Reports are swirling that the Nintendo NX software development kits are already being sent out to eligible parties and that it's a console with an accompanying handheld component. The reports also state that the console will launch in 2016.
Gamasutra picked up the news from the Wall Street Journal, where they reporting that the new Nintendo NX has two tiers of hardware components, a base console that gamers will use to play their games on and a secondary component that can be used in conjunction with the console, similar to the GamePad's functionality with the Wii U. However, the second component reportedly can be used as a completely separate handheld device all on its own, similar to the Nintendo 3DS or 2DS.
Gamasutra also points out that the Wall Street Journal article points to the “softness” of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U sales as an indicator that Nintendo is looking for their next generation of devices to push out in 2016.
Games Industry pulled a quote from the original article about the NX hardware, where it was stated...
People familiar with the development plans said Nintendo would likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use. They also said Nintendo would aim to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices, after criticism that the Wii U's capabilities didn't match those of competitors.
It's interesting that they mention about the Wii U's capabilities being on par to that of the Xbox One and PS4, because back in July it was reported by websites like Tech Times that the Nintendo NX would not be on par with the Xbox One and PS4.
The conflicting reports about the Nintendo NX's hardware really shouldn't be taken into much consideration right now because Nintendo had already previously stated that they would not be discussing the hardware until 2016.
I'm sure some people might be asking why this would be any different when websites were discussing the PS4 and Xbox One's hardware many months before their official reveal, and one major difference is that when hacker SuperDae leaked the specs to those consoles months in advance of their actual announcement, they were actually spot on. Additionally the source had diagrams to showcase the specs, so it wasn't just fact-free rumors floating about.
In other words, until we see some sort of legitimate diagram, spec sheet or something substantial about the Nintendo NX, it's hard to just take an analyst's second-hand word for it.
For now I'm just curious what sort of software line-up Nintendo plans to unleash for the Nintendo NX and how they plan on fitting it into an ecosystem where they don't appear to have any high-profile AAA titles in the pipeline for it? One saving grace might be backwards compatibility, which would grant it access to all of the Wii U's library and potentially help it maintain a smooth transition from one console to the next.