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The Legend of Zelda Wii U Release date: Nintendo NX Launch Schedule Offers Clues

( [email protected] ) Jul 10, 2015 04:21 PM EDT
The Legend of Zelda Wii U release date may be held back by Nintendo NX, according to rumors circulating on the web.
It could be in 2016 even 2017. Nintendo/YouTube

The Legend of Zelda Wii U release date may be held back by Nintendo NX, according to rumors circulating on the web. Last month, the game failed to show at E3 2015 despite expectations from Zelda fans.  As such, gameplay details remain virtually nonexistant for now.

Zelda Will Still Be Available on Wii U, but Release Date Uncertain

Various publications on the web including SegmentNext and DesignTrend mentioned the possibility that Zelda is being held back for Nintendo NX. This seems likely considering that Nintendo currently lists The Legend of Zelda as TBD.

In the meantime, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata confirmed that additional NX information will not be revealed until 2016. Given Nintendo's reputation for delays and long development schedules, NX will not likely be hitting stores next year. So, Zelda fans will not be seeing the next installment of their favorite franchise until either 2017 or beyond.

Even so, Nintendo is still more than likely to release the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda. That is because the Japanese gaming giant plans to support 3DS and Wii U even after Nintendo NX is launched.

"When NX is launched, there already will be a certain volume of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U hardware widely existing in the market, so from a software business perspective, it would be highly inefficient to stop releasing titles for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U right after the launch of NX,"  Iwata said to shareholders on July 2.

Based on this information, Nintendo may launch The Legend of Zelda on both the Wii U and Nintendo NX. This is not surprising, considering other companies including Microsoft and Sony have released titles on both older and next-gen consoles.

How Powerful is Nintendo NX

The NX will gradually replace the older Wii U, which saw disappointing sales last year. Although Nintendo reported increased sales by 20 percent in the U.S., the Wii U has roughly one more year of shelf-life left. Hence, NX will need to carry Nintendo in the years ahead. 

There are still questions regarding whether NX is going to be as powerful as Sony's current PS4 console. Nintendo has a dubious reputation for releasing consoles that are slightly underpowered in comparison to competing hardware. For instance, 2012 Wii U has been compared to the 2006 PS3 console. The PS4, which debuted in 2013, is considerably more powerful than the Wii U.

However, hardcore fans of Nintendo-exclusive titles such as Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart will continue purchasing anything Nintendo produces. Hence, Nintendo NX still has a chance to sell well despite potentially having lower performance specs.

Right now, there is simply not enough official information to draw conclusions regarding the NX's specs. So, gamers will need to wait patiently for an entire year before Nintendo unveils more details for the NX.