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Why I Think Nintendo Direct is Great

| Categories: 3DS, Culture, Gaming, Tech, Wii U | No Comments »

People don’t seem to talk about Nintendo Direct all that much. Sure, there are recaps, and some people love to speculate about what they’re going to reveal, but nobody ever seems to talk about the actual events, which isn’t at all fair toward what Nintendo seems to be trying to do: revolutionize the way that game announcements are made. And, if Nintendo’s decision to forgo a major E3 presentation is any indication, they may feel that they’re on to something.

I seem to read articles each year about why E3 is doomed, and why each year will always be its last, yet every year there is another, and another, and another. Nobody is doing anything to change the way that we learn about exciting new games; everyone supposedly wants it, yet nobody seems to want to be the harbinger of such a change.

The way I see it, this is a change that has been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to see more companies get on board with this type of advertising.

What Has Needed to Change

For a long time, there has been the spectacle known as E3. Quite possibly the biggest event in gaming each year, eagerly anticipated by millions of gamers and the lucky few that get to attend, it’s known as the time and place for big announcements, huge reveals, and hands-on time with hotly anticipated titles, often exclusively there.

It is big. It is grand. And it is bloated.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that E3 needs to disappear completely, to never be seen in some form again. However, it has become too bloated; people seem to look forward to E3 as the one and only acceptable time to reveal something huge that’s been in the works, which can sometimes be a problem.

Huge games have to compete with each other for prominence in a crowded, noisy, and somewhat inhospitable environment for journalists’ attention. Time is limited, lines are long, and some demos may not be entirely accurate of the final product. And smaller, independent, or niche titles? Forget about it.

How Nintendo is Changing the Game (Or at Least Continuing to do Their Own Thing)

Enter Nintendo Direct.

Rather than take apart everything that’s been revealed, just look at what they’re doing with this:

  • It’s a relatively quiet, controlled environment to reveal new products; there’s no competition for your attention. In this environment, there have been some fairly high-profile reveals, normally reserved the the above-mentioned spectacle.
  • It’s a much lower cost, lower risk method of revealing new products. Sure, there isn’t the direct feedback from a live audience, but the internet is a vocal place, enough to provide what they want to hear.
  • It runs on Nintendo’s schedule. Want to reveal a game? Why wait! Want to make a demo or trailer available as soon as the game is revealed? I would imagine that it’s a lot easier to coordinate things when you’re pulling all the strings, not going by someone else’s schedule.
  • Most importantly, it potentially reaches a much wider audience. Let’s face it, if you’re reading this, if you follow along with E3 news, if you read video game websites/blogs/magazines in general, then you’re in a minority. However, the Nintendo Direct is streamed both during and after to each 3DS and each Wii U, at the consumer’s demand. In other words, people that may not normally read about the latest and greatest upcoming games could be enticed to watch a short video reveal if it’s given right to them, available on their schedule.

Room For Improvement

Now, that’s not to say that this is the ultimate method of delivery, there’s still room for growth and improvement.

  • Making more demos for the new products would be a great start, not just a trailer for a new game. The biggest advantage a physical presentation like E3 has is that journalists can actually play some form of the game, and then tell other people their impressions. If they coordinated their efforts to not just tell people about their game but even play it, even in a relatively early stage… Just imagine the possibilities. *cough (unknown) Wii U Zelda cough* Considering the time and effort these can cost, however, I wouldn’t get your hopes up, no matter how great it could be.
  • The Nintendo Direct videos are available to stream on 3DS and Wii U systems, but they don’t make a big deal about them. Even if there was just a little system notification, that would help raise awareness. Remember: their goal should be as close to 100% viewership as possible. Maybe there is a notification and I’m just not remembering, but it should happen. This would involve a balancing act, however, since it would be detrimental to come across as too obtrusive and annoying.
  • Allow, encourage, and even produce 3rd party developers hosting their own “Direct” videos, highlighting more upcoming games that aren’t from the Big N. Shin Megami Tensei IV was a great start, let’s see more of this, OK? People need to know that Nintendo games aren’t the only ones available for Nintendo systems; the more games people are aware of, the more they’ll likely buy, and… Need I go on?
  • However, and this is a relatively major flaw: How will people without the systems yet get such personal reveals and details? Aside from the existing (and, may I emphasize, relatively niche) websites and magazines, there really isn’t. Still, this isn’t as dire as I may make it out to be, since these aren’t going to go away, and if anything the information they receive will only be bolstered by such efforts. Not to mention word of mouth from friends, family, and random passers-by in the stores, making recommendations on the fly. Admit it, you’ve probably done that yourself.

Of course, this would apply toward Sony and Microsoft, too. Anything to get information into the hands of people is a good thing, so long as it’s handled effectively.

So, what do you think? Sound off below!