Nintendo, I love you guys, but man have you been frustrating me a bit lately. Let me explain…
I grew up with Nintendo being the major and really only gaming presence in my life. It started with the NES and continued along through all of their console releases until the Wii came along. I was initially very high on the Wii, but it’s heavy reliance on motion controls kind of derailed my excitement for the company’s future. It also caused me to look at other companies like Microsoft and Sony. For most of my life though, I was firmly in the Nintendo camp and got my Sega and Sony fixes at friends houses.
After bungling the announcement of the WiiU, leaving it unclear that the system was more than a tablet, and my Wii motion control dislike, I initially decided to pass on the system. After a couple of years and a strong lineup of games like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros, and others, I decided it was time to give in and finally jump on the WiiU train. So far, the experience has been excellent.
As this was my first real E3 to really care about what Nintendo was showcasing for the WiiU, I found the show to be just okay. Sure, there are some gems coming sooner than later, but overall, the lineup was weak in my opinion.
As we now know, that was entirely on purpose. (A lot more after the jump…)
Ever since the criticism started falling on Nintendo post E3 2015, the company has defended itself by saying they were only showcasing games that were coming out in the next year and didn’t want to disappoint fans by announcing things that were well off into the future. That line of thinking is a bit of a head scratcher considering the types of promises that are made at a show like E3.
Last week, Nintendo faced off with their investors, again taking the opportunity to explain themselves for what appeared to be a less than stellar E3 showing. Here are some quotes for you starting with legendary creator, Shigeru Miyamoto:
“On the first day of E3, Nintendo aired its online video presentation [known as the] Nintendo Digital Event and introduced to the viewers software that the company would showcase at our E3 booth. Since we mainly included the software that would be released before the end of this year, the entire software lineup appeared to be small,” Miyamoto said. “And because we did not include a number of third-party titles, we must’ve ended up giving people the impression that not so many titles will be released on our platforms in future.”
Nintendo president and chief executive officer Satoru Iwata came up to bat next and echoed a similar statement:
“We recognize that we have let down a number of the online viewers of this year’s E3,” said Iwata. “Especially the avid Nintendo fans, because we did not show what they had expected.”
Those are all well and good, and lines we’ve heard from them and NOA president/COO Reggie Fils-Aime before. Where I start to have a problem with their line of thinking is when I hear reasoning like this:
“I got the general impression that [Sony and Microsoft] were showcasing not only the products for this year but also many products for next year or the year after and, because of that, introductions for many of their software titles were done visually, not with playable demos,” said Miyamoto.
Or even this:
“One thing I should say about Nintendo’s E3 booth is that, unlike the other booths in general, most of the visitors to our booth were smiling and actually picking up the controllers and playing with our games,” Iwata added. “So, this was one big difference because a number of the visitors to other booths appeared to have spent a lot of time just watching game videos.”
Listen, I understand Nintendo doesn’t want to lead their fans on with promises for games that are years out from release. I get that. Lets be frank here though. Nintendo is in last place in console sales with a huge gap between them and Microsoft/Sony. E3 is an event that is used primarily to excite fans for what’s next on each of these consoles, not detail information they already know. Nintendo’s show was very straightforward and lacked those ‘WOW’ moments that Microsoft and Sony both nailed.
Need proof? Look at the data. Sure, Shenmue III, The Last Guardian, and Final Fantasy VII Remake were just trailers and fancy words at the show. Did that phase any Sony fans? Not at all. In fact, many fans were through the roof excited for these products even knowing that they are years away from being playable. Just look at this guy. Same with Recore, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and the slew of other 2016/2017 games. You need to excite your fan base or potential fans by showing cool stuff. Hell, I don’t even really understand what The Last Guardian actually is, but it looks freakin’ cool. There’s a giant bird-dog thing that does stuff! Based on the quotes above, either Nintendo doesn’t want to do that, or doesn’t know how.
It may be too late to turn the WiiU ship around, but if Nintendo wants to succeed going forward, they’ll have to start getting fans excited and taking chances with future announcements. Nintendo, you really know how to frustrate me sometimes. I still love you though.
I, for one, am perfectly fine with letting a trailer or hands-off demo getting me excited for a game down the road. Do you agree?