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A Nintendoless E3?

Posted on the 25 April 2013 by Findthebluekey @FindTheBlueKey


In a recent announcement, Nintendo of America President Satoru Iwata revealed that there will not be the traditional Nintendo Press Conference at this years E3, instead they will be focusing on several smaller events directed towards the software they are unveiling in America.

Okay, so maybe E3 won’t exactly be Nintendoless, but it sounded good, didn’t it?

But all shamelessly attention-grabbing titles aside, this move raises a great deal of questions while providing very few answers. Clearly this is a big deal for Nintendo. E3, while having lost some prominence in the recent past, is still regarded as one of the largest venues for hardware manufacturers to pump up their consoles to the public and press alike. So what exactly does Nintendo pulling out spell for the company?

From a purely knee-jerk reaction, the omens don’t seem particularly good. The Wii U has already been selling poorly worldwide, and seems to be lacking solid third-party support thus far. So it stands to reason that Nintendo would try to come out guns-a-blazing at E3 and win back some of their crucial market share.

Instead, Nintendo has decided to leave the big show to Microsoft and Sony. No matter which way you slice it, this leaves lots of room for both companies to make some headway. So what might have prompted Nintendo to drop out of the competition?

The most obvious answer would be that they don’t have enough content produced to fill one of these mega-conferences. If 3rd party support is as minimal as it’s been so far, this answer could seem plausible. Given the relative lack of titles surrounding the launch of the Wii U, this explanation makes for a wonderful scapegoat.

However, I don’t think it’s nearly that simple. Nintendo has always thrived on in-house development above all else, and I’d be shocked if they don’t have some solid first-party titles ready to demo at this E3. In the past, their press conferences has consisted almost exclusively of their in-house titles, so lack of 3rd party support seems an unlikely reason for their dropout.

If you were to ask me(as I’m certain you didn’t), my inclination is that Nintendo is beating a tactical retreat rather than an outright surrender. If you look at what their up against, the E3 Press Conference showdown doesn’t end with good odds for Nintendo.

Microsoft and Sony both have large announcements in the chamber for this one. For Microsoft, it will be finally be putting to rest the rumour-mill by unveiling their new XBOX WhateverThey’llCallIt. And for Sony, you can bet that they’ll give us that first look at design for the PS4, and will probably have a good number of new games to back that up.

No matter if these items are well or poorly received, those announcements will be filling the headlines. Nothing Nintendo can unveil is going to change that.

So if Nintendo only sees an enormous battle that they can’t win, perhaps they see more benefit in avoiding it entirely. Instead, they can win a few smaller skirmishes by hosting events centered around their strengths: first party titles.

Now, clearly this idea(if true) comes with its own share of risks. Like I said earlier, this move is providing the two other power players with room to maneuver in the console battle. Less competition, more press time for them. Not to mention a solid contingent of Games Journalists who will jump on this as a Nintendo death-knell.

The way I see it, Nintendo has found themselves in a no-win scenario. If they pull out, they risk getting no press attention. If they stay in, they risk getting bad press attention when compared to Microsoft and Sony.

And whoever said “Any Press is Good Press” clearly didn’t spend much time on the internet…

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