Nintendo Avoiding E3 – Dooooom! or Good Business Sense?

Well I’m back from hiatus, internet with nary a break in between the finishing of work and the restart of my posts. Nintendo is currently the main focus of the gaming community’s doom and gloom division, as the Vita was before it, the 3DS was before that, the PS3 before that, the 360 before that, and so forth. To put it briefly, the Wii U is dooooooomed! On a more realistic note: no it isn’t, not even close. This week, the doomsayers got an extra present in their Christmas stockings when they found out that Nintendo would not make any large-scale presentation at E3 this year, opting instead for smaller scale presentations and a series of Nintendo Direct events. E3 is the largest, most publicized gaming event of the whole year, so, naturally, people have assumed that Nintendo bowing out of E3 is tantamount to them bowing out of the game industry as a whole. This news comes as a shock to most people who were expecting this E3 to be the biggest in many years, with two new consoles being hyped and a series of excellent games that Nintendo has been announcing through their Nintendo Direct. If I haven’t already completely tipped my hand (which I have), today, I want to look at whether Nintendo’s decision to forgo E3 is actually a sign of the company’s impending destruction or if the decision makes perfect sense if you get over your knee-jerk reaction. 

Firstly, what can we expect from this years E3? Sony has already revealed its next gen hardware, and Microsoft is set to do the same on May 21st, meaning that there will be two new systems being showcased at the convention. Many have interpreted Nintendo’s actions as being those of a coward, afraid to tangle with the big boys. However, it seems more apt that Nintendo doesn’t want to get completely overshadowed by the other two. Even with amazing games being showcased like Monolith Soft’s X or Bayonetta 2, Nintendo has no chance of beating the sheer excitement that is generated by two new consoles. As such, many of its announcements could easily be ignored or swept under the rug by gaming journalists who are more keen on seeing the fireworks show than to examine the wares over at the Mario factory. Cowardice can play a role in the decision, but sometimes cowardice is the smart move. When you know you’re going to be overshadowed no matter what kind of major production you put on, why even bother putting on the production?
Never forget.
I want to clarify, when I say Nintendo is going to get overshadowed by the other two major companies, I don’t mean to say that Nintendo has nothing good to offer in comparison. Personally, with all of the games having been announced, I was very interested in seeing what Nintendo would do this year. What I’m talking about is the fact that no matter what Nintendo announces or shows, the world’s eyes aren’t on them. The world will be looking squarely at Microsoft and Sony, evaluating them side-by-side in order to try to size up what next gen is going to be like. No announcement from Nintendo is going to change that, so opting out of a large-scale presentation makes sense. If it were Sony who was backing out, I would call them crazy, because they have so much to prove and are in direct competition with Microsoft, but Nintendo has none of this, so I don’t think I would hold them to the same standard.
Why look at Bayonetta 2, when you can lovingly gaze at the mighty Dualshock 4?
Since last year’s E3, something fairly major has happened at Nintendo. What I’m talking about is Nintendo Direct, where we, as gamers, have been privy to incredibly exciting announcements directly from Nintendo. These have become like mini-E3s and we’ve been getting them rather consistently all year. Not only is this a far more cost effective way of making major announcements than throwing on the full regalia for E3, but it also allows for a more consistent announcement schedule. On top of that, every Nintendo Direct gets a ton of publicity on professional gaming sites due to the general size of the announcements. Truthfully, I’m still reeling from Fire Emblem x SMT and Link to the Past 2. I don’t know how Nintendo would really be benefited from spending a huge amount of money to put on a stage show when this method of announcement has proven so effective. It lets Nintendo deal with the customer on Nintendo’s terms, and has been an effective way of building hype; although, none of the amazing announced games has even put a chink in the doomsayers’ armour. 
Seriously, I’ve seen people downplay this announcement, and Bayonetta 2, and X, and Fire Emblem x SMT, and the rest. People just want to hate Nintendo right now for some reason.
One of the biggest and best arguments that Nintendo is shooting themselves in the foot by not appearing at E3 is that E3, being the biggest gaming convention in the world, is the place they need to show off their stuff in order to get people to buy their products. If they can’t generate hype through E3, they could be in serious trouble as it is the most mainstream event, and Nintendo desperately wants the mainstream audience. This is a good argument. Nintendo Direct is highly publicized, but not by mainstream journalists. Over the course of E3, journalists from all over the world, not just professional gaming sites, will be watching very closely. If Nintendo doesn’t get any coverage, then they could easily get lost in the rush. That being said, how many mainstream journalists are going to be covering Nintendo when two next gen consoles are going head to head? The answer is few if any. The problem with this argument is that Nintendo is unlikely to get enough coverage from this event in order to justify the rather huge cost to them. After all, they can accomplish all they want with a Nintendo Direct before or after the main conference, and not get lost in the shuffle. 
Accomplish things like bracing us all for an insanely good exclusive JRPG.
E3 is an old institution, but it isn’t without its flaws. E3 has gone from being over-commercialized to being barebones and boring and back. Many developers, journalists, and gamers question the actual importance of E3. With all of the flash and pizzaz, E3 is more of a carnival than an actual gaming convention, and it is so easy for minor developers to get completely lost in the shuffle, while bigger ones spend exorbitant amounts of money, often to little effect. If you recall Microsoft embarrassed themselves two years in a row by spending huge funds on getting Cirque du Soleil to preform for them, followed by Usher in the next year. When it comes down to it, these distractions captivate the eye, but do nothing to tell you about Kinect, or any other gaming-related matter. Do you know what does? Nintendo Direct. This isn’t me blindly praising Nintendo. This system is incredibly impressive, and I think the industry would be benefited from everyone adopting this model.
If the product you’re selling isn’t good, throw as much money at it as quickly as possible – The Microsoft way.
Nintendo is unlikely to suffer much if at all from its lack of presence at E3. After all, the only thing they aren’t doing is having a large-scale presentation. The games will still be there, and people will still have a chance to try them out and talk about them. However, this saves Nintendo a lot of money, and truthfully, Nintendo Direct has made this large-scale presentation completely redundant. Nintendo hasn’t been saving up announcements all year for this one event, they’ve been filling you in directly, which is a better business model. One major announcement doesn’t have the lasting power of five smaller ones spread out throughout the year. So yes, Nintendo isn’t doomed. In fact, they seem to know what they are doing for the first time in years. Try not to panic.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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