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Nintendo Gives Up on 2016 Release for the NX

Hurry up and wait.

Were you expecting to see Nintendo's next console at E3 this year, and maybe playing it in time for the holidays? Well, we've got some bad news for you.

Nintendo said Wednesday that its next console, code-named NX, will ship in March 2017, well after analysts and fans alike had expected the new console to drop. Calling this a "delay" probably isn't entirely accurate given that Nintendo had never previously announced a release window, but it still makes for a tricky holiday season given already declining sales and profit.


Instead, at E3 this year Nintendo will focus on its latest upcoming Zelda game, which will now be released in 2017 simultaneously for the Wii U and NX. (Nintendo pulled a similar move in 2006 when it released The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for both the GameCube and then-new Wii.) This Zelda game, which Nintendo says will be its only playable title at E3 "in order to provide attendees a complete immersion," was first announced in 2014 and was originally supposed to be released in 2015. Not a great look, no.

Nintendo on Wednesday also gave an update on its mobile plans, now that Miitomo, its first mobile app, is already in its rear-view mirror. Sometime between October and December, Nintendo will release Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem for smartphones.

Neither title is exactly Super Mario in terms of mainstream recognition, but both are likely well-suited for mobile: Animal Crossing can perhaps best be described as a cross between The Sims and Farmville (remember that?) starring a raccoon named Tom Nook (above) who just so happens to be a loan shark, while Fire Emblem is a turn-based, tactical RPG that has quite the cult following. Presumably there will be fewer localization complications with this mobile version.

So what does Nintendo have up its sleeves for the remainder of 2016? Not much. It can continue to rely on revenue from Miitomo (which third-party estimates put at around $280,000 per week, which is not a whole lot compared to the likes of something like Clash of Clans), and maybe hope and pray that the mobile versions of Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem take off. There's also amiibo, Nintendo's line of toys that unlock content in select games, which the company said should help stabilize things throughout the year.