New rumors and leaks surrounding Nintendo's mysterious new console (code-named the NX) seem to appear daily. While images of supposed controllers and bold claims about console details should always be taken with a grain of salt, there is good reason to believe that we may already know a considerable amount about what the NX will be capable of and even what games we may play on it.
The root of the rumors goes back to October 2015, when a Nintendo patent for a mysterious new game controller was discovered online. It quickly caused a sensation. The controller appeared buttonless, with only two analog sticks shown. Whereas a standard game console controller would have its face covered in assorted buttons, the patent shows a controller that instead has its face replaced with a screen stretching all the way to edges of the device. The patent was revealed to have been filed by Nintendo in the summer of 2015.
Without question, the patent is authentic. So does that mean definitely that the controller featured in the patent is the NX controller? Not necessarily. Just because a patent is filed for a technology or invention doesn't 100 percent mean a company is doing something with that technology at that exact moment.
However, in Nintendo's case, the patent matched up nicely with previously reported details about Nintendo's future plans. Just prior to the discovery of the patent, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo's NX would feature a handheld that could be used in conjunction with a console or separately.
When a patent for a controller featuring a screen that took up the entire surface of device appeared online, the picture for what Nintendo was up to became clearer. Couple it with the fact that The Japan Times reported in late 2014 that Nintendo would be the first customer for Sharp's new free-form display technology (which allows for nonrectangular LCD panels) and the pieces were all coming together.
Assuming then that the patent does indeed show what will be the NX controller, what other rumors about the console may hold water? Recently the video game news site Dual Pixels has regularly reported on NX details provided by a tipster going by the name of Geno. It is from Geno that the idea of the NX controller using haptic feedback emerges, among other details like the console's graphical power, Bluetooth capabilities and more.
Geno also has provided news on potential NX games, including Luigi's Mansion 3 and Beyond Good and Evil 2. According to the tipster, Luigi's Mansion 3 will be a NX launch title and will be a visual showcase for what the console is capable of. Beyond Good and Evil 2, long thought dead, is being funded by Nintendo in exchange for it being an NX console exclusive. Geno provided a document related to Beyond Good and Evil 2 to Dual Pixels, which then shared the document with fellow video game news site Destructoid in an effort to validate the information contained within it. Destructoid's own source was able to match many of the details in the document provided by Geno, adding even more authenticity to the rumor.
Geno has proven correct in the past, providing details on Microsoft's IllumiRoom technology, the power of the PlayStation 4, and Pokémon X and Y long before any official announcements. That lends some credibility to the various reports the tipster has had a hand in, though they are far from bulletproof.
The most high-profile rumors thus far have two separate instances of users posting images of what they claim to be NX controllers to Reddit. The first instance featured an image of a white controller similar in appearance to that of the controller in the Nintendo patent. The screen even displayed an image of what appeared to be a game.
Internet cybersleuths instantly got to work. It was discovered the image had clear evidence of being Photoshopped, and that the "game" on the controller's screen was nothing but a cropped image from an Unreal Engine 4 tech demo. Turns out they were right. It was all a hoax, as revealed by Idriss2Dev themselves in the video below.
The second instance proved to be far more convincing ... for a time. Instead of one image, three were posted, alongside a number of details about the controller. While the controller in the first leak and the second leak looked nearly identical, the first was white, this new controller black. No image was displayed on the controller's screen in the provided images, though they do clearly show the controller sporting a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Redditor responsible for the image uploads claimed to have an NX dev kit and stated that they didn't believe the controller in question to be the final design.
Turns out this controller is also a fake, and was actually modeled off the first fake. Whereas the first controller was a digital mock-up, this one was an elaborate 3D-printed prank.
As shown with the fake controllers, any person with the technical know-how and who had been following NX rumors can mock up a controller on their own, either with a 3D printer or some impressive Photoshop skills. After Nintendo fans have been burned twice, it's going to be awfully hard for any future controller "leak" to convince gamers, fake or otherwise.
Before being revealed as a fake, various sources chimed in to add their two cents to the authenticity debate. Game Informer's editor-in-chief Andy McNamara tweeted that he had heard the new Nintendo controller would not feature face buttons, but that he had been unable to verify his information. The image matches up with what he had heard, though he went on to say he had no idea if the controller in question was real or not.
I had heard that the NX wouldn't have face buttons, so the leaked pictures match what I was told but was unable to confirm.
— Andy McNamara (@GI_AndyMc) March 23, 2016
Nintendo Life contributor and Did You Know Gaming creator Liam Robertson took to Twitter to report that his source within Nintendo of Europe called the NX controller images "completely fake." For what it's worth, it's highly doubtful a Nintendo of Europe employee would have confirmed to Robertson that the images were real, even if the images in question were legitimate. However, in this case Robertson and his source were right.
Friend of mine from NoE says that the 'NX images' are completely fake. — Liam Robertson (@Doctor_Cupcakes) March 23, 2016
Perhaps most mysteriously of all, a member of Nintendo's Treehouse development group even retweeted a NeoGAF thread link discussing the potential controller leak, only to remove the tweet later that day. Fans read all kind of meaning into the act, though in hindsight it seems clear the Nintendo employee knew the images were fake.
Treehouse duder retweeted the GAF NX thread pic.twitter.com/kraJa7HHvG
— Nibel (@Nibellion) March 23, 2016
With all of the details and controllers spreading like wildfire across the web, one major question still remains: when will the NX launch?
Here, too, rumors can give an idea of what to expect from Nintendo's official announcement. In February, a NeoGAF user going by the name Trevelyan9999 posted to the gaming forum what they claimed was Nintendo's marketing budget and product overview for 2016. Included among the list were a number of previously announced titles, as well as a few unknown ones. Trevelyan9999 revealed that according to their information, the NX would release sometime in 2016, and that the currently in production Legend of Zelda for the Wii U would make the jump to the NX.
It sounded plausible, but most shrugged it off as yet another rumor. However, as Kotaku would later point out, there seemed to be more reason to believe Trevelyan9999's info dump may have indeed been legitimate. In the information provided by the user was a code name for a new Pokémon project, titled "Pokémon Niji." This was days before the official announcement of Pokémon Sun and Moon. When Nintendo did formally announce the titles, certain images of the game's logo sent out to press and featured on Nintendo's website sported "Niji" in the image filenames, leading Kotaku to believe that at least some of the information provided by Trevelyan is legitimate.
There are still plenty of questions that remain unanswered. What will the console itself look like, for instance? So much has been made of the controller that no details about the system itself have emerged, other than one sentence from Geno in which the NX is said to be a cross between a 2DS and a Samsung device. Will there be more than one type of controller for the console, if the screen-controller is indeed the real deal? Perhaps most important, what will the console's price point be?
At the current rate NX rumors seem to be flying around the web, the answers to some of those questions could unofficially come soon. Otherwise, Nintendo fans will simply have to wait until the official NX reveal. When Nintendo does finally show its new machine to the world, will fans be shocked by how inaccurate early reports and rumors were, or will they be surprised at how much true information slipped out? In just a few more months we'll know the answer to that to that, too.