There's no hiding from the fact that Nintendo has suffered some rocky times over the last couple of years. The Wii U is shaping up to be the company's biggest console flop to date (excluding the odd and not widely available Virtual Boy) and its more recent financial results have made for uneasy reading, even for die-hard fans.

Not all is lost, however.

Although the Wii U has failed to shift in significant numbers, it has still been home to some incredible games over its three-and-a-half year lifespan. And that gives hope that Nintendo still knows how to cut it in the home. That particular machine might have failed to ignite mass consumer interest, but its licences and games are still as popular as ever.

Which is why Nintendo is not giving up the ghost quite yet. It will have at least one more stab at the home console market in the shape of the illusive Nintendo NX.

The company has to get it right this time or Sony and Microsoft will be left to share the gaming market between them, but if there was ever a firm that oozed optimism from every pore the home of Mario is surely it.

So here is what we currently know about Nintendo's most important kit launch in years, based on rumour and speculation. We'll update as new information comes to light, but here's everything you need to know for now.

While under a lot of pressure about falling financial forecasts and the failure of the Wii U in sales terms - and also while we were ironically travelling to Germany to play the excellent Splatoon before its release - the late Satoru Iwata revealed his company was working on a new games console.

Codenamed Nintendo NX (but reported to be "Project NX" originally), the new console was said to be "a brand-new concept".

"As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year," Iwata said.

Sadly, he passed away last summer, so would not get to deliver that machine himself.

Since then, the company has revealed few other details about the machine itself apart from reiterating that it is a new concept. It has revealed the release date, however, as detailed below.

It is also likely that the "NX" name will change, but until we know more we'll stick with it for now.

When it was first announced last year, it was revealed that we would find out more "in 2016". That lead many to believe that Nintendo would use the E3 videogames show in Los Angeles in June to first show the device, much like it did the Wii U originally.

However, in its annual financial report released in April, the company has stated that it will definitely not be showing the Nintendo NX at E3 2016. Instead it will be unveiled "later this year".

In the same document, Nintendo also confirmed its planned release date. The Nintendo NX will release globally in March 2017.

READ: Nintendo NX release date revealed but won't be at E3 2016

Without even seeing the console yet it is impossible to know how much the Nintendo NX is likely to cost. But there is an indication that it could be pricey.

Previous Nintendo consoles have followed natural pricing progressions over the years. The Nintendo Wii U, for example, cost $300 when first released in the US. The Wii cost $250, the GameCube $200, as did the N64, SNES and NES.

However, while Nintendo has always aimed to be more family friendly than rivals with its games machines, CEO Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that the company will not be making the latest machine at a loss. It has been the case in the past that a console could cost more to make than it can recoup, with software sales making up the shortfall.

This will not be the case with NX, meaning it is likely to be the most expensive Nintendo machine yet.

We feel therefore that Nintendo will ensure its next, make-or-break console will be highly spec'ed and will come with a price tag to match. Expect it to be around the $400-$500 mark.

The biggest rumour about the Nintendo NX that has been circulating for almost a year is that the console comprises two parts. The original rumour stated that it will be a home and handheld games console.

The idea is that you can play a game at home on the big screen and then carry on with your progress when out and about too.

However, more recent noise coming out from Reddit and other sources claim that it is a home games console only, albeit that it will come with a couple of "gimmicks" - it is a Nintendo console after all.

What it will look like is currently unknown, although some concept artists have been having fun with different ideas.

Mesut G Designsnx

Most of them show an oblong machine with slightly curved edges, much like the bit of the Wii U you barely see. Somehow we doubt that, but until there's reports to the contrary, those are seemingly sticking.

Another concept design that did the rounds recently was that of a prospective controller. It was actually published by many sites, including Dual Pixels, as being a leaked shot, but turned out to be fake.

Dual Pixelsimageedit_4_9185534138-e1458259237602

Like many concepts though, there is some basis for its look and design. Nintendo was found to have filed patents with the US Patent office for a control device that formed an oval and had a capacitive touchscreen on the front. You can find the pdf of the patent application with images here.

Free Patents OnlineNX controller

New rumours also suggest that there could be more than one controller available, which wouldn't exactly be a departure for Nintendo considering there often is with a new console launch.

As there are development kits thought to be out there, amongst the studios, some hardware specifications rumours have been doing the rounds.

An official survey, commissioned by Nintendo, suggested that games will run at 900p and in 60 frames per second, while it will also be capable of 4K Ultra HD video streaming.

There is a word of caution however, as surveys can often throw misinformation at the person partaking in order to gauge reaction to possible rather than definitive features. And as the same GfK release stated that the Nintendo NX would have gameplay that flowed "between Nintendo NX console and Nintendo NX handheld device" - something since debunked - there seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding this particular source.

The 4K part has been repeated elsewhere though, with some thinking that it goes beyond video streaming and the console might even upscale games footage to 4K. Even in that case, games will still run in 1080p at best, however.

Other rumoured spec (as reported by Nintendo Insider) include an AMD GPU and "between 6GB and 8GB of RAM". However, these come from Reddit user untypedhero, who claims to be a Nintendo employee or close to the company. Reddit has apparently verified his validity, but there is still come doubt as to his credentials, so take it with a pinch of salt.

An interesting rumour that emerged in the middle of last year is that the Nintendo NX operating system will be based on Android.

This was based on the fact that the company is working with mobile gaming platform company DeNA on its mobile applications, which started recently with Miitomo.

To be honest, we've not heard much recently to back up the claim, so it might be a rumour that has faded since.

It has been confirmed that alongside The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, which has now been put back to 2017, an enhanced version will also be available for Nintendo NX.

It might even use Unreal Engine 4, which is heavily rumoured to be used in development of some NX games.

That would be amazing as it would show that the Nintendo NX will be at least as powerful, graphically, as the PS4 and Xbox One.

Indeed, independent coders have recreated a couple of games demos in Unreal Engine 4 recently to give an idea what a typical Nintendo title could look like using the graphics engine.

Our particular favourite is a level of the classic Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time recreated using UE4 by YouTuber CryZENx. It is quite simply superb and gives a hint of how the NX version of the Legend of Zelda could look.

Other games so far speculated to be coming for the Nintendo NX include a new Mario title that will be a bit like Mario Sunshine - although we're not sure if that's more wishful thinking than fact.

We will update this round-up as and when we hear more rumours, substantiated and otherwise. Hopefully, you'll return often.