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Nintendo denies its new NX console will run Android

Nintendo Wii U GamePad and amiibos

Nikkei claims Nintendo's new NX console will use Android for easier porting and cross-platform development, but Nintendo says no

Nintendo’s already said that we won’t hear any concrete details about its new console, currently code-named NX, until next year, but yesterday a report emerged from Japanese newspaper Nikkei that the console will apparently break with Nintendo tradition and use Android as its main operating system. While a Nintendo UK spokesperson told Expert Reviews that Nintendo “does not comment on rumour or speculation”, the company has since told the Wall Street Journal that “there is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX.”

According to Nikkei, an unnamed person familiar with the matter said, “[The NX’s] operating system is loaded with Android,” citing that it would help “speed up getting all game developers on board.” The unnamed source also said that it would help development expand across multiple platforms, such as smartphones, tablets and other devices, which would certainly fit in nicely with Nintendo’s recent plans to release games on mobiles

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Previous Nintendo consoles have always used proprietary operating systems that have been developed in-house, but according to Nikkei, the reason why Nintendo might be adopting a Google-based OS is because the Wii U is not compatible with other game consoles. This makes it harder for developers to port games over for multi-platform titles, and it makes it difficult for them to make back their development costs. 

There’s some sliver of truth in this, as the PS4 and Xbox One now both have very similar hardware, so porting titles across isn’t as tricky as it used to be. However, moving to Android would hardly make Nintendo’s current situation any easier, as it would still be the only major console manufacturer using Google’s operating system.

Nikkei has been generally been quite reliable as far as previous Nintendo rumours go. Last year, the newspaper reported that Nintendo was planning on putting promotional mini-games on smartphones, which Nintendo promptly denied, only to announce plans to release full-blown games on smartphones in March. Likewise, months before it announced the 3DS XL, Nintendo denied Nikkei rumours that it would be releasing a larger version of its 3DS console.

There’s still a possibility it may run Android given Nikkei’s past track record, but we won’t know for sure until Nintendo unveils the new console next year. 

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