According to the organization’s website, it would appear that Nintendo has now become a member of the Khronos Group. The alliance of various companies and academic bodies, including some gaming giants such as Valve, is a nonprofit aimed at “creating open standards for the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics, dynamic media, computer vision and sensor processing on a wide variety of platforms and devices.” Essentially, this means they are looking to develop a single graphics API (application programming interface) that can be used across all platforms and lessen barriers to entry. The most recent example would be Vulkan, which Valve has tried to push heavily.
But what does Nintendo joining the Khronos Group mean for us mere mortals, the console gamer? According to the site, Nintendo has joined in the capacity of a “Contributing Member.” This means they “have full API working group participation and voting rights, and generous marketing benefits.” Obviously, then, Nintendo has some sort of stake in this technology and wants to have a say.
This very well could be related to Nintendo’s efforts on the mobile front and their partnership with DeNA. Trying to push proprietary software in the mobile marketplace would handicap them before they began. However, it may also have implications for Codename NX, the upcoming console. Now, while this news isn’t as flashy as a new schematic of scrolling shoulder buttons, it is potentially more revealing and vastly more important for the future of Nintendo.
The company has historically leaned towards the use of proprietary hardware and software. As such, 3rd party developers have all but given up developing on Nintendo consoles when the competitors are all moving towards standard specifications. Should the NX conform to those standards, it would be extremely beneficial in terms of software support. The alternative is what we have now, where the delays of Zelda and Starfox have left the entire holiday season relatively dry for Wii U owners. Nintendo’s current strategies have created a model where they are reliant on themselves and only themselves for software, and the dangers are evident.
I want to be clear that this in no way is any confirmation of specifications for the NX. That being said, it is a pretty obvious business decision.