Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
HomeFeatures GR Showdown: Is It Wise For Nintendo To Downsize Its E3 2013 Presser?
GR Showdown: Is It Wise For Nintendo To Downsize Its E3 2013 Presser?
Posted on Friday, May 3 @ 17:00:00 PST by GR_Staff
GR Showdown pits the GameRevolution staff against each other in a passionate debate on a particular hot-button gaming topic. Our self-imposed rules? There is no middle ground—all must take a side. All debates will have an equal number of representative on both sides: either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 . And all our arguments must be made in 350 words or fewer; 500 or fewer, if it's 1-on-1. Which side are YOU on?
This Week: Is It Wise For Nintendo To Downsize Its E3 2013 Presser?
Alex Osborn - YES: Nintendo is not having a full-blown press conference this year at E3, and many gamers (including myself) are upset. I love big events full of flashing lights, booming speakers, and exciting reveals, but it's not about me or what I want; it's about what is best for Nintendo.
Let's take a look back on the past few years of Nintendo E3 pressers. Last year was abysmal, the year before wasn't much better, and thinking back on the years full of Vitality Sensor and Wii Music nonsense only serves to remind me that Nintendo hasn't had a killer E3 media briefing in quite some time. Why bother gearing up for another one that will almost certainly be overshadowed by the next-gen heavy pressers of both Microsoft and Sony?
It requires a whole lot of money and time to put together a presentation of that magnitude, and honestly, is the hour or two of time in the spotlight really worth the cost? I say no, especially when considering the fact that the company has created a suitable and more efficient alternative: Nintendo Direct.
Let's face it, Nintendo's messaging has been spotty (at best) with the general consumer, and something tells me a large-scale E3 presser will only add to the chaos and confusion. The simple, focused Nintendo Directs give the company the opportunity to deliver their content on their terms in a way that is straightforward and to the point. Sure, these smaller briefings don't capture the same massive audience as something like an E3 presser, but hey, you've got to start somewhere, and Nintendo has never been one to go with the crowd. If anything, their withdrawal from the lineup of E3 pressers has been long overdue. Nintendo has made it clear they're not looking to compete with Microsoft or Sony, so this is simply a natural progression forward for the company.
That, however, doesn't mean I wouldn't love to have a reason to watch Miyamoto swing a massive sword and shield on stage. But again, it's not about what I want; it's about what is best for the Big N.
Nick Tan - NO: E3 is the biggest stage for the video game industry in the world. Nintendo withdrawing due to the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles sends the message that the company lacks confidence, even just to participate in the conversation. The ability of Nintendo Direct to reach new consumers, which the Wii U desperately needs, is overrated. Though Nintendo will have a presence at E3 in the form of a booth and an E3 meeting with "business partners," the absence of a full E3 presser is a de facto no-show or, at best, a half-show.
And let's remind ourselves that Nintendo has already positioned the Wii U as the secondary must-have console between the technical powerhouses from Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo should know that all it needs to do is dominate the handheld market and show off several first-party titles for its console to keep its fans and the video game industry engaged.
So why not reiterate this message during this year's E3? It's a wasted opportunity. Really, there's no better time than this. While Microsoft and Sony are preoccupied fighting against each other with hardware specs and launch titles, Nintendo can sneak in like a ninja, say its piece, and drop the mic.
All the company needs to do at the E3 2013 presser is for Iwata-san and Reggie Fils-Aime to walk out and highlight the 3DS titles they've already announced, like Animal Crossing: New Leaf and "Link to the Past 2", several new features slated for Wii U, and at least two first-party titles for the Wii U. Perhaps a Mario, a Zelda, a Metroid, a Star Fox, whatever. As long as they don't finish their presentation with something like Nintendoland (like they did at last year's E3), we're all good.
Better yet, the announcement of even a $25 price drop (or just stating its current price again) would remind consumers of the Wii U's value against the new consoles, which will likely be at least $499+ during launch. Why not send that message at E3 in the loudest way possible?
Daniel Bischoff - YES: While my initial gut reaction was more aligned with Nick's response above, I have to agree with Alex's assessment of Nintendo's direct marketing ability. No other company can pull stuff like this off because they don't have the stock of recognizable characters, they're not the family-friendly brand, and they don't have the dedicated users that will always be behind Nintendo.
The company's past 10 years have been rocky, coming off dead last place with the GameCube. Nintendo decided to shake things up and look at where it's taken them. The handheld business is rock-solid and sure the Wii U is faltering, but it only takes one important Nintendo franchise to get the fanboys on board.
And who knows when they'll reveal that game. Maybe it came during the company's 3DS Nintendo Direct a few weeks ago, or maybe it'll be at the E3 conference itself. Maybe, like last year, Nintendo will wait just a few weeks after E3 and announce a huge new addition to their lineup, like they did with the 3DS XL.
I think Nintendo should stay the course, which is to say I think they should continue pushing into uncharted waters, just so their competitors are kept guessing. You never know what Miyamoto or any number of the fantastic developers Nintendo has in their stable will do next. Maybe Retro will be developing the next Zelda and maybe the new 3D Mario will be on store shelves this holiday season. Nintendo continues to appeal to my inner gamer-child with interesting, non-threatening, entertaining titles.
Sure, canceling their E3 press conference might seem a little weak, but it means nothing stacked against the decades of experience Nintendo has in the video game industry. They've had incredible highs and dark lows, but there will always be a new Mario game and that means the publisher can still shine at E3.
Anthony Severino - NO: There’s something powerful about having the final word. You have time to collect your thoughts, make adjustments in response to those who go before you, so you’re better prepared to make a lasting impression. Nintendo’s usual Tuesday morning press conference timeslot always afforded them the luxury of getting the last say. And in this year’s E3 discussion, Nintendo more than anyone else needs to make a lasting impression.
Excitement and hype are unavoidable and undeniable when new consoles are revealed. Microsoft and Sony both have that edge this year over Nintendo, whose own new-ish console isn’t performing as strongly as Nintendo or its fans would like. It’s easy to think that all eyes are on Sony and MS, but just as many were watching Nintendo to see how they’d counter these megaton press conferences from their stiffest competition yet.
And instead, they’ve conceded. They’ve given up. They’ve lost without putting up any sort of a fight. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go down swinging than just roll over and die. No matter what their reasoning is—which is probably quite valid—they’re giving the impression that they just don’t have enough to compete, so bowing out completely was their only option.
The 3DS is doing just fine, and it's really hitting its stride. A few new games announced during a Nintendo Direct is all that the handheld will need to keep up momentum. But you can’t at all say the same about the Wii U. It just doesn’t have the same appeal to the mainstream as the Wii before it, so Nintendo should have taken the opportunity to do all they could during E3 so that every consumer far and wide knew about what the Wii U has on the horizon.
Don’t forget, you more hardcore gamers reading this right now, you likely have already made up your minds. You visit sites like this for your information and base your purchases on recommendations and research. But the average consumer doesn’t read gaming sites. They read newspapers, watch the 10-o’clock news, or flip through a Maxim here or there. E3 doesn’t just break news for us; it’s an annual event that the entire world takes note of. Missing out on that sort of worldwide media exposure for the Wii U is Nintendo’s biggest mistake yet.