E3 has always been a way for game developers, hardware and software, to come together in one place and show the public what they have been working on and provide a road map of where they are going in the coming year. This year’s E3 will be missing a major contributor to the gaming world, Nintendo.
During Nintendo’s financial results briefing, President Satoru Iwata announced that the company would not hold a press conference at this year’s E3. This does not mean that Nintendo will not have a presence at E3, rather, a shift on how that information is disseminated. Mr. Iwata explained the motivation of this change: “At previous financial briefing sessions we announced information about our products, showed videos and even uploaded the recording of these events onto our website, but given that we now have an established method such as Nintendo Direct, we feel that we will be able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people. At E3 this year, we are not planning to launch new hardware, and our main activity at E3 will be to announce and have people experience our software.”
Mr. Iwata went on to explain how this E3 would be different: “We will use E3 as an ideal opportunity to talk in detail mainly about the Wii U titles that we are going to launch this year, and we also plan to make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately. As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3.”
Nintendo is obviously changing its strategy after having a weak 2012 fiscal year to report, in which the company only managed to generate half of its initial projected income. According to Gamasutra, the biggest turn in profits for Nintendo was in its digital revenue, which was up 109 percent from the previous year, but the Wii U struggled to reach the projected 4 million units sold, missing the mark by 650,000 units. The hand held market sales were strong as well, with 2.35 million DS units sold, the 3DS sold 13.95 million units, Pokemon Black & White 2 selling 7.81 million copies worldwide between them, and Super Mario Bros. 2, which was released last August, sold 6.42 million copies.
The numbers show that even though Nintendo didn’t make as much as it hoped, it still did well, but that isn’t what investors look at. They will see that Nintendo took a big gamble with the Wii U and it failed to live up to the expectations it projected, thus this prompted a change in strategy at E3. Nintendo is trying to reach its customers on a more personal level. I don’t have a problem with this, but what Nintendo really needs to do is make me see the benefit of buying a Wii U, where right now, there is little to no incentive to do so.
I personally think the Wii U can become relevant, but right now, Nintendo is feeling the heat with the PS4 and next Xbox due to come out this year. The game isn’t over for Nintendo and I know many thought the game was up with the Game Cube, but Nintendo came back swinging and delivered a K.O. with the Wii. The only questions left in my mind is how can Nintendo make the Wii U important and how soon?