One of the three big console-makers, Nintendo, has announced that it won’t be hosting a major press conference at this year’s E3. This comes as quite a surprise since this would be the first time since 1995 – the first time in 18 years – that the company won’t be hosting a major event at E3. In the past, Nintendo has always used its press conferences to announce new games and consoles.
The announcement was made during an investor presentation by Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata. Instead of a major press conference at E3, Iwata has stated that the company plans to "host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software line-up for the US market" for this year's E3.
This doesn't mean that Nintendo won't be present at E3 at all. The company will still be showing off new games for the 3DS and the Wii U on the E3 show floor. But the lack of a major press event shows that the company is revaluating its marketing tactics.
No Nintendo press event at E3 this year
This move by Nintendo echoes a major shift in marketing tactics for many game developers. Bigger events like E3 seem to be losing favour. For example, even Sony announced its next-gen console – the PlayStation 4 – at a private event in February instead of waiting for E3. Microsoft plans to do the same come May 21.
The change may mostly be because events like E3 no longer seem to be the best way to get to the audience. In the past, before the Internet became as widespread as it is now, events like E3 were useful because it would lead to major cover stories in gaming magazines and such, but with the widespread accessibility of the Internet, companies find that it is generally easier to make announcements directly to fans and the press through online streaming.
On the other hand, this might also be a strategy used by Nintendo to not get lost in the flurry of major announcements that are bound to happen at E3 this year. Almost all of the gaming hype this year is surrounding Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox, and it would be difficult for a company like Nintendo, whose ‘next-gen’ console – the Wii U – hit shelves last year and has been facing disappointing sales.
This does mean that we won't get moments like Shigeru Miyamoto unveiling The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess while dressed up as the protagonist Link.
E3 will be starting on June 11 and ending on June 13.