work on the primitive discard accelerator to get it to work in a GCN 1.2-era chip (either of these would add substantially more R&D cost).

      It’s impossible to say how much it would cost them in the scheme of things, but it does seem like an unusual added expense over just taking existing GCN 1.2 tech, which would still be a generation ahead of the competition.”

      So with this quote, while it’s not confirmed, it is highly likely Nintendo is using a 14nm Polaris GPU in the NX based off of the expensive nature of using PDA or any Polaris feature set and putting it on a 28nm chip.

      If Nintendo does go with 14nm, it is very likely they will be taking a loss on each NX sold, but we don’t know the dealings AMD have with Nintendo. Once source told me “AMD may have been desperate enough for the business to offer Nintendo, say, the first year’s supply at a fixed price, to reduce Nintendo’s yield risk. They may also have specifically pushed Nintendo into a 14nm Polaris-based chip, as it would allow Nintendo to also use a Polaris-based 14nm chip for the handheld. This would not only be a big business win for AMD in itself (Nintendo’s handhelds typically sell a lot more than their home consoles), but it would also big a big PR win for them, by showing their ability to compete in the ultra-low TPD sector, which is a market they’ve made pretty much no traction in up until now.”

      So in other words, it works out if polygons are needed, then doesn’t load them if they wouldn’t be visible on screen. I guess it makes sense (I’m not a tech person, so I’ll assume the above is plausible), though it sounds like some rather incredible technology for a video game system. Especially one made by a company like Nintendo.

      So 14nm is still likely in 2016 and Nintendo could still sell it at a reasonable price and not lose too much money or even break even.

      Are they going to take a hit on a console which costs more to manufacture than it does to buy?

      Because while that was the case for the 3DS and Wii U, those were exceptions. Every prior system was sold above cost, and I’m pretty sure Nintendo doesn’t want another Wii U esque money loser on their hands.

      Nintendo are not a company that likes to lose money for multiple generations, even if it does get them extra game sales or third party support.

      Most dev kits won’t be given until Nintendo formally reveals the NX. As my previous post indicated, Nintendo is none too happy with the leaks and is keeping things on lockdown. Outside of close partners and internal teams, most devs are using SDK’s until the NX reveal. Not a big deal, but I was told specs are pretty much final as of now, and the May update will likely be for the final spec sheet and not target specs.

      This wouldn’t be too surprising, since Nintendo is exceptionally secretive about their consoles and games prior to their official reveal/launch date.

      MercurySteam has a dev kit and is making an already announced game for the NX. The only announced game they have is Raiders of the Broken Planet, currently under development for PS4, XB1 and PC. This is likely it. (Take this one as a T0.5).

      The Castlevania Lords of Shadow developers? Okay then. Not sure why they’d be the ones to get a dev kit though, they’re not heavily associated with Nintendo systems and don’t really have any amazing games to show as of this point. They might do better with Raiders of the Broken Planet, but that’s still a big risk for Nintendo.

      Final Fantasy XV on NX. My single source on this said he’s heard more of his sources mention it’s coming to NX. No idea when. I pressed for FFVIIR but nobody has heard about it. Gaf’s very own mod Kagari hinted that Sony may have co-funded it and it may never get released outside of PS4 and PC (like Street Fighter V).

      I’ve heard the same rumours, so I assume his source was someone on a message board or Reddit. But I suspect there’s more of a chance of Final Fantasy VII’s remake coming to the NX instead.

      NX will likely launch at different times per region. Only heard this from one source but it does make sense if the NX does use 14nm chips, as there’s a risk of not having enough of those chips ready on shelves for holiday 2016.

      No regions were specified, but one would assume with the slow adoption of consoles in Japan, and the popularity of handhelds over there, the NX will launch in the west first like some past Nintendo consoles (consoles are more popular outside of Japan). Likely North America and Europe.

      This would be interesting if true. Imagine seeing the first footage of NX games coming from European or American Youtube users or forum goers! It makes me picture all those Japanese 2channel users going through English forums and websites for ‘exclusive’ information.

      There are lots of NX games in development. Once source told me to post this so I won’t edit it at all

      “And you can quote me on this on GAF too: “I think NX software output is going to blow away Wii U. There’s a LOT of games in development. I don’t know if we’ll see all of them at E3, since a lot of Wii U projects weren’t announced until January 2013, but I’m very impressed so far with what I’m hearing.”

      New IP are being developed. I asked this because I noticed some complaints about how there were no leaks about new IP and NX was looking like another Mario/Zelda factory with a bunch of remasters and ports. The source said “I’m not allowed to give specifics, but that’s a sure bet.”

      This wouldn’t be at all surprising (since Nintendo dropped the ball on the Wii U, big time). But the challenge isn’t getting a lot of games.

      It’s getting a lot of games being released on a regular basis. A certain ‘consistency’ in game releases.

      Remember, the Wii U had a lot of games too… for about a month or two. It then had one or so ‘major’ game every few months afterwards.

      As did every other Nintendo system after the Nintendo 64.

      A million games could be released for the NX, but if they’re all coming within the first six months and are followed by absolutely nothing afterwards… then it’s irrelevant.

      So those are the rumours. Are they accurate?

      Well, it’s hard to say. Some sound almost too much like a wishlist (like the one about it being more powerful than the PS4 and having remote play features) and some sound plausible (like the Luigi’s Mansion 3 one), but all in all… I’m skeptical. You’ve got a console gimmick that seems like it wouldn’t work in most of the world, a bunch of wishlist features and hardware that isn’t in Nintendo’s usual style, hardware being sold for a loss (after a generation where Nintendo spent the first few years losing money on the 3DS and Wii U) and it’s on a message board with no evidence that the sources have any credibility.

      It’s also a text rumour, which as Source Gaming clearly points out, usually gives you a good reason to be suspicious of it:

      Text rumors are almost always false. Without anything to back them up, we really shouldn’t waste a lot of time trying to prove them, or debating their legitimacy.

      Leak Busting 101 – Source Gaming

      So I’d be skeptical of it for now. Just seems too much like a wishlist at the moment.

      Source:

      Nintendo NX Rumour – NeoGAF (single post)

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Demon_skeith
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One thing I like about this rumor is that they mention Nintendo is pulling games from the failing Wii U for the NX, which should mean the NX will have a solid line up of games for awhile I hope.