Nintendo's secret new console might be handheld -- not stationary

The Nintendo NX might be more like a Game Boy or Nintendo DS than a traditional game system.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read
Watch this: Nintendo's NX console might be portable, too

Portable power.

That's how Nintendo marketed the revolutionary Game Boy in the late '80s...but it might also be how Nintendo introduces a brand-new console later this year.

That's because, according to a new report from Eurogamer, the illusive Nintendo NX will be a portable game system with its own screen, not a stationary console that stays plugged into a TV.

According to the report, which cites multiple anonymous sources, the Nintendo NX can optionally slot into a docking station to connect to a big-screen TV set, but the primary processing power will allegedly live inside the handheld game system. That way, you can carry it around like a Game Boy or Nintendo DS.

What's more, Eurogamer's sources say the handheld's controls will be detachable so you can set the NX screen down on a table like a portable TV and play from a distance away. The NX will also use cartridges instead of optical discs, according to the report, much like Nintendo's current handhelds.


A mockup of what the system might look like.


While Nintendo's previous Wii U also had a gamepad with its own screen, you couldn't carry it very far (just 26 feet away) because it needed to maintain a wireless link with the game console at all times to provide its HD graphics.

Nintendo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company has previously hinted at some sort of hybrid game system. In 2013, Nintendo combined its handheld and console hardware divisions, and the late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told investors that handhelds and consoles would be "like brothers" in the future.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the NX could be a hybrid system.

Portability could come with a price. The new Nintendo NX will reported come with an Nvidia Tegra mobile processor instead of the desktop-class graphics we're expecting to see in Microsoft's upcoming Project Scorpio and Sony's PS4 Neo. While the performance of Nvidia's Tegra chips has been impressive, you probably shouldn't expect even as much graphical fidelity as the existing Wii U.

But in 1989, the original Nintendo Game Boy didn't come with as much processing power as the stationary Nintendo Entertainment System, either.

It was portable. And its legacy was several of the best-selling game systems of all time.