An ‘end of an era’ feeling swept across the gaming industry the day Nintendo announced that they would not be holding a live press conference at E3 2013 like they’ve done every year. Instead, they would use their new digital presentation to showcase what Nintendo fans had to look forward to in the next year and beyond.
To many, it was a sign that Nintendo was giving up on the idea of going head to head on arguably gaming’s biggest stage. While others still see it that way, there’s no denying that several years later we’re noticing the power of Nintendo Direct and why Sony, Microsoft, and other big names in the industry should follow suit.
What is Nintendo Direct And Why Is It Special?
For those unaware, Nintendo Direct is a video presentation where the Japanese developer shares news and information on their games, hardware, etc. They usually last between thirty minutes to an hour and focus on a specific game or franchise, such as the Super Smash Bros. Wii U Direct on October 23rd, 2014. Each region also has their own presenters, usually the president of each respective region, but sometimes Satoru Iwata appears for international Nintendo Directs.
So what makes these so special? It’s not like dating online presentations are anything new. The novelty comes with Nintendo’s tendency to surprise us each time they’re having a Nintendo Direct by announcing them only days before they’re going to air. This creates a sudden wave of pure excitement among Nintendo fans as they prepare to receive juicy new info in an entertaining way, as opposed to the conventional method of reading it on a gaming site.
Of course, there’s no time more exciting for gamers than the countdown to E3. Gamers get giddy with anticipation even if there’s no chance of actually attending E3 and instead they’ll watch the entire presentation from home. To see what their favorite game companies have in store for them is certainly a cause for excitement, but the following truth has remained the same since E3’s inception – there’s room for awkwardness and deception.
Pitfalls At E3
It’s hard to forget Nintendo’s ridiculous Wii Music presentation or Vitality Sensor reveal. And there are still memes all over the internet born from Sony’s 2006 E3 conference.
Giant Enemy Crab and Riiiidge Racer, anyone?
This may even sound harsh but there were more than plenty of Xbox Kinect presentations that were quite easy to laugh at, especially when it involved dancing games.
The point is, Nintendo can now show off their new stuff while also avoiding silly moments that can reduce the impact of a presentation. No more weird celebrity appearances, surprise equipment malfunctions, or people booing at your announcements (see: Sony announces their PSVita AT&T Partnership at E3 2011). Nintendo has control of what they show and can guarantee that it is top quality, each and every time.
As far as deception goes, we’re no longer surprised when a jaw-dropping trailer claiming to be ‘actual gameplay footage’ is eventually discovered to have been touched up so viewers think the game looks better than it actually does.
Since E3 has become a competition to see who can get the most wows, developers will go into crunch time and hire people in the months prior just to produce visual content that’s unfaithful to what the actual game will look like. As a gamer, this should definitely bother you.
“Truth In Advertising”
Now out of the boxing ring that is E3, Nintendo is less pressured to show questionable game footage on their Nintendo Directs since they’re doing it from the comfort of an online presentation.
They won’t get to impress people that aren’t already sold on their games since it’s mostly Nintendo fans that are watching Nintendo Directs. But at least they don’t have to worry about fanboys of other game companies looking for something to pounce on.
Do people miss the chance of moments like the E3 reveal of Twilight Princess that had the entire room cheering ecstatically? Definitely.
Even so, there’s no denying the effectiveness of Nintendo Direct and it wouldn’t be surprising to see other companies come through with their own online presentations.
Sony and Microsoft probably won’t abandon their live press conferences at E3 anytime soon, but it’d certainly be cool to get something from them similar to Nintendo Direct every few months to excite their fans in a unique way.