In a meeting with investors today, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced that the company will forego the usual long, bombastic press conference during this year’s E3 in favor of doing a number of smaller, “more directed” events during the show.
“As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3, specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market.” Iwata said today. Instead of one big press conference designed to appeal to everybody, the company will hold smaller events specifically targeted at either distributors, other members of the industry, or the press. Iwata says that showing off their new titles in this method will “make it possible for [E3] visitors to try our games immediately.”
In addition to the targeted, in-person events, Nintendo still plans to make new product announcements via their Nintendo Direct broadcasts during E3. “During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience … and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well,” Iwata said, describing the company’s new E3 strategy.
Nintendo says they won’t have any new hardware to show at this year’s E3: their focus will be entirely on new software for the Wii U and the 3DS.
This is the latest in a string of strange decisions by Nintendo; while it’s true that E3 press conferences in recent years have increasingly been more about style rather than substance, you’d still think that Nintendo would use E3 as opportunity to give their struggling Wii U as much mainstream exposure as possible. Then again, the company’s Nintendo Direct broadcasts this year have given us more exciting announcements than any of Nintendo’s infamously boring E3 press conferences from the last five years. Perhaps they just don’t see the point of a press conference when they can directly address their customers via Nintendo Direct. Or maybe Nintendo just doesn’t want to compete with the Sony and Microsoft’s new hardware announcements directly; the press and gamers alike will understandably be fawning over the PS4 and the new Xbox due to the appeal of new, flashy hardware, while Nintendo is in the unenviable position of having to promote an existing product whose flaws and (admittedly substantial) shortcomings are already well-known.
Of course, nobody makes their really important announcements at E3 anymore: Sony already unveiled the PS4 last February, and Microsoft will show off the new Xbox a few weeks before E3 in May, so there’s a chance that the old, loud, 2 hour long E3 press conferences may soon become a thing of the past. It’s just as well: E3 should be about games, not about who puts on the best stage show. With that said, I will miss the ridiculous, incredibly awkward and meme-generating press conferences that Nintendo put on in the past.