News Article

Feature: How Nintendo Can Win E3

Posted by Mike Mason

Drop the bomb

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The time is nearly here. In just a few days, Nintendo has to make the presentation of its lifetime at E3 2012. After being hit by the first losses in the company's history in recent months, and with the weight of proving a brand new home console's worth on its shoulders, there's no doubt that nailing this conference is crucial.

It'll be buoyed by a significant positive turnaround in 3DS' fortunes after its post-launch rough patch, but Nintendo must restore any other confidences lost, set up its core business for the immediate future and bring the winning spirit that spelled out such success in the Wii and DS era. We've got a few ideas on how the company can hope to pull off an E3 that emphatically beats the competition and turns the spotlight right back onto Nintendo.

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Nintendo can learn much by looking internally at the conferences it's hosted over the last few years to figure out what worked and what didn't. Simply put: avoid the chart-pulling and chest-puffing of E3 2007 and balance content carefully so there's not a repeat of E3 2008's entirely 'casual' approach. Focus instead upon the moments that really excited the audience. Pull the rug from under everybody's feet with a final shock trailer, in the same fashion as the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess reveal. Seek to replicate E3 2006's rapid-fire, breathless opening salvo, launching straight into game after game after game.

Going into E3 2012, Nintendo holds a major advantage in that it'll be showing off a new platform that has been speculated over and hyped to high heaven during the last 12 months. Wii U needs an opening at least as powerful as Wii's was back in 2006, a show of strength that lodges it firmly in gamers' minds. After an entire year of near-silence on the console, everything must be done to ensure that its reintroduction is memorable, leaves no room for negative thought and throws any doubts of its potential right out of the window – even if only for the duration of the presentation. Last year's display, dismissed by many as lacklustre, must be consigned to the past; Wii U demands a cohesive, comprehensive and convincing showing that covers all bases and captures viewers' imaginations. Second time's the charm.

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It takes two

Nintendo has accepted the need for partnerships now more than ever. By teaming with other companies it can hope to keep quality levels high, gain aid in areas that fall outside its expertise and expand the possibilities of its systems. E3 is the perfect platform for some of these plans to be shown off. We've already seen deals made with the likes of Autodesk and Havok that mean that third party developers will be able to use those companies' middleware on Wii U without additional fees, which will hopefully push down a few barriers to entry and encourage more developers to get on board.

It's certain that those aren't the only deals that have been struck up. The non-gaming potential of Wii U's controller can be shown off with help from multimedia partners such as Netflix, to stream movies into your hands when the television is otherwise occupied, or by working with publishing houses to allow e-book compatibility. 3DS' reach could be expanded with new initiatives, similar to the collaboration with the Louvre, and a greater breadth of 3D media content — perhaps even purchasable feature length films — would go down well.

And let's not forget the most important thing – the games. The third party exclusive is an ageing model that, with heightened development costs, is becoming closer to extinction by the day. It may not wrangle dozens of exclusives – the idea of predominantly multiplatform releases is perhaps too deep set at this point – but Nintendo needs to demonstrate that Wii U has third parties on its side, shared titles or otherwise. It's off to a good start, having forged a relationship with TT Games to work on an exclusive title in LEGO City Stories and gaining substantial support from Ubisoft, which will bring its multiplatform titles to Wii U as well as exclusive first-person shooter Killer Freaks from Outer Space.

There's always room for more, though, and to make a real splash Nintendo should be looking to show off a significant upswing in core third party support. An announcement of Grand Theft Auto V for Wii U – or other important core franchises such as Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid or Resident Evil — certainly wouldn't go amiss; an encouraging beacon to other third parties and a grand statement of intent for the console's future.

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Get connected

Online functionality should be high on Nintendo's list of priorities too. After years of lagging behind, with Friend Codes, spotty voice chat and an absence of proper user accounts, the penetration rate of internet play can no longer be ignored. Even if Nintendo can get those core games, without a substantial online outlay it's all for nothing. Wii U's Nintendo Network needs to at least match the feature set of PlayStation Network – but to really push for that win, it should look to exceed each of its competitors' efforts.

EA, Gearbox and several others have praised Wii U's open online approach. We don't know what exactly that means just yet; is it a case of third parties being allowed to do whatever they feel, or merely that Nintendo has listened to their desires and implemented them into a single encompassing infrastructure that satisfies both its own ideals and the wants of its development partners?

It'd be great to see some of the hinted features in fully fleshed out form: video chat, an expansion of 3DS' multi-tasking functionality, a greater connection between television, internet, console and controller that allows for easier sharing of content. To really stand out Nintendo could go beyond this with features not seen elsewhere, such as streaming content not only between console and controller, but between consoles over the 'net, letting you watch your friends' progress from your own home.

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Look to the future

And if we've not made it explicit enough already: games. Bring lots of games. The larger the variety the better, with plenty to cater to existing fans, but also clear efforts to expand the market once again. If Wii U has a launch title in the works that sells the system's ethos in the same way that Wii Sports did for Wii, it needs to be rolled out with a fanfare. Pull back the curtain on what Retro Studios, the numerous branches of EAD, Monolith Soft and all those other quiet teams have been working on.

But Wii U cannot be the sole focus, much as many would like it to be. Now back on track, 3DS requires its own compelling line-up to ensure that it doesn't slip off those rails once more. Its continued success needs to be secured with a formidable line-up that removes any lingering doubt that it's worthy of carrying on Nintendo's handheld line. Fewer – or preferably, no – ports, more original efforts to give 3DS the individual library it deserves. That push has already begun; it has to continue strongly.

With a relatively new handheld that's only recently finding its feet and a completely fresh home console, Nintendo has a lot to prove at E3 2012. The full unveil of Wii U almost guarantees a huge amount portion of coverage, but whether that coverage is positive or negative depends very much on how well some of the ideas above are approached. Only a few more days...

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User Comments (52)

Expa0

#2

Expa0 said:

I'm expecting lots of disappointment. Not just from Nintendo, but every single game company.

BenAV

#3

BenAV said:

I don't think I've ever been this excited before in my whole life.
Hurry up Wednesday morning! D:

Funny how you mentioned the watching your friends over the Internet because for some reason I was thinking about the same thing a day or two ago.
Pretty sure it won't happen though, and it's probably better off that way because I'd probably end up wasting too much time just watching other people play stuff. :P

Kinioka

#5

Kinioka said:

@Expa0 - That's a nice way to be surprised.

I think this year will be their best E3, tbh. I'm with BenAV, I never felt so excited for E3 like this year, and it can't be much worse than their last one. I want release dates for some 3DS games ( and DQX), new announcements for 3DS, and specially their online strategy for Wii U.

StarDust4Ever

#6

StarDust4Ever said:

If they can't get two U-pads to work simultaneously from the get-go, Wii-U is doomed. I hope Reggie kicks some butt!

OldBoy

#8

OldBoy said:

I didn't know you could win E3!! Will they get a trophy? Maybe a better title would be How could Nintendo triumph at E3. Anyway good article all the same. :-)

WingedSnagret

#9

WingedSnagret said:

Hurry up Wednesday! I can't take the suspense much longer! My biggest excitement is about Pikmin 3. We finally get to see it unveiled!

Adam

#10

Adam said:

You win E3 by scoring the most E3 points. So obviously the best plan is not what NL suggests or even to announce anything at all, but just to have Iwata jump on a turtle on his way up to the stage and have it bounce against the steps for two hours — infinite points and lives, they'd both win E3 and achieve immortality.

bezerker99

#11

bezerker99 said:

They could drop the bomb....or announce MH4 for worldwide release. Either would work.

SkywardLink98

#13

SkywardLink98 said:

@vonseux Ya, the controller would be fairly expensive. I remember hearing predictions up to $100 or more. I'd rather just use my 3DS+CPP as a controller like was posted in the forums.

Yasume

#14

Yasume said:

@toonlinkuser Don't quote me on this, but I think Nintendo's showing off hardware on tuesday and software on wednesday. There are 2 Nintendo conferences this year.

CowLaunch

#17

CowLaunch said:

If I won an E3, I'd keep it to myself the first few days, but then after I'd share it with everyone else.

Freak-Show

#19

Freak-Show said:

Here are some ideas I KNOW would improve the 3DS.

1. Update the 3DS so you can see non-3D videos on the web
2. Games should allow players to cooperate by voice when online
3. Adding friends should be as easy as on other consoles
4. Player profiles should be able to compare games, view recent actions etc.
5. DON'T RELEASE LAME TITLES LIKE MOVIE BASED ONES

Mizore

#20

Mizore said:

I hope that KH Remix turns out true, and becomes a launch title for this thing. Hoping Valve does something too...this is gonna be the longest wait ever. >_>

Mizore

#23

Mizore said:

Figures....Valve never does now that I think about it....I still hope they'll do something for the U though.

ScreamoPichu

#25

ScreamoPichu said:

Mulitasking on the 3DS by being able to open more than one actual app. Like visiting the eShop on checking Swapnote while playing a game. And running apps in the background, my big thing is the music. Being able to listen to music from your 3DS while doing other things on your 3DS.

Colors

#26

Colors said:

@PikminMonster
Actually, Valve will be attending E3 this year. They just don't have a scheduled conference yet and have confirmed they won't be showing any new software, so still no HL3.

SteveW

#27

SteveW said:

I don't think Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy or Mass Effect is going to do much to help the Wii U. Those games are overrated, what did Metal Gear Solid do for Gamecube? I remember getting it and thinking this is it? this is what my playstation 2 co-workers have been bragging about for months?

LeTr011

#28

LeTr011 said:

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the 3ds would be the best thing in my whole life!

Hokori

#30

Hokori said:

@TheToader
I graduate Monday, but my mom says I have to look for a job Tuesday morning :( why can't I wait to look for a job on wednesday?

zane

#33

zane said:

Could the Wii u controller possibly be in 3D, hence the wii U is a big glorified 3ds in HD?

DestinyMan

#34

DestinyMan said:

All they would need to do is show off plenty of games, have a snazzy presentation like those 3DS game videos from 2011 or the promotional 3DS video from 2010, and a detailed and clear explanation for what the Wii U can really do. They've done a good job the last two times, but it'd be best if they make this one the best yet.

Emaan

#35

Emaan said:

We're just days away from E3 now! This is the most excited I've ever been for an E3! I think the fact that Nintendo has so much pressure to really impact with this year's show that makes it 10 times more awesome. Can't wait! :D

komicturtle

#36

komicturtle said:

@MasterGraveheart

You should check out the amazing MOTHER4 Fan project. It looks so.. official. And it's cool that Itoi looked at it and hopes to play it himself when it's done.

Anyhow, lots of surprises in store at E3 for Nintendo. I think the weakest is going to be Microsoft. Sony has lots of potential with more announcements for Vita and PS3. Microsoft? Meh, more 3rd party software that's accross all platforms anyways and not much of any exclusives/1st party. Starting the conference with Black Ops 2... Oh man, how exciting... When that's available on other platforms anyhow. Maybe they'll surprise me, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

Chunky_Droid

#37

Chunky_Droid said:

Nintendo is really not helping posting how many days to go every day on my Facebook time line -_-

Henmii

#39

Henmii said:

"How Nintendo Can Win E3"

No one can win, since every audience sees their company as the winner. Nintendo fans think Nintendo was the best, while Sony fans think that Sony was the best. That's just how it goes!

rjejr

#40

rjejr said:

@Obvious78

Totally agree. I think it would be better to focus on what they could possibly do to screw it up ;-) Even Reggie being off by about 3 months for the SSBB release date wasn't a screw-up until months alter.
A PS4 unveil would gather some attention but that's just Sony being Sony. If Nintendo doesn't win - well then they are really going to have to blow it hard. And I'm more of a Sony fan than a Nintendo fan, but this is Nintendo's year.

Adam

#41

Adam said:

Except there are people who like multiple consoles, Henmii. Quite a lot of them, actually.

@turtlelink Good to know. I'm not sure how much more of a beating your shell can take after what you've been through in that 0-1000000000 streak you have going against me in Brawl/MarioKart/KidIcarus.

(It's a cool place in my imagination. You should all come visit some time.)

BRAINFOX

#42

BRAINFOX said:

They can stop letting incompetent developers make shovelware for their systems, cater more to the hardcore gamers, and set up a decent online service. Also, they should bring back the old classics from the 8 and 16-bit eras. Axelay 2, Demon's Crest, Guardian Legend, and Hagane for Wii U!!! I'd like to see the FPS fanboys top that!

Csaw

#44

Csaw said:

I'm very excited for nintendo's e3 presentation so I really hope they don't dissapoint. I really want them to drive it hard and announce game after game for the wiiu and 3ds. At the moment I'm only interested in wiiu and I want e3 to make me begging for it.

Wolfenstein83

#45

Wolfenstein83 said:

Not to burst any bubbles, but the title of this article is hilarious to me.
Winning E3?
I had no idea it was a competition, rather just a way to show off new stuff.
Also, what do you get if you do win, a trophy?
I love Nintendo, and I hope they do "win" E3.
Still sounds silly though, winning a convention?
Ah well, whatever.

lex0plex

#46

lex0plex said:

It's more like winning the crowd over. Nintendo has to prove that owning their new system will be a effin' awesome!

DarkEdi

#47

DarkEdi said:

Bring Pandora´s Tower to America and duplicate the units in stores of Last Story because Xenoblade was extremely hard to find. And maybe the annoucement of more exclusive european wii titles to America continent.

BudrSbastig

#48

BudrSbastig said:

Hopefully the biggest winner will be us gamers........ all the main companies showing some great new games, hopefully nintendo will un cover the 3ds XL with built in cpp.

kdognumba1

#49

kdognumba1 said:

Awesome read! I agree with the points made.

For me, out of everything at E3, the things I'm wanting to see the most across all platforms and companies is how Nintendo Network works (features it has, digital content that will be coming, connectivity with 3DS and general connectivity stuff) and some set in stone localization announcements for 3DS and Wii games in NA and EU.

realar

#51

realar said:

@NintendoMan You're right, it's because of the features of the Wii U. Nintendo knows their consumers more than we even know ourselves, they even wanted to remedy a modern problem- the disconnect of people even who are in close proximity. Damn texters!

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