Nintendo E3 strategy has changed in the last couple of years. Gone are the days of the press conference. Now, the Nintendo Spotlight is used to introduce all new games.
That’s not the only change in Nintendo E3 strategy that we have seen. This year Nintendo did some things outside of the norm of how they usually do them. While some people were a little irritated, it makes complete since when you look at the reasoning behind it.
Nintendo Announced Games We Will Not Be Playing In The Next Year
Nintendo E3 strategy has always focused on announcing games that customers hope to be playing within the next year. It doesn’t always work out this way. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an example of this, but extenuating circumstances allowed this to happen. I still believe Nintendo would have loved to have had this game on the Wii U solely, but the install base as well as timing wasn’t going to dictate this.
In fact, I would go as far to say the Wii U and Breath of the Wild is a major reason games were announced for the Switch that we will not be seeing in the next year. Particularly, Metroid Prime 4 and a true Pokemon mainline game are the two games most people are focusing on. While we will touch on these in a little bit, let’s look at the reasoning behind the announcements.
Nintendo had a difficult time sustaining any momentum with the Wii U. There are plenty of reasons for this. We could blame the lack of third-party support. It could also be that Nintendo failed on delivering the message to the fans of just why they should buy the Wii U. Regardless, the failure of the Wii U put extreme pressure on the company to have success with the Switch.
Therefore, Nintendo needed this E3 to make sure that customers knew that Nintendo would be supporting this software with popular properties for the foreseeable future. Plus, with a Mario and Zelda game on the Switch in the first year, fans need to know that more is coming in the future.
Samus Return Demanded Metroid Prime 4
Various sites and podcasts discussed the why behind Metroid Prime 4 , but it needs to mentioned here as a Nintendo E3 strategy. Fans would have lost their minds if they would have announced a Metroid 2 remake for the 3DS with a brand new Nintendo console on the market not getting one.
Fan reaction was over-the-top when the Metroid Prime label was placed on Federation Force. The number of dislikes on YouTube coupled with petitions across the internet spelled loud and clear that Nintendo was not on the same page as their fans when it comes to everyone’s favorite bounty hunter. Nintendo releasing a remake with nothing new in development would test the fan’s again.
Instead of irritation, the simple act of releasing a teaser image for Metroid 4 created a very positive fan reaction. Then, surprising everyone with Samus Returns seemed more like icing on the cake. So, while announcing the game so early is a different Nintendo E3 strategy, it makes total sense.
Mainline Pokemon Game For the Switch
While most of the world sees the Switch as the future of handheld, Nintendo still places it directly in the home console market. The handheld portion to them is more of a convenience. Therefore, many were surprised at the announcement of a mainline Pokemon game for the Switch despite the fact a release date wasn’t even hinted at.
Let’s remember that just prior to E3 a Pokemon Direct just announced Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for the 3DS. Why wouldn’t the Switch just get a port of this game or the first Sun and Moon? I think the reasons could be two fold.
Pokemon’s roots are grounded in portable consoles with large install bases. If anyone follows Nintendo, they know this. Nintendo is releasing the 2DS XL. Putting a Pokemon mainline game on the Switch would cannibalize the 2DS XL. As a matter of opinion, I would go as far to say the minute Pokemon comes to Switch the 3DS family is history.
Most likely, another reason for holding off on Pokemon for the Switch could be production shortages of the console. If Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon had been announced for the Switch, can you imagine the outrage of not being able to find one? The negative would far outweigh the positive.
2018 Game Line Up
Nintendo did not stop with Pokemon and Metroid. They went on to announce Yoshi and Kirby for 2018. There is sound reason for this as well.
In 2017, the Switch will have new Zelda and multiple Mario games release. These are the two biggest franchises for the company. It is imperative Nintendo show support for the system in the future. This was the downfall of the Wii U.
The Nintendo E3 strategy from the past will not work going forward. While Mario and Zelda are the two important IP’s, Kirby, Samus, and Yoshi fill the gap until the other two can cycle back. The addition of new IP like Splatoon and ARMS strengthens that resolve.
Nintendo E3 Strategy Moving Forward
Expect earlier announcements to be the new norm from Nintendo. Until third-party support increases, Nintendo IP’s will carry the system. In fact, the Switch will not live on ports. It is not the most robust console. Third-parties will only be successful if they can utilize the uniqueness of the Switch.
I would love to hear what you think of the Nintendo E3 strategy. Does it make sense to you? Would you rather them keep to the idea of only showing games we will be playing in the next year? Let me know in the comments.