Nintendo’s E3 presentations over the past couple of years have not been the strongest. Not to say that their past E3 presentations were bad but just simply adequate. In 2012, Nintendo was really trying hard to push the Wii U prior to its release which was coming later that year. E3 2012 would also be the last year that Nintendo would have a live presentation, or so we thought. In 2013, Nintendo passed on the traditional E3 press event we have grown to love for years for something a little more unorthodox. In 2013, Nintendo treated fans and press to a Nintendo Direct presentation, rather than a live event, and then shortly afterwards gave the media a more toned down private presentation right in their own booth on the E3 show floor. Many were not pleased with this change in presentation style and were hoping Nintendo would go back to a live presentation. Not only did Nintendo decide not to revert back to the norm, they took their strategy from last year and changed it once again.
E3 2014 has come and gone. It was quite a whirlwind this year and especially so for fans of Nintendo. This year Nintendo provided another dose of pre-recorded video for their initial presentation, followed by live coverage from the E3 show floor, and to top it all of hosted the first official Super Smash Bros. Tournament live at the Nokia Theatre. Nintendo’s first E3 presentation on opening day of the Expo, which they dubbed the Digital Event, lasted a little over 45 minutes and was packed full of announcements for eager Nintendo fans everywhere! There was amiibo, more Smash Bros., Yoshi’s Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Zelda for Wii U, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby, more Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker, Splatoon, Project Giant Robot, Project Guard, a new Star Fox and more! Yes, a couple of the announcements were spoiled. There was the Mario Maker rumor that appeared days before E3 but there was also the massively surprising Star Fox leak a couple of hours before Nintendo’s Digital Event. But even with the rumors and leaks Nintendo’s presentation was pretty great just based on their announcements alone and they wouldn’t stop there.
Nintendo announced that the Nintendo Treehouse staff would be on location at E3 back in April of this year. Nintendo stated that this live presence would be “streamed during all hours of the E3 show.” At the time nobody was quite sure what this would amount to but it turned out to be a fantastic idea on Nintendo’s part. This live Treehouse stream at E3 gave various game developers, Nintendo executives, and other Nintendo staff the chance to showcase all that Nintendo had just announced at their Digital Event and much more. The Nintendo Treehouse stream ran for several hours during each day of E3 and was a fantastic way to show off everything Nintendo. The best part was that Nintendo did not just stick to their own games or even the most popular but gave indie game developers and other third-party devs the chance to have their game seen by thousands. It was great to see so many hours of these unreleased games, some already announced and others fresh off the press, but this is far from the main reasons behind why Nintendo ‘won’ E3.
I honestly detest how every year gamers and media alike have to dub a ‘winner’ of E3. Playstation players get their news, Xboxers get their news, and Nintendo fanboys have their own announcements, in my eyes as gamers we all win. Yes, some presentations are better than others and yes, not every year is the greatest for any one of these companies but isn’t that just business? But with that being said, I feel Nintendo dominated E3 this year. They gave fans what they wanted, such as a fantastic peek into games like Zelda Wii U. They showed off some interesting titles that nobody even expected, Splatoon for example. Nintendo even brought games so early in development that they are hardly more than a tech demo (Project Giant Robot/Project Guard) or even exist (Star Fox). But even above and beyond the games, they kept my eyes glued to my screen watching their games. Granted it is kind of my job to do so but during all three days of E3 this year it was hour upon hour of eye-ball melting Nintendo goodness. This also gave Nintendo a leg up over Microsoft and Sony by keeping the conversation on Nintendo and the games they were showing off live. This not only helped get the word out about the games but also the ‘underdog’ of this console generation, the Wii U. The Wii U is likely to benefit the most from all of the exposure it has received during the three-day event in LA and that is all thanks to Nintendo’s mantra of doing whatever the hell they want to do.
I was so bummed that I could not attend E3 this year. I received my registration (last year I flew to LA in hopes I could even get registered to attend), I couldn’t afford the plane ticket out to LA this year, and I was so intrigued by what Nintendo was up to with this new Digital Event and subsequent live coverage. It turns out that it didn’t really matter. The only thing I missed out on was actually getting the hands on time with the new games. Otherwise Nintendo provided the E3 experience for thousands of fans worldwide without even having to get out of bed. Congratulations to Nintendo for providing what seemed to me as the most impressive and innovative E3 showing of all time but again this is purely opinion. Let’s just hope that they can be just as impressive in coming years. Wow us Nintendo.