While both Microsoft and Sony will be showing more of their next-gen consoles at during the pre-E3 2013 festivities, Nintendo is sitting this one out. This will be the first E3 in recent memory where one of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) does not hold a press conference.
Instead Nintendo plans to focus on smaller, software-focused events rather than one big presentation geared towards an international audience. Along with what we assume will be Nintendo’s usual show-floor presence, will be an event for American distributors and “hands-on experiences for Western gaming media.”
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata broke the news during a financial call, shocking a lot of the gaming press and die-hard fans. Still, despite the general sense of alarm circulating after Iwata’s announcement there is still reason to be optimistic.
First and foremost, it’s important to point out that Nintendo has been struggling financially as of late. The Wii U hasn’t been selling quite as well as anyone hoped (or Nintendo expected), and so the publisher is likely trying to rein it in as far as unnecessary expenditures go.
As well, the company has been regularly holding Nintendo Direct presentations — livestreams where they unveil a new game, show new footage, or talk about updates to one of their consoles — which are almost like mini E3 press conferences. We’d imagine that a livestream is a tiny bit cheaper than renting out Los Angeles’ very spacious Nokia Theatre every year.
At the same time, the lack of a press conference brings up some pretty important questions, namely how will fans see all of these exciting games they were promised? Yes, there will plenty of press coverage and trailers to support Nintendo’s E3 2013 announcements, but will those be able to replace a pre-packaged presentation? Seeing Miyamoto come out on stage to unveil the next Zelda doesn’t generate quite as much hype as reading 700 words about a hands-on experience.
Not four months ago, Nintendo got fans really excited with talk of a 3D Mario, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. reveal. They even suggested a few more titles might get teased in some fashion — perhaps that HD Zelda we’ve been hearing about. What happens to those reveals? How will Nintendo ensure fans don’t miss out on seeing those games in action?
In some ways this announcement feels like Nintendo acknowledging that the attention will be focused on Microsoft and Sony and taking themselves slightly out of the limelight. It could be a smart move as it’s hard to see Nintendo winning the annual (yet unofficial) “press conference battle” that happens every year, but still this was supposed to be a big year for Nintendo as well.
First came the unveiling of the Wii U, then some underwhelming launch content, and THEN we get the good stuff: the first party titles. That still can happen, but without the fanfare we’ve come to expect.
There’s still a few more weeks before E3, which leaves plenty of time for Nintendo to set the stage before the press conferences begin. But can they recover from what a lot of fans might see as a sign things aren’t fine in Nintendo land?
What do you make of Nintendo opting out of an E3 press conference? Do you think it is a wise decision or do you think it will hurt them?