Nintendo has new hardware coming out soon, possibly this year, most likely by next year. Rumors say that the next Nintendo platform will double as both a home console and a portable handheld, with each proponent being released separately. If this is the case, there’s some things that I would like to see Nintendo do, specifically with the handheld portion which is said to be released first. So let’s take a look at what the new Nintendo handheld should be.
First off, let’s talk about hardware. This is arguably Nintendo’s weakest link and what should be a main focus. If the handheld wants to be able to work with a home console, then the dual screen setup has to go. However, the touch screen needs to stay as it will allow Nintendo to be able to put the mobile games it’s developing with DNA on the handheld and possibly the console.
As a result, I would like to see the new Nintendo handheld resemble the PlayStation Vita, complete with accelerometer and graphical capabilities, with some minor changes. The analog sticks would be replaced with circle pads, the back touchscreen would be removed and possibly replaced with embedded paddle buttons that can serve as the ZL and ZR triggers, and the device would be overall smaller or bigger than the Vita. I say “either or” because I think the handheld should resemble a smartphone or a tablet for the XL version.
Next, let’s discuss the marketing. Nintendo needs to make it clear that this is a new device and the best way to do this is to differentiate itself from the 3DS brand while simultaneously making it clear it’s a Nintendo product. Something simple like the Nintendo Touch or perhaps the Nintendo Next (as a call back to the NX codename) would work.
In regards to its connectivity to the console portion, it should focus on the flexible nature of the platform and how this will allow people of all walks of life to be able to play games at their leisure in whatever situation is convenient for them. Focus on how the touch screen and the traditional buttons on the handheld can be used in tandem or separately per title will be key.
Finally, the software: Nintendo needs third party support if it wants to appeal to everyone, as it should, and I believe Nintendo will be able to gain that support as it already has more credibility in the handheld market. Unlike the Vita, Nintendo is good at understanding that short, concise and simple ideas are the best type of games for handhelds and that’s the kind of game Nintendo and its partners should be making.
I think this will be easy to accomplish as the design of the handheld should be easy enough for any developer to be able to port any smartphone game or any previous handheld title to the new portable, while also making new ideas that combine the device’s various input possibilities for exclusive content and games. Nintendo should also have an app store for free games. This could be a device where you can play the next Mario platformer, Dragon Quest title, and Clash of Clans!
Ultimately, I hope the new Nintendo handheld allows core gamers to be able to play the games they like while also appealing to the smartphone crowd and still allowing Nintendo to experiment with new ideas. Nintendo likes to try to appeal to everyone but has been unable to marry the casual and hardcore markets. Hopefully, this new platform will do that. Oh yeah, and no more stylus sticks. I have plenty of those already. They’re called my fingers!
Esteban Cuevas is an Associate Editor for Middle of Nowhere Gaming and wants to be able to play Skyward Sword on the go with buttons. You can follow his ramblings on Twitter and Facebook and check out his other work on WordPress.