Right, first thing's first: no, this will not happen. For multiple reasons I am sure. Will that stop me considering what it would be like if it did? Heck no.
I have heard many people comment on the fact that Microsoft seem unsuited to the game industry. They never seem to be the frontrunners, with either Sony or Nintendo seeming to outdo them every time. And I don't know how much truth there is in this, but I believe they actually make a loss on the Xbox. Microsoft's gaming ventures seem like a bit of a mess in a lot of ways.
Over the past couple of years we have been seeing them being very… Chummy with Nintendo. They have been very cooperative with Nintendo and seem to take every opportunity to compliment them, Phil Spencer doing so just last week… It's very odd. Of course, it is easy to see that they aren't really direct competitors, their corners of the industry are very different, but they are still competitors of a sort so it is a little strange.
So here is the hypothetical – the Switch is, indeed, going to last a lot longer than a console normally does. Nintendo themselves said that they want it to have a 7-10 year life so let's go with that. And the Xbox Series X will be the last Xbox console, which will last around the same amount of time as any normal console. And what do you know, those two different life cycles just happen to coincide.
So let's say that all this niceness between Nintendo and Microsoft is not a coincidence. That this is actually leading to something. The cooperation between them will lead to them creating a console together in the next generation.
After all, Microsoft isn't maybe best suited to the gaming market. They don't have anything to make them stand out, and they have notoriously struggled with exclusives. They can create a powerful console, but power isn't the only thing that matters.
Meanwhile Nintendo are literally the exact opposite. They always do unique things that make them stand out. Just look at the Switch, combing home and handheld consoles is a genius move and has put them on the map again big time. And they certainly have exclusives. And yet they have problems. Their quest to create unique experiences and unique consoles has led them away from the race for power, which is honestly not a massive deal but it does mean they are rarely considered competitors in this console race – they are running a different race. They also struggle with multiple other areas such as their online gaming.
These two companies have pretty much the exact opposite problems. If they teamed up it's possible that their combined forces would create something that covers all bases. Nintendo would provide a lot of originality and creativity to the console, probably taking what the Switch has and improving upon it, building upon it. Meanwhile, Microsoft would be able to push that hardware to the limits of what it can do power-wise, and they would be able to help make an online experience that is tolerable. Nintendo already has plenty of exclusives that Microsoft lacks, but Microsoft itself draws in the more mature games, as well as the really big AAA titles, that Nintendo so far has been getting, but not so much.
It is very interesting how much these companies balance each other out and how much they could compliment each other. I definitely think the next console would follow on from the Switch as a console with an option for handheld and docked versions, but it would be a lot more powerful. I would also envision it as probably having some emphasis on Virtual Reality. The Switch is a perfect design for virtual reality, with the console being able to slot inside a headset, and they have dabbled with this on Labo. The issue is the resolution, but if that were solved, they could create a virtual reality experience that is fairly affordable. There are many different avenues they could go down, and with Microsoft also helping out they probably have even more they could do.
So why will this not happen? Well, the Playstation's very existence is thanks to Nintendo trying to team up with someone to make a better console. I highly doubt they would ever go down that route again. Additionally, do Nintendo really need it? The Switch has been a massive success, a testament to the fact that power is not all that matters and they probably don't need to go down that route, not yet anyway. And does it even make sense for Microsoft? Sure, the Xbox consoles aren't blowing anyone away, but they definitely have not been failures. That's probably why they are still making them. And if they really were that big a failure, would teaming up with another company really solve anything? Would it really be any better than just bowing out?
But honestly, it doesn't even matter to me, I just found it fun to think about. So could you see this ever happening? And what do you think it would look like it if it ever did happen? I would love to discuss it with people, even if it is a pure hypothetical with no basis in reality.
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