Nintendo to Skip E3 and Focus on Smaller Events
Just when you thought the signs couldn’t point towards any more doom and gloom for Nintendo, the console manufacturer announced that they wouldn’t be attending E3 this year. Instead of doing a keynote presentation at the gaming industry’s largest show, they will focus on smaller private events geared to specific markets.
In a presentation for investors, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata made the announcement that the company would skip E3 this year. Iwata cited the success of the monthly (or so) Nintendo Direct streaming video presentations and that Nintendo wasn’t launching any new hardware this year as reasons why Nintendo didn’t have to be at E3 this year.
What Nintendo will do is continue with its Nintendo Direct presentations using these to focus on the Japanese audience. For the North American audience, Nintendo plans to hold events for distributors and hands-on sessions for the gaming media.
The general consensus is that it makes sense for Nintendo to skip E3 because all of their announcements from Nintendo Direct get thoroughly covered by the gaming press and hands-on press events also get a fair bit of positive coverage too.
The difference between E3 and a Nintendo Direct or other small event is the scale of coverage. A hands-on event or Nintendo Direct will get a write-up on every gaming blog and website. A keynote at E3 gets covered everywhere, not just on gaming sites. It gets liveblogged, recapped and analysed to death. Hell, the big ones will even get shown live on Spike TV.
For a company that courts the casual audience, you would think that the mainstream coverage from E3 would be important for marketing. As I suggested with Nintendo’s failure of the Wii U’s launch line-up, maybe they’re confused as to the direction of the company. They aren’t targeting the hardcore gamer that typically reads the gaming blogs that cover these smaller events. They want the exposure to the casual gaming families who typically by Nintendo products. That’s something that will be in short supply without E3.
Here’s what Iwata had to say as translated by Kotaku:
In the past we invited reporters, investors and analysts, industry partners, such as software publishers, and distributors who attended E3 to our large-scale presentations. We also used them as a communication tool in which we broadcast our presentations on the Internet to reach out to video game fans around the globe.
I believe that many are expecting us to host a similar event this year. On the other hand, since we set out on new endeavors such as Nintendo Direct two years ago in October, we have been paying special attention to the fact that different people demand different types of information from us. For example, as video game fans are looking for information about games, it seems that they are less interested in sales figures that investors and analysts on the other hand attach much greater importance to, and distribution partners are looking for information on how we are going to market our products in the immediate future.
At previous financial briefing sessions we announced information about our products, showed videos and even uploaded the recording of these events onto our website, but given that we now have an established method such as Nintendo Direct, we feel that we will be able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people.
At E3 this year, we are not planning to launch new hardware, and our main activity at E3 will be to announce and have people experience our software. Many people are certainly very interested in learning more about the Wii U titles that we are going to announce. We will use E3 as an ideal opportunity to talk in detail mainly about the Wii U titles that we are going to launch this year, and we also plan to make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately. As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3.
First, we decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past. Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market.
There will be one closed event for American distributors, and we will hold another closed hands-on experience event, for mainly the Western gaming media. Also, I did not speak at last year’s presentation, and I am not planning to speak at these events at the E3 show this year either. Apart from these exclusive events for visitors, we are continuing to investigate ways to deliver information about our games directly to our home audience around the time of E3. We will share more information about them once they have officially been decided.
During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience, including those who are at this financial briefing, mainly focusing on the software that we are going to launch in Japan, and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well.
At least we know that we’ll have the latest on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 from Sony and Microsoft along with the latest from the big publishers.