Last week Nintendo announced that they wouldn’t be doing their traditional E3(Electronic Entertainment Expo) press conference. This was pretty surprising news considering that Nintendo is a huge player in the video games industry and for them to scale down their showing does not exactly bode well for E3 and for them. So what happened?
First a brief intro of E3; E3 ,is quite simply, the Superbowl or Champions League of the video games industry. This is the event where every company and publisher that are in the business of making video games or digital entertainment want to be. This is the big show where everyone vies for the world’s attention by showcasing the latest in video games.
So why the smaller presence from Nintendo then? Nintendo believes that instead of holding all the information for a major event, they would slowly spread this stream of information and news across the E3 period. They believe that with this method of releasing information and news, they would be “able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people.” You can read the full press release along with their financial results(if that’s your thing) here.
So what are Nintendo doing there then? Two years ago, Nintendo started doing their Nintendo Direct releases.
Nintendo Directs are web shows or presentations which normally lasts about 30 minutes to an hour. It normally features Nintendo president Satoru Iwata on the Japanese side and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime as they show what new products and releases are coming down the next few months or the year. There has been some huge announcements done on Nintendo Direct such as the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover game, as well as the next game in the Pokemon series, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. On the hardware side, they also announced the revision of the 3DS, the 3DS XL on their Nintendo Direct show.
So that’s their plan: to do smaller shows or presentations like Nintendo Directs during E3. It isn’t by any means just fodder to satisfy fans but a legitimate source of worthy information.
Saying that though, the people or audience that normally watch these Nintendo Directs are the hardcore Nintendo fans or the well-informed gamer. Mainstream media don’t cover Nintendo Directs as they would with E3 shows. This means that there wouldn’t be as much exposure or coverage when compared to doing an E3 press conference.
Nintendo has stated their reason for not doing an E3 conference but here is what I think. The following is just my opinion as someone who has followed gaming and being a gamer throughout my life. I don’t claim to know everything so let’s just call it a “Gamer’s intuition”.
The successor to the wildly successful and popular Wii, the WiiU fell short of Nintendo’s expectations. The WiiU was released late last November in North America, Europe and Australia and last December in Japan. As of March 31st 2013, it has sold an estimate 3.45 million units worldwide. The WiiU was supposed to the main attraction or talking point for them but with weak sales and performance issues, they probably found it hard to talk about let alone do a press conference of.
The next reason I think as to why they are not doing a press conference at E3: The advent of next-generation consoles.
Right, I know Nintendo and their fans would probably argue that their console is Next Generation but specs wise, it really is only slightly more powerful than the current generation of consoles(PS3 and Xbox 360). Sony announced the successor to their mainstay video game console, the Playstation 4 back in February of this year. With an easy-to-develop-for system architecture as well as 8gb of Unified Memory(lookituplol), this is a big jump from the PS3 to the PS4. For comparisons sake, the PS3 had 512mb of memory as well as the needlessly complicated cell processor to work with. Developers have been raving about how much of a surprise and joy it is to be able to work with these specs.
Microsoft will be next to unveil their next generation console on May 21st with early rumours about it being as powerful if not slightly less so than the PS4. There’s still lingering issues about the direction they are heading in with this console as well as the always-online debacle but I guess that’s something for another day.
With news of exciting new possibilities achieved with next generation hardware, it is hard to get excited about the WiiU that is running on current generation hardware. Nintendo probably saw that it would be almost ineffectual to compete with Sony and Microsoft for the limelight this year and thus decided to go with an alternative route.
So what can we look forward to from Nintendo then? Games,games,games……….hopefully.
It’s hard to believe that we are in 2013 and after having survived the end of the world, we still don’t have an official HD Mario game. Nintendo though, has confirmed that the next Mario game on the WiiU will be shown at E3 as well as a whole slew of other unannounced and announced titles for the WiiU and 3DS. This is exactly what Nintendo needs to do right now, show more content and games for the WiiU. The lack of games is the main reason as to why I still haven’t gotten myself a WiiU yet; There’s nothing to play. Ok maybe I’m hyperbolising a little but most of the games on the system right now are either rehashes or ports. The lack of major third party support is also worrying.
But Nintendo has never really been about third party games ever since the Nintendo64, they’ve been mainly relying on their first party titles such as Zelda, Mario and Metroid. Nintendo has recently announced a sequel to arguably the best Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. There’s also the cult favourite Wind Waker remake coming along as well as the inevitable Zelda for the WiiU. So there’s plenty for Zelda and Nintendo fans to look forward to. There’s also this game.
So Nintendo actually has things to show so why not hold a press conference then? That’s probably the most puzzling part because what they need to do right now is to let consumers and the world know that there are games coming to the WiiU.Not rehashes or ports but proper new games. And what better way to do than with a press conference in the biggest video games event in the world with the world’s media in one room. Shame we won’t be seeing moments like the one below this year. With the right games and content, I really believe Nintendo could have held it’s ground against the competition.