Why Nintendo NX Will Support Unreal Engine and ARM Architecture

Hey all!

So I’ve been doing a lot of research lately about Nintendo’s NX system, and upon my travels to the never-ending void of NX rumor and speculation, I’ve stumbled upon some interesting news, coming directly from Next Level Games!

For those unaware, Next Level Games is a 2nd-party Nintendo Studio based in Canada, which has developed games such as Super Mario Strikers, Punch Out!! (Wii), Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, as well as the recently released Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

The News

According to new job listings on Next Level Games’ website, they are looking for several new employees. Among the listings is one for a material artist. The job listing states that they are looking for someone with “Proficiency in Unreal”, as well as “Proficiency in optimizing ARM assembly.”

While this could be seen as a minor detail, it also signals a new direction for the company. The development studio just wrapped up development on and released Metroid Prime: Federation Force for the Nintendo 3DS system, and with the Wii U and 3DS systems on the way out, it is unlikely they would be beginning a new software project for those systems. Thus, as Nintendo transitions development to the NX system(s), it is likely these new positions are hiring for a new game for the NX (possibly Luigi’s Mansion 3).

The Wii U did not use ARM assembly (while the 3DS does), and did not support Unreal Engine 4, so this news confirms that they are hiring people to develop for a new, more modern, system. Unless they are developing a game for mobile (which is unlikely), this confirms this position is hiring for NX game development. And if these new positions are for an NX game, then this all but confirms that the NX will use ARM architecture, and support the Unreal Engine.

We’ve heard this rumored before; however, coming from an official job listing, this is as close to confirmed as you can get, without Nintendo officially confirming the final specs of the system.

Why This Is Viable for NX

Now let’s explain why the ARM architecture is the only one the NX can use, and why it’s a viable option for Nintendo.

So recently, there has been a large debate about whether the Nintendo NX will use x86 architecture or not. Some have claimed it will use x86, and others, like Emily Rogers, have clearly said it will not. However, no one has hard evidence to prove either, besides their sources (who have been reliable in the past). Either could be believed, especially if the NX is to, again, be a separate handheld and portable console. In that case, it could have both architectures for the different hardware form factors (which would explain why there are so many polar-opposite rumors about power and architecture from trusted sources on both sides).

However, there is something wrong with that thinking this time around. What Nintendo has said, is that for their next hardware system(s), they are going to unify the software development, and have it “absorb the Wii U’s architecture adequately,” so that they can develop games for two or more hardware form factors at once, with one common platform to develop for. This would make the system similar to Android and iOS, where the software can be developed for the one platform, and be scalable to whatever device you have, provided the devices all use a common architecture (most Androids use ARM architecture, thus why they can all support the same software).

The reason that Nintendo could not develop a game on the Wii U or 3DS and have it work on the other, is because the two system’s hardware and architectures were so different, that an entirely different build of the game had to be made for each platform. What Nintendo aims to do with the NX is to build a unified platform, where they can develop a game and have it work on any form factor. Thus, they can focus all of their software development effort on one platform, rather than two, and at the same time, have their software work on even more than two form factors.

In order to be able to achieve this, Nintendo would need to develop a unified OS that would work on multiple form factors. In addition, in order to support the same software running on different form factors, asynchronously, the system architecture would need to be the same on each hardware form factor. So while the NX could be a portable, a hybrid, and a home system, in order to play the same games on all three (and not need developers to make 3 separate versions of the game), the OS, hardware, and architecture need to be the same across all form factors.

The way this could look, for example, is that the portable system would have the least amount of power, and the home system would have the same hardware architecture as the portable, but just with higher processing power and speed (similar to the Gamecube compared to the Wii’s hardware). The hybrid could be somewhere in the middle. This way, the software would work as on Android or iOS, with the developer creating just one build of the software, but the software being able work across all of the hardware configurations and form factors, scaling the graphics and features of the software depending on how powerful the device is.

Lastly, since it would be the same build of the games running on different, but similar hardware, this means the system architecture would need to be the same across all of the hardware variations, in order for the same software to work on all of them.

If Nintendo’s NX platform is truly one that is unified across systems, including home console, portable, and other form factors, with software that works seamlessly across devices, it cannot use more than one architecture.

Thus, it cannot be both ARM and x86 architecture. It must be one over the other.

So Why ARM Architecture Over x86?

While we’ve heard the NX may be a home console, we’ve also heard it will be a hybrid, and a portable console. Unless the NX is purely a home console, having x86 architecture would not be a viable solution for all form factors. Why?

As we’ve seen so far, x86 architecture has been mostly restricted to home game consoles, needing a constant power supply. Why is that?

To put it simply,

There are two types of system architectures game consoles use:

CISC (Complex Integrated Set Computers) [x86], and RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computers) [ARM, PowerPC].

CISC-based systems are what PC’s use, and RISC-based systems are what Nintendo consoles have used since the GameCube, as well as mobile operating systems, such as Android and iOS.

x86 architecture is more complex and not as efficient as the newer ARM architecture. x86 is older, closer to PC’s architecture, and uses more power and energy compared to ARM architecture, which is why it has only been adopted for more power-hungry consoles, such as the Xbox One and Playstation 4 home systems.

With ARM architecture, a more simple and more efficient programming method results in lower power consumption and longer battery life, which is why ARM is the architecture of choice for mobile devices; devices so dependent on performing for long periods of time without being plugged in. Additionally, it has been proven that on average, modern ARM processors are actually faster than x86, and more suited towards gaming.

Due to these favorable attributes, ARM has been adopted as the architecture of choice over x86, for nearly all portable smart devices.

See: The ARM, the PPC, the x86, and the iPad…

Back to Nintendo

With the NX having a unified architecture across home, hybrid, and portable consoles, as well as being closely compatible with smart devices in the future, the x86 architecture does not make sense. Energy-friendly architectures, such as ARM, do.

Another reason Nintendo will use ARM:

Nintendo has actually been using similar processors for years! The PowerPC (another RISC-based architecture similar to ARM), has been used by Nintendo since the GameCube.

Additionally, it has always used ARM on its DS and 3DS line of portables.

With Nintendo merging their home and portable gaming divisions, and seemingly moving away from PowerPC architecture, but wanting to integrate the Wii U’s architecture adequately, only another RISC-based architecture would make sense, as x86 architecture would not be compatible.

So if Nintendo is moving away from PowerPC, but wants to incorporate the Wii U’s RISC-based architecture adequately, what’s the solution?

What’s the only other popular and viable RISC-based architecture to use?

ARM, of course!

With the indication that Next Level Games is moving to ARM architecture for their next project, and ARM architecture being the only viable solution for the various form factors NX could take, this all but confirms the NX, or its family of systems, will use ARM architecture, and none other.

As we’re now certain that the NX will use ARM architecture…

Who Will Develop This Architecture For The NX?

Aside from debates on which architecture the NX could use, we’ve seen debates on who will be making the chips the NX will use, as well.

So far, we’ve heard the NX will be powered by Nvidia, with the Tegra X1 SoC, or with the Tegra X2 SoC, possibly its Parker SoC.

We’ve also heard that it could use AMD chips, such as the upcoming Polaris, based on AMD’s relationship with Nintendo and console makers in general, as well as unannounced design wins.

And more recently, we’ve heard Nintendo could be again be returning to DMP to manufacture the graphics chips for the NX, continuing on from their previous mobile systems, the Nintendo 3DS.

Our verdict:

AMD will likely not power the console, unless it is not using Polaris, and rather making a custom ARM SoC or CPU for the NX. Polaris uses x86 architecture, and would use too much power for a handheld.

Nvidia is more likely, as the architecture in the Tegra SoC’s is already there: it’s ARM-based.

While we’ve heard mostly Tegra thus-far, there is a good chance DMP is taking the reigns again, as well. DMP has been a close partner with Nintendo in the past, and may work with them again. Additionally, with the 3DS, Nvidia’s chips were used as a placeholder GPU, until DMP replaced them. The same may happen again.


Interestingly, it may also be that the system could use a combination of these manufacturers. For example, the CPU could be provided by AMD, but the GPU powered by Nvidia or DMP.

Until the NX is revealed, likely in September, these are the best bets we can see for NX.

Do you agree? Have a compelling argument against us? Let us know below in the comments!

For more info on the NX, read:

Everything We Know About the NX

Stay tuned to Gamer Splash on our social media!

Subscribe to us on YouTube

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Twitch

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash


Everything We Know About the Nintendo NX So Far

Hey all!

For over a year and a half since the announcement that Nintendo is working on a new console, Nintendo fans, gamers, and the industry alike, have been highly anticipating the next system from the gaming giant. It seems like every other day, we get a new piece of unofficial NX news. As we approach the inevitable announcement of Nintendo’s next system, we’ve collected all of the information about the platform in one handy post!

Here’s all we know about the NX so far:

The Hardware

Facts Confirmed by Nintendo:

System Name:

Nintendo’s next system is yet to be officially named, with Nintendo stating the NX is a code-name.

Release date:

The NX will release in March 2017 (exact date to be announced).

System type:

The Nintendo NX will be a new concept.

It will be a new way to play games; will not be a simple replacement for Wii U and 3DS.


Nintendo proprietary OS. Not based on Android.

Connects to and integrated with My Nintendo.

Specifications and price:

The NX has yet to be officially spec’d, with Nintendo’s president Tatsumi Kimishima stating that the specifications of the console will be revealed later this year.

Additionally, Kimishima stated that the NX will not be sold at a loss, and will not be more expensive than the current offerings.


Facts Hinted at by Nintendo:

Hardware formats:

Multiple devices

Unified OS and architecture closer to iOS and Android; software will be scalable depending on the device

The NX will take into consideration the various playing environments that differ by country.

Other Features:

The system will appeal not only to moms and their kids, but experienced gamers, as well.

Regarding VR, Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo has stated that they are looking into developing VR in their game systems, however did not confirm whether the NX would be compatible or not.

However, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that Nintendo does not focus on specs with its systems, but rather on content, and that Nintendo will utilize VR once the tech is good enough for it.

My thoughts on this are that Nintendo will be adding VR compatibility to the system, and it will come out with its own VR hardware that addresses the problems it sees with VR, sometime down the line. I don’t expect it to be the initial innovation of the system, though.

Facts from Notable 3rd Party Developers and Publishers:

According to Ubisoft, the NX will “recapture a lot of the lapsed Wii players“, who are now predominantly on smart devices. Satoru Iwata has said that the NX will still be a system that will be able to play games in ways smartphones and tablets cannot, thus making an argument for dedicated games systems.

Many developers familiar with the NX, such as CD Projekt Red and others, have said it will be easier to develop for, and they are excited for it.

Gamestop confirmed that the NX will have physical media.

Hardware and OS rumors:

Now we move onto the plot that continues to thicken: the NX rumor mill. It seems every other day a new NX rumor pops up. Here we will cover the most important ones:


Rumored to be called “NintendOS”

May be Linux-based

Easy to port to; supports Android and Unreal Engine 4 software

Will work with smartphones, PCs, and other rival consoles

Architecturally similar to PS4 and Xbox One, and very modern

More apps

Will be Region Free


In the past year, we’ve heard plenty of different suggestions on what the NX hardware could be. Many have been speculated from patents Nintendo filed, and some rumors have come from trusted sources within the industry.

Console form factor:

There are conflicting rumors here. The current popular rumor suggests the NX will be a console/portable hybrid.

However, there is evidence suggesting the NX will instead be a separate console and a separate portable.

Additionally, there was a rumor that the NX would be console and portable, and the portable would come first.

However, another rumor states that the NX home console could come first.

Who knows? All three form factors could come to market eventually.


The Eurogamer report also gives details on detachable controllers for the hybrid system.

It could also have a new form of haptic feedback, which was never integrated in Nintendo portables before.

Building upon the hybrid report, those detachable controllers would act as new, improved, Wii remotes, with much better vibration and haptic feedback (similar to HTC Vive), adjustable depending on the game, and not just one vibration intensity, as the Wii remote was. The system would support both these controllers and the Wii remotes for some games.

According to a later report by the same publication, the controller could feature a separated d-pad and a PS4-like share button.

Additionally, the controller could have clickable scroll wheels as triggers, and the screen covering the entire surface area of the controller, with analog sticks inside the screen, instead of alongside it.

According to Emily Rogers, the screen is currently 720p, 6.2 inches, and features multitouch.

According to Digitimes, the screen would be 5-7 inches.

The console could also include an optional screen controller.

Finally, it could include or support a standard controller as well.

The NX could feature moddable buttons and analog sticks with haptic feedback.

Earlier rumors have suggested the NX controller will feature a touch screen using virtual buttons.

According to this rumor (unverified), the NX controller:

-Doesn’t have an oval screen, but a standard rectangle.

-Has a headphone jack (bottom of controller), gyrometer, and accelerometer, but no camera.

-Has physical buttons with a screen behind them. It doesn’t have a form shifting screen, nor does it have a touchscreen with haptic feedback.

-Has scroll wheel shoulder buttons and two regular shoulder buttons labeled ZL and ZR

-Screen covers the entire face of the controller.

-Screen is capacitive, meaning multitouch, and not stylus-based

-Screen is 1080p

-Is sort of a game system in its own, but it’s not a replacement for the 3DS. It works like a companion app on a phone, and you can take it with you and control some things from your game, like how the VMU on the Dreamcast let you take a Chao with you and train it.

-Is about the size of the bottom half of a 3DS XL.

-Itself is about as powerful as a mid-tier smartphone.

-Has secondary controllers to play local multiplayer with. No screen or headphone jack on those.

Other features:

We can expect the NX to continue to support amiibo, given how popular and profitable this market is, and how many figures Nintendo has produced. Nintendo has filed patents involving NFC too, so there is some evidence behind this, as well.

Other new innovations:

Supports VR

Innovative VR

Supports OSVR

Improved AR and multiplayer features

AR 2.0

Dynamic AR

Innovative achievements system

Connects to TV via HDMI dock to display content

Wireless HDMI dongle

3D for 2D TV’s

More 3D for 2D TV’s

Hologram technology

Ability to upgrade and share console power with Supplemental Computing Devices

Stream games and save data through SCD

Enhanced video camera features

Ability to take portable console/hybrid on the go. Games would scale down from home version.

Game streaming through handheld

Full Bluetooth capability

Very strong networking functions; cross-platform synchronization

4K 60fps streaming


The NX may get rid of the disc drive, and instead will use cartridges for all of its physical software offerings.

While it may seem odd, the move to cartridges would be a smart one. Not only would it be necessary to keep costs down and fit the portable device, but it would also provide data transfer speeds much faster than the now-bottlenecked software discs.


This is arguably the largest debate surrounding the NX.

Officially, all we know is that the NX will likely be scalable between hardware configurations.

It will support Android apps

It Will Support VR

The NX will be close to Xbox One in power

The NX will be more powerful than the PS4 and closer to the PS4 Neo

Will use Vulkan API

Will have industry-leading chips

Will Support Unreal Engine 4

The NX will use ARM architecture [This is very likely]


Why Nintendo NX Will Support Unreal Engine and ARM Architecture


The NX will have x86 architecture

The NX will not have x86 architecture

The NX will use a Tegra X1 processor

The NX may use a Tegra X2 processor

Will use Polaris-like processor

Will use an AMD processor

Handheld powered by DMP/Xilinx technology

Will Use DMP GPU

IHS providing screen

Sharp providing free-form display

Macronix developing game cards

The Games

First Party Support:

As always, Nintendo will support the NX with a stable of Nintendo games throughout its life cycle. This time, since the software will be unified across all NX devices, you can expect to see a strong launch lineup, more 1st party games than ever before, and no game droughts.

The 1st party software output will also be increased by utilizing Nintendo’s new software strategy, as well as smart device and game integration.

Third Party Support:

After the lackluster 3rd party support the Wii U received, Nintendo is striving to make the system attractive to third parties.

Big Third Party Publishers on NX:

100% Confirmed:

Ubisoft (Just Dance 2017, among others)


Sega (Sonic Project 2017)

Warner Bros.

Spike Chunsoft

Unofficially confirmed:

Square Enix

CD Projekt Red

In Consideration:

Electronic Arts (EA Sports a big demand)

Take Two Interactive


Ready at Dawn


Bandai Namco (Super Smash Bros., among others)

Activision (Skylanders, Call of Duty, and Destiny)

All NX Games

Officially Announced:

First Party-

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

New Shin’en Projects (Possibly Including F-Zero)

Third Party-

Just Dance 2017 (Ubisoft)

Sonic Project 2017 (working title) (Sega)

PUZZLEBOX setup (Bplus Games)

Bit Boy!! (tentative title) (Bplus Games)

Tank it! (Bplus Games)

Unofficially Announced:

Third Party-

Dragon Quest X (Square Enix)

Dragon Quest XI (Square Enix)

Hinted At/In Consideration:

First Party-

3D Super Mario

Pikmin 4

Metroid Prime 4

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door HD

Third Party-

Dragon Quest Builders (Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix)

Project CARS (Slightly Mad; Bandai Namco)

Shadow of the Eternals (Quantum Entanglement Entertainment)

Terraria (505 Games)

The Order OR Deformers (Ready at Dawn)

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (FDG Games)

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Lizardcube)

Indivisible (Lab Zero Games)

World to the West (Rain Games)


RIVE (Two Tribes)

Project Elea (Kyodai)


First Party-

Animal Crossing NX (launch title) (Gamer Splash verified source)

Miitomo NX (Full Version, similar to Tomodachi Life) (Gamer Splash verified source)

Super Smash Bros. (highly likely)

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Next Level Games)

Pokemon (Game Freak) (launch window)

Unannounced Mario Game (launch window)

Mario Sports Superstars

Koei Tecmo games (Hyrule Warriors?)

Kid Icarus (reboot) (Retro Studios)

Splatoon (uncertain for release)

Super Mario Maker (uncertain for release)

F-Zero EX

Third Party-

Beyond Good and Evil: The Prejudices of Philosophers (working title) (Ubisoft)

Ubisoft VR Games (Star Trek VR, Rive, etc.)

Call of Duty: Bloodlines (Activision)

Skylanders (Activision)

Spider Man: The First Avenger (Platinum Games; Activision)

Beyond Destiny + Destiny: Complete Edition (Bungie; Activision)

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Square Enix)

Battlefield 1 (Electronic Arts)

FIFA 2017 and other EA Sports titles

Mass Effect Trilogy (Electronic Arts)

Mass Effect Andromeda (Electronic Arts)

Resident Evil VII (Capcom)

Kingdom Hearts 3 (Square Enix)

Injustice 2 (Warner Bros.)


The NX will certainly be an interesting system. Never before has there been so much hype for any console in recent history, and it is testament to the excitement and hype that Nintendo is building around its latest console.

It is likely to be revealed in September, so we will eagerly wait until then until the final news breaks.

Until then, we will continue to update this article with any new information as it breaks.

Stay tuned to Gamer Splash on our social media!

Subscribe to us on YouTube

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Twitch

Article written by Noah from Gamer Splash.