June 16, 2021

Weekend Bonus Round: No Nintendo Show at E3? Wut?!

Actually, on second thoughts…


So there will be no Nintendo conference at E3.

Now, that’s a shame because for years Nintendo was arguably the main reason to tune into any live stream of E3. There are memes and running jokes that have been running ever since, some even began last year with the “I Feel Like A Purple Pikmin!” and “Zombie Reggie” gags. Sony and Microsoft were always very straight-laced, very serious, dull even. They loved the detail, but perhaps they loved the detail too much. Nintendo were obviously more on the side of showmanship, crowd-pleasing and doing their own thing their own way. For years, Sony and Microsoft tried to avoid any confliction with Nintendo – even allocating their conferences on different days to stay clear!

So that is no more. Instead, Nintendo are doing a private conference for distributors and publishers, to show them stuff. And then there will be a small on-the-floor preview event, showing off their games the day before E3 starts. Now, it’s certainly an EVENT at E3. This isn’t Nintendo running off into the sunset and abandoning E3 altogether. But yeah, I feel the pain of some. I don’t know if this is really what I want at E3 either.

Thing is, Nintendo have Nintendo Direct now. Fast becoming a monthly fixture, it allows Nintendo to control and reveal information at their own pace, in their own time, across the whole year rather than bundling it all up for E3. There is still plenty of that crazy Japanese humour in the Direct shows – it’s nice to see. Nintendo probably just want to see if their E3 show can be replaced. Thing is, you can never really know until you do it, can you? Until something is done, it’s always a theory. When my sister says, “I’ll cook the Sunday Lunch this week!”, I don’t know if she means it until she does it (invariably, she doesn’t – it’s just a plan to get her big brothers around to do it for her… she’s no fool!). Nintendo may have been thinking about this for a while, and just decided this year, with the Direct show for its consumers and the E3 Preview for the Press, that the only element left to deal with is the Distributors and Publishers. Who can have information specifically tailored to them at their own event. With each event more focused on specific points, it may even end up a big coup for Nintendo.

It could also go horribly wrong and Nintendo will be back to normal next year. But until it’s done, we can’t really know how it ends up.

However, one brief thing before I run off. I’ve heard a lot about how people think this will mean Nintendo gets no E3 coverage, and how silly it is, and how it will hurt them. The thing is, the reason people heard this before E3 is because the press dug around and discovered it. The press is making a big deal out of it, making out it is very concerned about everything and wondering why Nintendo are doing it. In the most bizarre way possible, Nintendo are guaranteed a huge press interest at E3. Purely on the grounds that everyone is wondering what they are doing and why they are doing it. Far from being ignored, weeks before E3, Nintendo have guaranteed themselves column inches for the next few weeks as everyone’s interest is piqued. Everyone now knows Nintendo have a small E3 show. And the press have more interest in it than ever before.

You can say a lot of things, but that’s very, very clever. It’s probably not intentional (because if it is then Nintendo has a more mean-spirited deviousness than I would ever have given them credit for), but heck. It’s working. They’ll take that. There are plenty of other shows in the year to be doing; the main one for gamers these days is PAX, rather than E3, but that might be extrapolating a bit.

I guess we’ll just have to watch the Direct show, then see what they show the press.

I’ll definitely be watching…

UPDATE: Whilst I was writing, it seems Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of 2K Games and Rockstar Studios, will also not be at E3. Which is very interesting as there was a big discussion about a GTA:V event at E3 this year – which, obviously, appears to no longer be happening. Not in the usual sense, anyway.

I suspect that this is not the last of the story either.


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