The last time that Nintendo held a show case at E3 was 2012, the same year that games like Watchdogs and Gears of War:Judgement were headlining the game reveals. Since this time, Nintendo has built a strategy in direct communication with their hardcore audience via Nintendo Direct: prerecorded video pieces outlining everything “Nintendo”. This year will be no different, as they have made it clear that the only presence they will physically have in the hall is their E3 booth promoting one game only: The Legend of Zelda. Really at this point, that is the only game of theirs (announced) that matters.
While many view this as Nintendo recognizing that they cannot compete with the high level of game announcements from rivaling platforms or just a closer look at their lack of 3rd party support, I think it is much more strategic than that. 2016 is going to be the year where you will be hard pressed to go more than 3 minutes without hearing the term “VR” or the highly anticipated PSNeo or Xbox 1.5. My question to the individual ready to condemn Nintendo is this: would you really want Nintendo to announce a new platform around all that noise?
It’s no secret that the WiiU was a massive flop, and Nintendo recognizes that. They would be crazy to try and introduce a new platform after the past missteps among two rivaling giants who together have somewhere around 60+ million units sold, especially when they have plans to iterate on top of that. Nintendo understands where the market is at, and this is why they are smart to pull back and keep their leading pony up front: The Legend of Zelda. Very few games have the same brand power that could hold its own against titles like Call of Duty or Battlefield, and most of those other games reside in the same stable as Zelda.
If I was the man behind the curtain making all of the marketing strategies at Nintendo, I would continue the path they are on. Double down on the Zelda name, and build hype around the new platform they will reveal later this year at their own event. I would announce no more than 7-10 key titles for launch window, with promise of 3rd party support. Finally, E3 2017 I would steal the spotlight of the show with an announcement as the “Year Nintendo Comes Back to E3”.
Never forget how smart Nintendo is. While I will be the first to say that I don’t think they will ever have the market dominance that they once had, there will always be a need for their product. While the skeptics will throw stones and say “Nintendo is dead”, I would remind you that they are as smart as a fox, and it’s only a matter of time till they remind us why.
What do you think? How would you handle the E3 situation, or would you ever go back? Let us know in the comments below.