- Fans are really happy about Nintendo’s E3 presentation, which lasted only 42 minutes but packed a punch.
- Other game companies could learn a thing or two from how Nintendo approaches E3, the biggest industry event of the year.
Nintendo delivered the goods at E3 2018 – and it pulled it off by keeping its presentation simple, and focusing on games that are actually arriving in the next six months.
– “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is the biggest Nintendo beat-em-up of them all, with every character from past games and tons of tweaks and new surprises. It’s coming December 7.
– “Super Mario Party” brings back the popular minigame series in a big way, with some really creative new ways to play with others. It supports up to four people (this is a party, after all), and it arrives October 5.
– Plenty of third-party support for this Nintendo console is a very good look. The games announced included “Fortnite” (available for free starting today) from Epic Games, “Octopath Traveler” from Square Enix, “Wolfenstein II” from Bethesda, “Dragon Ball FighterZ” from Bandai Namco, “Hollow Knight” from Team Cherry, and several others.
But aside from the individual announcements, Nintendo had a great E3 presentation because it played to its strengths – something other game companies could focus on for future events.
A video presentation gives Nintendo the ultimate control
Nintendo doesn’t approach E3 like other companies.
Over the past several days, we’ve seen Microsoft, Sony, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and others present their new games at E3 by having live events, complete with executives introducing new titles on a physical stage, with a live audience to react to them.
Nintendo, on the other hand, doesn’t hold live press conferences at E3.
Instead, it films pre-recorded videos and puts them online at a given time, which it appropriately calls “Nintendo Direct.” Nintendo holds several of these “Direct” video announcements throughout the year, but E3 is where Nintendo focuses on the games coming out over the next year.
By filming its presentation ahead of time, Nintendo can control the overall flow of the show, from start to finish, by using clever editing, music, and more. Yes, there is a certain charm to live events, but as Nintendo has shown, the only thing that really matters in the end is whether or not people were impressed with what they saw. So whether it’s live or pre-recorded, presentation matters – and Nintendo certainly benefitted (and avoided some embarrassing hot mic situations) by having more control.
Nintendo knows where its bread is buttered
Nintendo didn’t talk about many games during its live stream, but it did focus on a handful of games almost exclusively.
Nintendo’s video presentation for E3 2018 was 42 minutes long. Of that total time, Nintendo spent over half of it (24 minutes) talking about “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.”
Nintendo clearly knows where its bread is buttered: “Super Smash Bros.” is one of the company’s most popular game franchises, so it went into heavy detail on all the changes. Casual fans got a chance to learn more about the intricacies of the game, but it was really directed at the series’ longtime, hardcore fan base. Nintendo’s decision to support GameCube controllers, for instance, which pro players insist on using when they play “Super Smash Bros.” in competitive tournaments, is a nod to that.
Nintendo doesn’t have any other game like “Super Smash Bros.” To drive home the point using a direct comparison, the second-biggest game announcement during Nintendo’s E3 event was “Super Mario Party,” and that was given less than two minutes’ time. People don’t play “Mario Party” for a living, but they do with “Super Smash Bros.”
- Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
Rival game makers like Sony and Microsoft did unveil major exclusive games coming to their platforms this week – “The Last Of Us II” for PlayStation 4, and “Halo Infinite” for Xbox One – but those games only got several minutes of airtime each, with no major details about either game revealed.
Nintendo knows people want games sooner rather than later
As is often the case with E3, most games introduced at this year’s expo are coming out next year or later.
Nintendo, on the other hand, spent most of its presentation talking about games coming out in the next six months.
“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” arrives in December. “Super Mario Party” arrives in October. “Mario Tennis Aces” arrives later this month. “Fortnite” and “Hollow Knight” arrive today.
In contrast, most of the bigger games coming to rival consoles have vague release dates. We don’t know when “Halo Infinite” is coming to Xbox One. “The Last Of Us II” looks fantastic, but we still don’t have a date – it’s probably sometime in 2019 though. And who knows when “The Elder Scrolls VI” or “Death Stranding” are coming?
Nintendo gave fans a tangible reason to get excited: You can actually count the number of days until its games are out.
Read more of BI’s coverage from E3, the largest game conference of the year: