News Article

Reaction: Nintendo Direct - Nintendo Joins the Modern Age

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Bringing the hype

Yesterday, on the same day that rival Sony launched PlayStation Vita in Europe and North America, Nintendo hosted three online broadcasts designed to reveal and publicise upcoming services and titles. It was the second time Nintendo Direct had taken place, though the timing and execution of this second run showed that the company was stepping it up in terms of marketing, communications and generally building hype.

One criticism levelled at Nintendo in recent years is that it has failed to truly grasp modern networking means of advertising. Nintendo has often, with some justification, relied on the quality of its brands and products to do a lot of the work, while rivals in the gaming industry have been more aggressive in grabbing attention through any means necessary.

We’re not suggesting that Nintendo hasn’t invested heavily in advertising: substantial television campaigns and hands-on events were held for the launch of 3DS, as an example. Conventional tactics of advertising in print publications and on websites have also been common, while the company isn’t shy of sending out regular press releases to websites to encourage internet exposure. Nintendo has always worked hard on advertising, and can boast of recent marketing success stories contributing to phenomenal sales of Wii and DS consoles.

Nintendo Direct, however, represents a welcome modernisation of the company’s efforts to raise awareness and excitement around its products. The timing of the latest broadcasts clashed directly — and intentionally — with Vita’s launch and the presentation by Satoru Iwata, then translated and updated for the European video, contained a well crafted range of details, reveals and teasers.

Nintendo Direct represents a welcome modernisation of the company’s efforts to raise awareness and excitement around its products.

Iwata’s presentation provided greater detail on Kid Icarus: Uprising, a release date and information for Mario Tennis Open, a juicy trailer for Fire Emblem: Kakusei and confirmation of a Europe release in 2012, and an announcement of a new Dr. Kawashima title coming to 3DS. That wasn’t even all of the news that came out on the day, but provides an indication of the fine balance between promoting upcoming titles and teasing others that are further away.

Reggie Fils-Aime once again presented his own broadcast for North America, though after the shiny-chinned appearance last time, this presentation was altogether slicker and more interesting to watch. Although not quite as content-heavy as Iwata’s message, and also a fair bit shorter, this version did focus on news of particular interest in the region: the blockbuster announcement was that The Last Story is on the way. This video also showed a couple of different areas of Nintendo of America’s HQ, with a teasing glimpse of Nintendo Treehouse, home to localisation teams.

Not only were all three Nintendo Direct broadcasts useful and attention-grabbing, but it was interesting to see how big an impact they had online, particular on Twitter. The social networking site was flooded with tweets reacting to every announcement as it came, with quite a few games journalists in particular being distracted from the shiny new handheld that had just hit stores. Nothing gets games writers’ juices flowing like release dates and teasers, so Nintendo Direct was getting plenty of coverage around the 'net.

On the subject of Twitter, this week also saw minor landmarks for Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo UK, both setting up new accounts on the site. It seems incredible to say that these regional sections of the company had no presence on such a major social networking platform until now, but it at least shows that both are willing to battle for gamer’s attentions as they tweet about their days. Not only that, but we saw the first signs of Nintendo making greater use of its own messaging service, with marketing messages due to be sent to 3DS owners through Nintendo Letter Box, or Swapnote as it’s known in North America. The broadcasts themselves were announced through this app, with gamers able to marvel at the slightly scruffy handwriting of Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime: a charming personal touch.

We certainly appreciated the appearance of Nintendo Direct here on Nintendo Life, with the news day having the feel of a mini-E3. There’s also the feeling here that Nintendo didn’t use all of its big announcements in one session, with upcoming 3DS releases such as Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Animal Crossing, not to mention the looming Wii U, totally absent. More Nintendo Direct is undoubtedly on the way, and we can’t wait.

Nintendo will no doubt continue to employ marketing through traditional means, such as TV, print and website advertisements, while we’d expect Wii U to have similar hands-on events to those that took 3DS on the road in 2011. It’s through internet buzz and hype, however, that Nintendo can take these efforts to another level. Whether writing or reading about video games, there’s an undeniable enjoyment in events like Nintendo Direct, serving as a perfect reminder to us all why we love gaming as much as we do.

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User Comments (34)



bezerker99 said:

Nintendo had strong marketing campaigns in the late 80's/early 90's (especially during the Sega/Nintendo console wars).

Recently, they invested much needed dollars in solid radio campaigns and television to market the 3DS. I know Nintendo was all over the radio during November and December (because I heard the spots over and over again). Very high sales of SM3DL and MK7 can be attributed, I believe (partially) to their successful marketing strategy!

With that said, Nintendo just 'mailed it in' and thought they could 'get by' during the early 2000's with just their brand's name being Nintendo. How'd that work out for ya, Ninty???



komicturtle said:

I was hoping for info on Animal Crossing. Guess the game is coming in September after all.



pikku said:

Gotta say, getting a hand-written note from Reggie himself was pretty darn cool.
...even if it was a little tough to read at first D:

Let's see Tretton top that >:3



metafaniel said:

Another great move Nintendo could do, it's consider more countries as standalone places needed to be focused on. What I mean it's OK they've got the North America headquarters BUT, there are OTHER countries, not just USA and Canada...

For example, is that really difficult to register our games/consoles with the code included in other locations?? The world it's quite bigger than just Japan, USA and Canada and there are many countries that we feel we're somewhat "apart" from the others...

In my case, this example it's Mexico, but there are many others that think this way in different countries around the globe where OK Nintendo software and hardware has presence, but not "Nintendo" by itself, there's that "apart" feeling in the air. Maybe some kind of promotion or special offers or official events or something in more countries will help. I'm sure this could help Nintendo have a greater presence and impact in their foreign market...



SkywardLink98 said:

They should have a Nintendo Direct every month! Having a monthly update from Nintendo would be nice, so we can stop relying on "Leaked" information and speculation that has some how become true. Wasn't it "Leaked" that the Wii U would make Wii games sharper and have Blu-Ray, but Nintendo denied it?



zezhyrule said:

"Let's see Tretton top that >:3"

Really? Reggie was off writing short notes that were sent out to every single 3DS owner, and you think that's special? Tretton does so much better just by living :3



SBOY said:

I didn't even get the Reggie swapnote... Any body from Canada get it ?



DarkKirby said:

Nintendo definitely spends MUCH MUCH MUCH less money advertising their products then any other major game developer. Heck there are Vita ads all over the place I live, buses, billboards, etc. When big name games come out on PS3 and 360 they are advertised on buses, billboards, and during prime time television shows. Nintendo seems to completely devote their advertisement money on "kid directed" places like Cartoon Network (not bashing Cartoon Network I watch it because I'm not one of those idiots who believe animation is "for kids only", but it is what it is). Gaming magazines and gaming websites are fine and all, but everyone else does those too. When Skyward Sword (a huge game that took Nintendo years to complete) and the 3DS (new system) was released I didn't see a single ad outside of gaming web sites, magazines, or other places devoted to games and gaming to begin with. How can Nintendo expect to pull new customers into their "hardcore" games if they don't advertise to people who don't already know it's coming and focus their advertising on kids and the gaming community alone?



C-Olimar said:

It seems that Nintendo have a button on their Nintendo Letter Box to send letters to every 3DS owner. Wouldn't mind getting my hands on that button... hehehe >



C-Olimar said:

It seems that Nintendo have a button on their Nintendo Letter Box to send letters to every 3DS owner. Wouldn't mind getting my hands on that button... hehehe >



DF2506 said:

@KoMiCtUrTlE. In September...IF WE'RE LUCKY! Crossing games usually come out about November, so...that seems more likely. SIGH

So unhappy with Nintendo at the moment. Yesterday's Nintendo Direct was awful. Especially Nintendo of America's which was only 11 mintues compared to the hours worth that Japan got. But overall, it was just a bust. Telling us, mostly, about games we already knew were coming & confirming the Mario Tennis rumor.

Every time there's a Nintendo Direct I keep thinking "Animal Crossing 3DS" and every time I'm disappointed. And its not just me. My entire family is waiting for it and all of my online Animal Crossing City Folk friends. Plus tons of other people. I think Nintendo just thinks people like Mario & Zelda and thats it! Sure, I like Mario & Zelda, but I'd like to some different games too! And Kid Icarus isn't going to cut it on the different range. Not everybody wants that type of gameplay.

If that conference yesterday was all about going up against Vita than Nintendo failed. Sony has nothing to worry about.



C-195 said:

I think Nintendo has got the right idea to strike while the iron's hot and lay as much pressure on the Vita as possible, they just need to focus more on the western market with their videos and announcements.



drumsandperc92 said:

while this was a lot of good 3DS info, i was kind of disappointed in this Nintendo Direct announcement.
They built it up, and because of that I watched it and found info that i normally wouldn't have gone looking for. That's good advertising.
But, I was really hoping for some Wii U info.
I don't know what I was expecting, they probably are not going to show any screen shots or system specs until E3. But Reggie teased us at CES saying that they were going to release bits of information about Wii U throughout the year!
So I thought this Nintendo Direct would have something about it, but not even mentioned :/



grumblegrumble said:

I also think that Nintendo needs to do some more marketing and advertising, still don't see as much about the 3DS or the Wii as I'd like to these days (on television and radio, etc.) Nintendo Direct is a great idea, I just wish (like others here) they would produce them more often so we know (more often) what's coming down the pipeline.



Drewroxsox said:

@drumsandperc92 That's exactly the same way I feel. So far, Reggie has lied to us on another topic... I miss the little flags that showed you what region everyone is from. It was nice to see all the nintendo fans, so without that, this site doesn't seem as popular



Malkeor said:

I really enjoyed Nintendo Direct, I think listening to the NOA man himself is a great way for reassurance and hype across the board.
@SkywardLink98: That would ROCK



Kyloctopus said:

@SBoy I am from Canada and Reggie gave me a note. Although, I believe I was supposed to get a note from Eiji Aonuma



StarDust4Ever said:

They announce new games such as the new Mario Tennis, but no info or mention of release dates for games announced over a year ago, like Paper Mario or Luigi's Mansion 2.



kurtasbestos said:

I've been living in Japan for over half a year now, and just yesterday I saw a Vita advertisement for the first time. Meanwhile, Mario has been hanging out on TV, on trains, on the internet, in shopping centers, and even at snow festivals. Glad to hear they're going to try a little harder in The Americraine and Europia, too.



kyuubikid213 said:

While I see someone on the topic of the 3DS and Wii's hype, I do have one thing to mention.

I think Nintendo did a great job advertising and hyping up the 3DS. I had many friends and other people on the internet waiting until March to purchase their 3DS systems.

However, I haven't seen the same reaction to the PSVita. None of my friends are craving it and also no one has it already. When the 3DS came out, five of my friends got it at launch. No one got a Vita. Also, I didn't hear much about it after E3 until just this week, its launch week. I don't know. It may just be me, but I think Sony needs to throw the Vita out there a bit more. It's competing with a system that came out a year ago with an excellent library of games and the only thing they've advertised excessively is 3G and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.



kdognumba1 said:

I enjoy these Nintendo Directs though I always feel the NoA one is way too light on content and always leaves us wondering if we'll ever get stuff in NA. With that said, I'm still extremely happy to be getting The Last Story and Kid Icarus Uprising and I'm really looking forward to some announcements for some of these other games announced in the EU and JP Nintendo Directs.



Victoria said:

I'm still quite miffed that we didn't get anything in the EU. So typical of them to leave us out.



nick_gc said:

Three Nintendo Directs? There was Iwata-san and Regginator. What else was there?



JimLad said:

Kid Icarus again, Tennis, an RPG, another RPG and Brain Training.
Wake me up when they have some WiiU news.



ThomasBW84 said:

@nick_gc There were three broadcasts, though two were practically the same:

  • Iwata's Japanese original
  • Nintendo of Europe ran the same video, but with English subtitles and voice-over, as well as Europe-specific release dates and info displayed on screen.
  • Nintendo of America with Reggie and company.


NintenHero said:

@DF2506 Yeah man, some Animal Crossing n' Harvest Moon news would have been real nice yo..... UGH! Oh well lol.
Anyway It's good to see Nintendo takin' such a big step to improve. Can't wait for E3.




It was good. However, no release dates for Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion 2 yet? Pheonix Wright vs Prof Layton? Prof Layton 3DS?

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