Nintendo Live 2023
Image: Nintendo Life

In-person gaming events have gone through a bit of a rough patch over the last few years. E3 is seemingly dead and buried, and although Geoff Keighley is making hay with Summer Game Fest, some publishers are increasingly forgoing physical events for more focused, curated digital showcases.

Nintendo in particular has been especially fixated on its Direct presentations, and it doesn't look as though that's about to change anytime soon. What the company has started, however, is a new in-person event called 'Nintendo Live'.

Commencing in Japan in 2018, the event skipped 2020 and 2021 due to... well, you know, before making a grand return to Tokyo in 2022. Now, for 2023, Nintendo has brought Nintendo Live over to North America with a new event in Seattle.

This handy Nintendo Live 2023 guide will take you through everything you can expect from the event, including specific dates, what games to expect, and more. We'll be sure to update this guide as and when we receive any new information.

Nintendo Live 2023 Guide - Dates & Details

What is Nintendo Live?

Nintendo Live is described as "an all-ages celebration of Nintendo fun" by the official website.

It's an in-person event open to the public that made its debut in Kyoto, Japan in 2018. It returned in 2019 before taking a two-year break, then made its way to Tokyo in 2022.

Previous Nintendo Live events contained unique in-person concerts from the likes of Animal Crossing's K.K. Slider and Splatoon 3's musical trio Deep Cut.

When is Nintendo Live 2023?

Nintendo Live 2023 commenced on September 1st, 2023, and is scheduled to conclude on September 4th, 2023, alongside PAX West 2023.

Okay, and where will it take place?

The first Nintendo Live event in North America is taking place at the Seattle Convention Centre in Seattle, Washington.

What's happening at Nintendo Live 2023?

Now that registration for attendance is open (see more information further below), Nintendo has shared more details on what's happening at Nintendo Live 2023, including Switch gameplay, meet-and-greet opportunities, sculptures, and live performances. Let's take a look:

Nintendo Switch gameplay: Nintendo Live 2023 will feature gameplay from a wide variety of Nintendo Switch games, including The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Pikmin 4 and more. You can also put your Mario skills to the test and participate in the “Mario Dojo,” a fast and frantic challenge over three rounds of three different Mario games! There will even be a Nintendo Switch Online Classics Zone with classic games in an area that will make you feel like you stepped directly into the ’80s.

Meet & greets:
Nintendo Live 2023 will definitely not be short on superstars.
Characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Kirby and other familiar faces like Tom Nook, Isabelle, and K.K. Slider from the Animal Crossing games will be in attendance to meet and take photos with fans.

Memorable photo opportunities:
Looking to capture some one-of-a-kind photos? Nintendo Live 2023 will feature photo opportunities galore! From a walkthrough of larger-than-life Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Pikmin 4 sculptures to a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate mural and an immersive experience inspired by an idyllic island getaway setting from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there will be plenty of places to snap a memorable pic and share it with friends and family on social media.

Live stage: In addition to the separate areas, Nintendo Live 2023 will feature a main stage where we expect to host live performances**, including daily performances of music from the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda series and a showcase of other entertainment. • Gaming tournaments: While Nintendo Live 2023 will feature some high-level tournaments for attendees to participate in or attend as a spectator, there will also be additional tournaments for fans with a range of skill levels. Each day will feature a different competition:
Sept. 1: On the first day of Nintendo Live 2023, the Super Smash Bros. Squad Strike tournament*** will be open for fans ages 13+ who want to show off their versatile skills in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game.
Sept. 2: The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 2023 Championships will be held on Sept. 2, with an on-site last-chance qualifier*** for those looking to race their way onto the big stage.
Sept. 3
: On Sept. 3, the spotlight will be on the next generation of fighters with the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo+me Exhibition 2023.*** Attendees 10-16 years of age can train up their amiibo fighters and take on other entrants and their amiibo fighters to see who will win. o Sept. 4: Closing out the event is the Splatoon 3 2023 Championships, featuring the top qualifying teams from the upcoming Splatoon 3 Championship Qualifiers 2023 coming up June 3-4 and June 10-11.

Speaking of sculptures, Nintendo Live 2022 was the first instance we caught a glimpse of the life-size Link statue from Tears of the Kingdom, so that was pretty cool. It would subsequently make its way to Pax East 2023 in North America.

Zelda Tears of the Kingdom Link Statue
Talk to the hand — Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

So then, nothing earth-shattering, but some general Nintendo fun for all the family.

Which games will be there?

The likes of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Splatoon 3, are all a part of the NintendoVS tournaments.

In terms of single-player games, Super Mario Bros. Wonder gameplay has been shown off during a Nintendo Treehouse live, which was broadcast on 1st September 2023 at 2:30pm PST / 5:30pm EST.

What tournaments will be available?

Nintendo has handily announced the line-up of tournaments you can expect to see at Nintendo Live 2023. You'll also be able to livestream them via official Nintendo channels, which is nice. Here's a brief breakdown of each and when they'll occur:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Squad Strike Challenge 2023 - Friday, Sept. 1 at 12 p.m. PT

Eligible players ages 13 and up go squad-vs-squad in a single-elimination, best-of-three tournament* featuring the Squad Strike game mode.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Championship 2023 Qualifier at Nintendo Live - Saturday, Sept. 2 at 11:30 a.m. PT

The top eight players of this qualifier* will boost with the best of them on the big stage in the Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe Championship 2023 tournament the same day.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Championship 2023 - Saturday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. PT

Top Mario Kart 8 Deluxe players will go bumper-to-bumper in person to take home the Grand Prize trophy in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Championship 2023 tournament!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo + me Exhibition 2023 - Sunday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. PT

Players ages 10 to 16 and their amiibo fighters can take part in the Super Smash Bros.™ Ultimate amiibo + me Exhibition 2023 tournament*. This single-elimination tournament will feature the contenders teaming up with their amiibo amigos to fight it out on the stage.

Splatoon 3 Championship 2023 - Sept. 4 at 12:30 p.m. PT

Top teams from the online Splatoon™ 3 Championship 2023 Qualifier tournament will take the stage and face off to see who splats supreme.

Will I have to pay to attend Nintendo Live 2023?

No, tickets are free but limited — you'll need to register via the Nintendo Live website and be selected at random.

Registration for tickets was open until June 22 at 11:59pm PT. You'll need a US Nintendo account to register.

If you're selected you'll win a ticket for a single day at the event.

Can I go with friends or family?

Groups can apply together, although they will need to be part of the same Nintendo Account family group.

Children 6 or under don't require a ticket as long as their parent or guardian has one. Ages 7 and above will need their own ticket as part of a Nintendo Account family group.

Can I get a ticket on the day?

"Walk-up tickets on the days of the event will not be available." So, nope.

Can I get into Nintendo Live 2023 if I'm a PAX West 2023 Badge Holder?

No. However, registering separately via the PAX West website will give PAX-goers a chance to win tickets. Here is precisely what Nintendo itself has to say on the subject:

PAX West badge holders who are interested in attending Nintendo Live 2023 can opt in to a separate promotion on the official PAX West website for a chance to win event tickets. Please note that a PAX West badge alone does not guarantee entry.

Can I go to Nintendo Live 2023 if I live in another country?

Nintendo says in its FAQs that only US residents with a US Nintendo Account may register. So no, not really.

Will any of the events be streamed online?

Yes! Many of the tournaments and events taking place at Nintendo Live have and will be streamed online for all to enjoy.

Here's a peek at the live concert from Nintendo Live 2022 in Japan:

Can we expect a Nintendo Direct at the same time?

At this point, no, probably not.

September typically brings a Nintendo Direct, but if we were to put bets on it, we'd wager Nintendo probably won't want a Direct presentation to clash with its Nintendo Live event. The latter doesn't seem like it will be focused on upcoming games, but will rather foster the ol' engagement with the Nintendo community in fun ways. Plus, we already got to enjoy a Direct showcase focused on Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

This is all speculation, but looking back to 2021, the September Direct came on 23rd September. In 2022, it was 13th September. You know it makes sense.

Will there be new games announced at Nintendo Live 2023?

Here's what Nintendo says regarding new product announcements:

No such announcements are planned. Nintendo Live 2023 is first and foremost an in-person celebration of Nintendo fun for all members of the family.

Nintendo will save that stuff for a Direct, although it's not impossible that there will be playable demos of freshly announced games.

Will there be Nintendo Live 2023 merch?

Yes... Well, there was. Products were available to pre-order until June 30th, 2023 with an expected shipping date sometime in August 2023.

Here's a list of everything that was available to buy:

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Is this why Nintendo chose not to attend E3?

Unlikely. As we've mentioned, Nintendo has been focusing on its Direct presentations to showcase its upcoming games, but regardless of that, Nintendo Live doesn't seem like the kind of event to expect big announcements from.

Is Nintendo Live the new Space World?

Pah! No, probably not. It's about as close an alternative as we're ever likely to get, mind.

For those unaware, Space World was a trade show that Nintendo hosted from 1989 to 2001 (though it was called Shoshinkai until 1997). The most famous Space World event probably came in its final year, during which the GameCube and Super Mario Sunshine were showcased, along with the first proper glimpse at The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

Nintendo Live 2023 is more likely to focus on the Nintendo community itself and we don't expect to see any major announcements at the event itself. Still, stranger things have happened...

How many times did you type 'Nintendo Life' instead of 'Nintendo Live' above?

Too many. 'Nintendo Love' snuck in there, too.

Do let us know in the comments if you've got any specific questions regarding Nintendo Live 2023 you'd like us to address. In the meantime, will you be looking to attend? Share your thoughts.