Nintendo has never been one for sharing proprietary platform information or working on open source projects, but the NX console coming next year might run on Android OS.
That’s according to a new report from Nikkei, claiming Nintendo will ditch the custom OS for Android’s refined backbone. Similar to Ouya and other mini-consoles, it will reskin Android to make it look and feel like a typical Nintendo UI; whether that is a good or a bad thing we will have to see.
Having Android as the backbone of the NX might speed up project development for third party titles, allow Nintendo to “borrow” from the Google Play Store and significantly enhance the entertainment and other media apps available.
It would also get past the common problem of having a different UI for every console. Instead, Nintendo would move the NX and then the 3DS onto Android, offering one simplistic design for all form factors.
Android has its problems, most importantly Nintendo is at the whim of every decision Google makes. It might be open source, but don’t play by Google’s rules and Nintendo will lose the Google Play Store and a good amount of the apps available.
Nintendo has shown interest in the mobile gaming scene over the past year, teaming up with DeNA to develop mobile games of its first party titles. Mario, Zelda and other classics will be ported onto mobile for the first time.
Android has no default region locking either, meaning Nintendo can skip that barrier on the NX. Nintendo already has plans to remove region locking on the next console, following a major backlash to the Wii U having these features pre-installed.
Nobody knows the exact form factor of the NX, although many are hoping for a simple console to compete with the Xbox One and PS4, while offering that unique Nintendo style to keep it relevant in the volatile world of video game consoles.