I am a self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy. We may be dwindling in numbers, but we still exist and our might is still fairly powerful. Even so, I have some things to say about Nintendo’s recent announcement that they will not be hosting a presentation at E3.
Firstly – let’s talk logistics. Nintendo will still BE at E3, they just won’t kickstart proceedings with a presentation designed to wow global audiences with Microsoft and Sony as competitors for the past several years. Instead, they, to quote Iwata: “are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the US market.” This means they’ll announce new software and then allow it to be played on the E3 show floor. Allegedly, they’ll be using this time to also reveal new software to the mainstream media too – bonus points for them. As for the rest of us, we’ll be sated with a few extra Nintendo directs hosted around the same time. Except, we won’t.
See, recently Nintendo have come under a lot of fire for appealing to nostalgia and I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say it’s great. Earthbound gets released on Virtual Console this year, there’s currently three Zelda games in the pipeline (One remake, one direct sequel, one unknown) and Yoshi’s Story is getting a new release on 3DS; everything is designed by Nintendo to say ‘Hey, remember this? Yeah, this was good wasn’t it? How about you buy it again, with a different name and better graphics?!” Which is usually all fine and well – Nintendo have always made a habit of making sure their fanboy audience are satisfied. Nintendo Directs have always been particularly good for this, building up hype and showing the fans what they can expect for their loyalty to the cause. Yet with Wii U shifting just 3.45 million units (over 2 million less than its initial sales target by this quarter) it’s arguable that the fanboy is maybe just not enough. What Nintendo really need is to find some sort of mainstream coverage, some place where every gamer ever will be watching to see what they do, some sort of Electronic Entertainment Exp– oh.
At the end of the day, this seems to be the direction Nintendo are taking: appeal to the fans and hope when you wake up tomorrow, everyone else has followed. Unfortunately, Nintendo Directs are only a direct port of contact for the loyalists, and Nintendo’s decision to play it safe by only allowing their latest brainchild to be coddled by their fanboys when it really needs to get out and experience the world is worrisome. I only hope that whatever they plan to do, they force absolutely everyone to sit up and take notice, giving the fledgling Wii U the opportunity to be adored by the public (as it rightfully should) and not end up 20-something, living in its parent’s basement, afraid of the light of day.