Yesterday's news that Nintendo's code-named NX console might be running an Android operating system has been categorically refuted by Nintendo. Speaking to the WSJ (opens in new tab), a spokesperson for the company clearly stated that "There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX." That definitely sounds like a no, then. It's disappointing as a more global operating system certainly looked like an attractive solution to the linked future of gaming that Nintendo is promising with its new console.
However, as reported by Kotaku (opens in new tab), we could take this statement with a pinch of salt as Nintendo has previously officially refuted two of Nikkei's previous stories, namely Nintendo mobile games and the 3DS XL. Perhaps there is still hope.
The currently code named NX console from Nintendo will run on an Android operating system if Japanese newspaper Nikkei (opens in new tab) is to be believed. Nintendo has been tight lipped on the matter of its new console but according to an insider at the company, the NX will run on the popular OS after third parties so dramatically abandoned the Wii U.
The Nikkei piece is unfortunately behind an account paywall but translating the page delivers a clear "OS is Android" header and very little else. A more in depth translation of the article from Neogaf user Duckroll (opens in new tab) states: "The source goes on to say that when third parties abandoned Nintendo's WiiU one by one, it caused [a] turning point in the company. So while they have had a philosophy of developing their own software and hardware concepts internally for all these years, they are now prepared to embrace a more open platform with Android, to allow developers more flexibility in making content that can also be on smartphones and tablets."
A switch from a traditional home grown operating system would be an enormous change for the company but Android for NX would definitely make sense when it comes to the integration with PC, tablet and mobile (opens in new tab) that Nintendo has previously discussed for the console. A translation from Kotaku (opens in new tab) says that the inclusion of Android would be able to "speed up getting all game developers on board."
The Nintendo insider also states that it would be less expensive for developers instead of creating just for the Wii U system. As is evident by the complete lack of Wii U third party games, the process of developing separately for the system is clearly an additional cost most publishers aren't interested in. Nintendo's version probably wouldn't be an open platform but hopefully significantly more accessible than current development tools.
It might seem like a big step but this time last year we wouldn't have expected Nintendo games on mobile. (opens in new tab)The company is clearly looking for better ways to work with technology after the failure of the Wii U to deliver on new gen promises. Nintendo isn't expected to discuss the NX at E3 but hopefully we'll hear more later in the year.
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