There’s a lot to be said about the latest live streamed video outlining all the new goodies coming from Nintendo. A few pleasant surprises included Mario Maker on the 3DS, as well as Pikmin. However, there was one elephant in the room that was practically defecating on Reggie Fils-Aime’s desk, the Nintendo NX. Be that as it may, there was some smiles to be had for these smaller releases as well. A few indies were mentioned like the phenomenal Axiom Verge, which launched on Wii U today. Many of the games were marketed with fall or winter release dates, meaning much of the footage being shown off are things players can get their hands on soon. Even with this, the September Nintendo Direct left me feeling like there were a lot of lost opportunities.
As of September, there are seven months for Nintendo to market their new game console, the NX. Of which no one has any hard evidence of. All developers have been sworn to secrecy, journalism outposts like Game Informer and Kotaku lack any concrete information, and all consumers can do is speculate rumor after rumor. While this may seem to increase excitement, covering the project in mystique for a big reveal to shock and wow audiences worldwide, what is actually happening is the potential spreading of false information. When consumers’ expectation of a product comes from false information, it makes it that much harder to market the product. As much as I love the Wii U for what it is, there is a lot riding on the success of the NX. Could Nintendo really survive two failed consoles, even with revenue still coming strong from handheld software and new mobile games?
The golden hope with today’s presentation was the possibility of the air being cleared on the NX. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, meaning gamers will have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to hear the news from the source. This seems strange considering many consider the downfall of the Wii U was its marketing. Think about the six month period or so before the launch of the original Wii. Ads were all over television, bringing catchy phrases and off-putting, well-dressed Japanese men. It was a campaign that was unforgettable to those who saw it, staying at the familiarity of Nintendo fun with the strangeness of Japanese culture and media. With the Wii U, I can’t recall hardly any ads, other than what I knew from events like E3 or magazine coverage.
I do understand a simple ideal in business, follow the money. If something is making money, do all you can to ensure it continues to make even more. Case and point, the Nintendo 3DS, a defiant console in an age where market analysts will try to convince consumers that handheld consoles will fail in lieu of games on smart phones. The 3DS is probably one of my favorite consoles of all time, just for the amount of great games on it. If today’s Direct was any indication, that isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. That may be Nintendo preparing for the holidays, as Sony and Microsoft saw a decrease in console sales after announcing Project Scorpio and Playstation Neo. Yet, Nintendo’s mystery console is on the mind of many players, especially after a couple more games have been announced to be coming to the system.
If Nintendo wants the NX to succeed, they’re going to have to reveal something if they want to meet their March 2017 release. Time is ticking for Nintendo and with Zelda: Breath of the Wilds being a potential launch title there is ample opportunity for Nintendo to retake the console throne, something they haven’t really done since the NES.