The reaction so far to this news has mostly been people jumping to the conclusion that it’s an idication of how badly Nintendo is doing. That’s fallacy, however, and personally, I think it’s more an indication of Nintendo being progressive and the current state of big events such as E3. The news comes from an investor Q&A where Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata announced that the company didn’t have plans for a big press conference at E3 this year, as they have in the past:
“We [have] decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past. Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market.”
The key thing to remember here, is that this doesn’t mean they won’t have a presence at all, but rather they’re focusing on smaller, closed door type events to showcase product. The primary reason for this switch stems from the amount of success Nintendo has been having with their Nintendo Direct videos. Those live-streaming videos have served to make some of the biggest announcements this year in regards to new game releases and hardware updates.
This is why I’m not bothered by Nintendo scaling it back at E3 this year, because just about once a month, they’re hosting a ‘press conference’ to announce new and exciting things. Personally, I’ll take new announcements on a regular basis as opposed to having to wait once a year to see be amazed by a 2-3 hour long event. This is a progression of the future, and shows that Nintendo is doing it’s best to stay current with the latest trends.
With the internet, news and information is damn near instantaneous. We don’t have to wait for big events anymore in order to get our fix of news. Nintendo is embracing this concept via their Direct videos, and getting gamers official information in a more timely and accessible manner. Not to mention the fact that this year’s E3 is likely to be dominated by other next-gen consoles. It’s a smart move, that will keep them from looking ‘weaker’ next to the other big guys’ announcements, but still able to show off their latest games in smaller venues at E3.
As I said, some people are making a big deal out of it, seeing it as a sign of Nintendo’s downfall. Frankly, though, it’s more a sign of how the interest and importance of these events have waned over the years. E3 is a big, and fun spectacle to be sure, but it’s not as necessary to the industry like it once was. Developers and companies are taking to their own privately hosted events (which they then stream directly to their intended audiences) to debuted their latest and greatest, rather than saving everything for a singular event. Where E3 was once the ONLY place you’d see companies announce their newest consoles, both Sony and Microsoft are doing so on their own.
I suspect this trend will continue and we’ll see more and more developers toning down their presence at E3 in order to generate their own hype for privately hoste events. When you think about it, it seems a natural progression for the industry on the whole. Anyway, here’s the full statement from Nintendo about their lack of conference this year:
In the past we invited reporters, investors and analysts, industry partners, such as software publishers, and distributors who attended E3 to our large-scale presentations. We also used them as a communication tool in which we broadcast our presentations on the Internet to reach out to video game fans around the globe.
I believe that many are expecting us to host a similar event this year. On the other hand, since we set out on new endeavors such as Nintendo Direct two years ago in October, we have been paying special attention to the fact that different people demand different types of information from us. For example, as video game fans are looking for information about games, it seems that they are less interested in sales figures that investors and analysts on the other hand attach much greater importance to, and distribution partners are looking for information on how we are going to market our products in the immediate future.
At previous financial briefing sessions we announced information about our products, showed videos and even uploaded the recording of these events onto our website, but given that we now have an established method such as Nintendo Direct, we feel that we will be able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people.
At E3 this year, we are not planning to launch new hardware, and our main activity at E3 will be to announce and have people experience our software. Many people are certainly very interested in learning more about the Wii U titles that we are going to announce. We will use E3 as an ideal opportunity to talk in detail mainly about the Wii U titles that we are going to launch this year, and we also plan to make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately. As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3.
First, we decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past. Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market.
There will be one closed event for American distributors, and we will hold another closed hands-on experience event, for mainly the Western gaming media. Also, I did not speak at last year’s presentation, and I am not planning to speak at these events at the E3 show this year either. Apart from these exclusive events for visitors, we are continuing to investigate ways to deliver information about our games directly to our home audience around the time of E3. We will share more information about them once they have officially been decided.
During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience, including those who are at this financial briefing, mainly focusing on the software that we are going to launch in Japan, and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well.