It has been more than a week since the E3 conference where the biggest news on the lips and minds of the gaming world was the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and their upcoming salvos for the next-gen console war.
In a first for the company, Nintendo decided not to hold a conference like its two rivals, focusing more on a purist approach via pre-recorded off-site video streamed showcases of their new and old game series and showing off their heavy hitting titles at select Best Buy stores.
Nintendo and their new series of â€œNintendo Directâ€ showings were their answer to what they felt was the overt pomp and majesty that gaming events have become: light shows, jumbo screens, fast-talking announcers, and celebrity guests. Countless amounts of money and time are put into these showcases and from Nintendo“s point of view, were a waste of their money and time.
By way of the Nintendo Direct events, they wanted to remove the bloated middleman that was the flashy showbiz style of E3 and focus on the gameplay and nothing else with their sparse aesthetic. However, this Spartan media campaign I believe has done far more harm than good for the big N.
With their absence from the E3 conference stage – while a solid strategic move to avoid the chance of being upstaged by Sony and Microsoft, essentially removed even the possibility of holding their own spotlight during the events. What appeared to be Nintendo“s folly was they sold themselves and their productions far too short. The games and system features they had were quite impressive and an exciting mixture of old series (the new Super Mario), new gems (Bayonetta 2, Wonderful 101), and the announcement of long awaited legends (Smash Brothers).
In addition to all the news of Pokemon X and Y, new playable characters for Smash Brothers, and other networking specs for the Wii U and 3DS, they had more than enough to display on the big stage. And if they were so confident in their philosophies of letting the games speak for themselves, they should have placed enough trust to put it up against the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. While they tried so valiantly to let the games do the talking, their absence spoke much louder.
What Nintendo failed to realize was gaming and the entire world of it has vastly changed. As the games become more complex and the production values rival that of many theatrical films, the glitz, pomp, and showmanship that is E3 fits right in with the movie galas for the latest movie by Spike Lee or Joss Whedon.
The spectacle has become just as much a part of the experience as the games themselves. By not showing the games off live on stage, they lost some of that magic that can only come about with living eyes and ears. There is no way that a Nintendo Direct live cast can recreate the madcap roar that the new Battlefront game made. An isolated video of Mega Man fighting Mario cannot record the cacophony of applause and cheers that the Sony conference received when they announced the Playstation 4 can play used games. A single trailer being shown in the vacuum of a silent studio cannot and will not match the fervor of live audience of gaming journalists and attendee watching with slacked jaws as an entire building comes crashing down before them during the Battlefield 4 multiplayer demo.
Without that human factor, without that showmanship and glitz that solidifies the experience and the sense of wonder, Nintendo came off looking listless and cold in comparison - which is why it was no surprise that so many people felt underwhelmed by Nintendo and so much more fervor was placed on Playstation 4 and the Xbox One respectively.
While it is still far too early to count Nintendo out of the game already, E3 was truly a sign that something must change or grow within Nintendo if they wish to not be left by the wayside.
If the Wii U and Nintendo honestly want to stay as a contender in the coming console war, they have to start showing up on the battlefield.