This Friday Nintendo had a six minutes long announcement that surprised nobody. Generation 1 Pokémon games were announced some time ago and people have seen signs of new Pokémon games in the air for some time. The only bit that was largely surprising was the fact that you can transfer monsters from the Virtual Console Pokémon to the upcoming Sun and Moon via Pokébank. What does this tell you?
That Virtual Console has power.
The reason why I have not updated my Nintendo devices for ages is because there is no reason to. They add nothing, often make Custom firmware installation harder or nigh impossible, and accessing the eShop is pointless when there are no games to purchase. Nintendo and other companies have left the Virtual Console in a rotten state willingly, because Virtual Console was too powerful.
Virtual Console is a powerful thing because it has great games. Companies can cherry pick the best to release on it, and any game released on a platform that has a VC would have to go against juggernauts like Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda. Even Iwata’s friend bought nothing but VC titles when he got a Wii for himself, a fact that seemed to cause some worry for Iwata. Any developer should be worried as these titles are concentrated fun. EA lamented at one point how the Wii brought back fun into gaming, a fact that the customers celebrated.
You have seen the shift in Nintendo’s priorities for a long time now, starting with downgrading their VC support to absolute minimum. Then, Nintendo’s own games on both 3DS and Wii U have been sparse, often just ports of Japanese applications like the sticker arcade thing or small projects that the third-rate teams were developing. And Nintendo is silent.
Nintendo was not all too silent with the Wii U, but they were with the Wii. Until full-blown revelations, we had very few details about it. We don’t even know what the NX is, we only have assumptions and guesses based on the information at hand. People have complained about the shortage of the Pokémon stream, but they’re not looking what they said. Game Freak and Nintendo are working. We know very little of either Pokémon Sun and Moon, and the NX, and that is a promising sing. That means that they are working on NX titles and platform, possible the account system too as well as with the new Pokémon title, which without a doubt has been under work for significant time already.
The only time Nintendo has showcased what they have has been during E3 and in similar events. That’s when they bring in the big guns.
However, the question that always lingers behind this is what sort of titles are they working with? The fact is that Nintendo’s four most successful machines, the NES, Game Boy, Nintendo DS and the Wii all had several things in common, but especially one extremely important; simplicity. All of them had a large quantity of games that anyone could pick up and play with low accessibility level, like Super Mario Bros., but also games that a more seasoned veteran could tackle. Super NES, N64, GameCube and the Wii U had games almost solely designed for the veterans from their launch titles up.
Trickling information like this, bit by bit, also serves as a silent hype machine. People will make assumptions and theories. Already people have tried to guess where the new Pokémon game will take place based on palm trees and vehicles seen. The little information we have of NX has made some people to make wild guesses. The way they have been revamping their account systems might signify that they are intending to make a true account system that would last from generation to generation… which would lead into having Super Mario Bros. on each new generation without needing to buy it again.
Whether or not Nintendo will reveal details about the NX or anything during the next E3 is an open question, but it is not out of the question. History tends to rhyme, and I expect them to make at least one big revelation regarding the NX, be it about the overall account system utilises or about the machine/s.
A true account system would be NX’s largest trump card. Neither SONY or Microsoft have games on their own that have the same pull that Nintendo’s games have. However, seeing how Nintendo’s actions with the Virtual Console doesn’t fill be with trust, I have my doubts that they will be utilising it to any larger extent. It seems not even Nintendo can trump their older games, and most likely they don’t want to.