Nintendo NX will have "incredibly powerful" hardware

crunchyg

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Nintendo has historically used last-generation technology in their consoles, which resulted in performance that was inferior to competitors' consoles. This was the case with GameCube, DS, Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, all of which were outpowered by Sony and Microsoft systems.

It looks like that practice is about to change with Nintendo's next generation console. Nintendo started distributing the software version of the "NX" development kit to qualified publishers and developers this week. We had a brief chat with a senior developer at a major game publishing company based in the U.S., and according to him, Nintendo NX is going to have very impressive hardware. Based on the development kit, the sheer processing capabilities of the hardware (which still hasn't been finalized) are going to be "incredibly powerful" and quite possibly faster than whatever Sony and Microsoft have in store. Specifically, one software demo included with the kit crunches so many polygons that it's currently impossible to run at 60fps using a current-generation Intel (we're assuming a Core i7 Skylake) CPU and a nearly top-of-the-line graphics card (no specifics provided, but they probably used a single graphics card).

Given that analysts are now predicting a holiday 2016 launch date for the NX, the only logical conclusion is that Nintendo is working with an established chip giant to design and create a highly specialized CPU and GPU combination that will outperform modern-generation hardware.

All of this sounds great, as long as the architecture is not too proprietary. We would hate to have a situation similar to N64, where Nintendo ships powerful hardware that underperforms under real-life conditions because extremely specialized hardware is too difficult to develop for and does not lend itself to easy porting of popular development frameworks out of the box. Either way, this will be a clear change from the Wii and Wii U generations, and we are looking for more details about what else the development kit includes.
 

Professor E. Gadd

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I would really like to know more about the nature of the demo. Sometimes demos showcasing future systems will underpeform on current-generation hardware, but the bottlenecks will be very specific and easily addressed. It could be something as simple as increasing CPU-level caching or dedicating a sector of video RAM to specific tasks. A quad-core Core i7 Skylake (if that's in fact what it was) is obviously a very fast chip, but it's desgined for general-purpose computing, whereas gaming consoles are a very specific use case of a CPU and GPU combo. But this is definitely interesting.
 
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Hyrule Chicken

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This seems like a step in the right direction, and something Nintendo fans have been clamouring for since the days of the GameCube, but more specifically the Wii and Wii U. Thanks for the info, I'm looking forward to see how this develops.
 

Professor E. Gadd

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Well, that combo will cost around 60% less by the end of 2016, so that's about right. Plus you're citing retail, not wholesale prices, so factor in a fat mass production discount.
 

CemeteryGates23

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Yes! As I had hoped, and this definitely builds up hype and anticipation on my end! Let's hope Nintendo continue with an ambitious vision (rather than focusing on innovation) and deliver the console to rule them all, the one that makes Microsoft and Sony plan the "S" version of their current consoles.
 

Damien Lee

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This is great news and just what Nintendo needs to be successful with their upcoming console release. Gamers are tired of gimmicks and strange control setups. They want powerful hardware, consoles and particularly those from Nintendo have been lagging behind. It's no wonder a lot of gamers have switched to PCs to get their gaming fix. With more impressive and powerful hardware, Nintendo may even be able to lure gamers away from the PC.
 

kevboard

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how was the GameCube last gen tech??? are you serious? it was more powerful than the PS2 and slightly behind the Xbox... that is like saying the Xbox One is last gen tech because it's slightly behind the PS4
Resident Evil 4 had an enormous graphics downgrade when it was ported to PS2, games like TimeSplitters 3 ran at way better framerates on GameCube and loadtimes were cut in half on GC in TS2 and 3 compared to the PS2 versions.

in fact the reason the Wii was just a GC with higher clockrates is that Nintendo felt the GC was so powerful compared to the PS2 that they wouldn't have to upgrade it too much to be competitive

if anything the PS2 was last gen tech compared to GC and Xbox
 
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Donkey Punch

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how was the GameCube last gen tech??? are you serious?
I'm sorry, but GameCube was last gen tech. I already had an HDTV when GameCube came out, and Xbox games like DOA looked much better compared to GameCube. Hell, Nintendo made you spend a crazy amount of money on a component cable, and all that added was progressive scan to only a few games, and you had to hold the stupid B button to activate that mode, and most of those games had stretched out menus in 480p mode, which was ridiculous.

GameCube was an amazing system, but it was best enjoyed on a tube TV. It was last gen.
 

PixelShade

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Hi, found this thread through neogaf. I am a mid level-ish environment artist/designer at Ubisoft, and our office did get the SDK this week. I wasn't technically supposed to see it but was working late Friday and managed to sneak a peek of others playing with the demos. Can't comment on the fps specifically, but both demos I saw seemed to be running fine on our (relatively decked out) machine. One of the demos particularly looked gorgeous, and the impression around the office is that people are pleasantly surprised with this kind of focus on graphics from Nintendo. I'm not working on anything Nintendo-related and can't confirm anything else, but I can agree with the processing power statements. It should be an exciting little machine and from what I see, fun to develop for.
 

GunGunW

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Is it true developers are just now starting to get the development kits?

I'm sorry, but GameCube was last gen tech. I already had an HDTV when GameCube came out, and Xbox games like DOA looked much better compared to GameCube. Hell, Nintendo made you spend a crazy amount of money on a component cable, and all that added was progressive scan to only a few games, and you had to hold the stupid B button to activate that mode, and most of those games had stretched out menus in 480p mode, which was ridiculous.

GameCube was an amazing system, but it was best enjoyed on a tube TV. It was last gen.
I'm just asking because I don't know, how did the PS2 look on HDTV's compared to the GameCube and Xbox?
 

midna25

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I'd just like to chime in here. The Gamecube was only slightly outperformed by the Xbox. They had advantages and disadvantages, notably the Xbox's superior GPU. But the gap wasn't that big, and the Gamecube still far exceeded the capabilities of the PS2

People assume the Gamecube was weak because it was small and compact. For the same reason, people assume the Xbox was powerful. In reality, the OG Xbox's size was down the the fact that it's literally just a desktop PC. SATA HDD and disc drive, DDR1 memory, intel x86 CPU, Nvidia desktop GPU, it's all there. There was obviously just no consideration for size and form factor in this thing's design.

Edit: The controller ports are also just USB with a different form factor.
 
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Metaldave

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Hi, found this thread through neogaf. I am a mid level-ish environment artist/designer at Ubisoft, and our office did get the SDK this week. I wasn't technically supposed to see it but was working late Friday and managed to sneak a peek of others playing with the demos. Can't comment on the fps specifically, but both demos I saw seemed to be running fine on our (relatively decked out) machine. One of the demos particularly looked gorgeous, and the impression around the office is that people are pleasantly surprised with this kind of focus on graphics from Nintendo. I'm not working on anything Nintendo-related and can't confirm anything else, but I can agree with the processing power statements. It should be an exciting little machine and from what I see, fun to develop for.
I suggest contacting an Admin at NeoGAF they can verify you confidentially (if you really work for Ubisoft) and you might be able to post about this information there and this can get more validity. As it stands, this could be anyone posting and saying they work for ---company and "we've seen NX"
 

midna25

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Metaldave, didn't you leak bad info about the Wii U GPU three years ago?
Latte didn't end up running an E6760 after all
 

Donkey Punch

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@midna25 but you have to admit GameCube's lack of HD was a factor, as well as how poorly progressive scan was handled. Also, first-party and second-party games were gorgeous, and third-party games were ugly. Both Xbox and PS2 had really beautiful 3rd party games.
 

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