Nintendo is reportedly sticking with in-house software to run its next game console, currently codenamed “NX.”
That’s what a Nintendo representative told The Wall Street Journal after a report surfaced earlier this week from Japanese newspaper Nikkei. The report claimed that the company’s next game console would run a version of Google’s operating system Android.
“There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX,” a representative told The Wall Street Journal.
Though Nintendo’s refutation sounds definitive, the Japanese gaming company has a history of flatly refuting rumours from Nikkei that later turned out to be spot-on. And the newspaper has a history of reporting accurate gaming rumours about Japanese game companies.
In 2009 Nikkei reported that Sony was working on a PlayStation Phone. Sony didn’t outright deny the report, nor did it offer a statement beyond “no comment.” Two years later, Sony released the Xperia Play phone — a joint effort between Sony and Ericsson, powered by a new game service named PlayStation Mobile. A PlayStation Phone, in so many words.
In 2012, Nikkei reported that Nintendo was working on a new, larger version of its handheld game console: the 3DS. Nintendo called the report “speculative” and said it contained “numerous errors.” And then, soon after, Nintendo announced exactly what Nikkei reported: a larger 3DS game console, dubbed the “3DS XL.”
In 2014 Nikkei reported that Nintendo was planning a push into the world of smartphones. First, Nintendo would release trailers via mobile, then “free mini-games” meant to give players a taste of the full experience only available on Nintendo’s proprietary hardware (the 3DS and Wii U). And then Nintendo announced its mobile initiative: a partnership with an established company in the mobile space that uses Nintendo characters to create mobile-focused games.
So! Is Nintendo’s next console — codenamed “NX” — going to run a version of Google’s Android OS? Maybe! And also, maybe not. The company isn’t even planning to talk about the in-development console until some point in 2016. It’s entirely possible that the company is considering basing NX on Android: it’s an open platform that many game developers are already familiar with, as well as one that app makers can easily work with.
It’s also an OS that’s proven successful on a variety of non-mobile platforms, albeit for unsuccesful pieces of hardware — namely, Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box and the game console OUYA.
If anything holds back Nintendo from basing its next console on Android, it’s the lack of security that comes with using Google’s open platform. Software piracy is a huge issue on Android, and Nintendo is notoriously dilligent about security on its consoles — the company has repeatedly gone after third-party companies offering software and hardware workarounds to it consoles, going all the way back to its original NES console.