Nintendo’s approach to E3 was different this year, foregoing the usual E3 Direct in favour of only focussing on Treehouse Live. It was an interesting move, and to be honest it did take a little of the excitement away from Nintendo’s presence at the video game extravaganza. In recent years, Nintendo would have an E3 Direct followed directly by Treehouse Live segments for most of the games they announced. This allowed them time to showcase more of the games people were excited by.
This year, Nintendo decided to shift almost their entire focus onto The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They showed hours of the game, going into great detail about it. It looks fantastic – spectacular – and it stole the entire show for many people. Personally, I didn’t watch a huge amount of the Treehouse Live segments for any game Nintendo showed. I find watching just plain gameplay a tad boring, despite how good the game may ultimately be. I would’ve liked an E3 Direct, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
I would’ve liked Nintendo to open up about the NX too. Nintendo took the decision to not show the NX at E3 this year, a move that confused many. Why wouldn’t they show their brand new console at gaming’s biggest event? I think there are a few reasons why Nintendo decided against showing the new console, but the most pertinent was to allow their games room to breathe.
By not showing the NX, Nintendo let Breath of the Wild and the rest of their games do the talking. Pokémon Sun and Moon, Pokémon Go, Paper Mario: Colour Splash, brand new IP Ever Oasis and Monster Hunter Generations just to name a few. A formal announcement of the NX would have taken emphasis away from the games. After two years of waiting, we needed to spend some good time with Breath of the Wild. We would not have seen or learnt as much about Breath of the Wild as we did if the NX were on display.
Nintendo was right to focus almost entirely on Breath of the Wild. The proof is in how popular the reveal was. It was the most talked about game at E3 across social media, and websites such as IGN awarded Best in Show awards. There’s no reason why Nintendo couldn’t have shown off Breath of the Wild and the NX at the same time, however. If they played their cards right, they could’ve completely smashed the competition, despite the NX taking time away from the games. It wouldn’t have been the games people were talking about if that were the case though. The last thing Nintendo wants is for people to stop talking about their games.
By not showing the NX, however, Nintendo still need to address the elephant in the room. They are still under a constant barrage of questions about the console from pretty much every source you can think of. There is still a huge amount of mystery surrounding the NX, so of course websites, fans and even developers want to know more about the upcoming console. Nintendo is keeping us in the dark for a reason though. They are building up a lot of intrigue around the console, without ever really saying anything about it. It’s clever marketing. By keeping everyone in the dark, people’s imaginations are running wild.
Everyone has their own idea about what they want from the NX. You’ve all read opinion pieces about the console. Heck, you’re reading one about it right now. People are spending ages discussing a console they know nothing about. The NX has caught the public’s imagination and the longer Nintendo keep us in the dark about it, the better for them. What Nintendo doesn’t want, however, is to keep us in the dark for too much longer. Yes, it is a good idea for them to allow our imaginations to run wild, but it sets a dangerous precedent.
Rumours develop over time, and a lot of people believe them, or at least use them to fuel discussions. People latch onto rumours, and get angry when they don’t turn out to be true. The longer we hear nothing about the NX, the more likely it is that we will see a rumour that a lot of people will be annoyed about if it doesn’t turn out to be true. This is why a formal announcement, hopefully in a Direct, isn’t too far off. I’d wager Nintendo are going to show the NX sometime between September-October. This would allow for just a bit more speculation and hype building from the fans, and for some more cryptic teasing from Nintendo.
I think Nintendo were right not to show the NX at E3, as it allowed their games (particularly Breath of the Wild) room to breathe. People are hyped on Zelda, and they will be for a good few months. In the long run it should help to generate sales for Zelda and maybe even the Wii U. People might have decided to go out and finally buy a Wii U for Breath of the Wild. Not showing the NX at E3 certainly didn’t harm the hype around the mysterious console, and it has allowed a little more time for fans to build up their own hype. I don’t think we’re too far off from a formal announcement anyway.
Toby Saunders is sometimes opinionated. You’ll find him posting garbage about games, films and his beloved Spurs and Bath City FC on Twitter.