As we have come to expect from Nintendo, their E3 presentation focused largely on first-party titles and franchises. While a number of the announced games for the Wii U were previously announced, the 3DS got all of the big surprises and reveals. Nintendo’s handheld got some new entries in a number of Nintendo’s legendary franchises including The Legend of Zeldo, Mario, Metroid and Animal Crossing. While Nintendo might have been lacking the overall punch on console that Sony and Microsoft had, fans should still be happy with what they saw.
Poor Nintendo. They were the biggest name in gaming through the Nintendo 64 but just lost traction along the way. Sure, the Wii was a sales success but they lost third-party support along the way and that hasn’t changed with the underpowered Wii U. That being said, Nintendo was probably the top first-party developer and publisher last year and this year’s E3 presentation hopes to help them retain the title.
For the second straight year, Nintendo forewent the big press event and instead kicked off the first official day of E3 with a special Nintendo Direct video conference. While it might scream of a company bleeding cash, it may not have been a bad idea this year. With neither Sony nor Microsoft setting the world on fire with their media briefings, the door was open for the white brand to make a big impression.
Not only did they have a big opportunity, they took it and got people excited about Nintendo for the first time in a few years.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV last week, Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment, Don Mattrick, said that the Xbox One was over-delivering on value. In fact, the Xbox boss went so far as to say, “We’re delivering thousands of dollars of value to people.”
The problem is that no one apart from Mattrick, Microsoft employees and the staunchest of Xbox loyalists believe this to be the case. When you look at the dollars and cents of the next generation of consoles, it’s pretty obvious that the Xbox isn’t actually over-delivering and definitely not thousands of dollars worth of over-delivery.
Coming into E3, many people were considering a move to the Wii U as it was the only console that was confirmed to not be actively battling its consumer’s rights. Then Sony came out on Monday night and destroyed everything that the Xbox One stood for.
Nintendo has a lot to gain at E3 this year despite not being there. That relied on Sony falling flat on its face. They were very prepared for that with a line-up of the expected first-party franchises and a third-party sizzle reel. The problem was that they were missing the big guns that were needed to pit them strongly against the PlayStation 4.
Nintendo has always had this reputation as a friendly sort of company. Their big anchor franchises aren’t M-rated shooters but family-friendly adventure and platformer games that appeal to all ages. Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime’s public appearances show him as a charismatic and knowledgeable leader of the video game industry. They’re the little underdog up against the power of conglomerates like Sony and Microsoft.
Yet, Nintendo has been on the back foot lately. The terrible results of the Wii U launch has put Nintendo on the back foot and now they’re trying anything to reverse course. Unfortunately, their latest move has struck a nerve with gamers online. Nintendo is targeting “let’s play” videos on YouTube and making copyright claims so they can scoop the ad revenue from the videos.
One console has a sharing feature that nobody wanted and unveiled with a slightly underwhelming line-up. Another console is strongly rumoured to mandate a permanent connection to the internet to play games and is likely to prevent playing used games. The third console is so underpowered that some third-party publishers have abandoned it less than six months after release.
For as excited as everybody was about this generations console wars, it sure seems to be shaping up to be a race to the bottom and a case of not survival of the fittest but survival of the least weak.