Nintendo Direct When
Image: Nintendo Life

Update: We've amended this guide to reflect changes after the first Nintendo Direct of 2024 back in February.

If you're a Nintendo fan on the internet, you'll likely have seen dozens of rumours regarding the next Nintendo Direct. Scrolling through your preferred gaming feed, you'll find 'insiders' — some legit, most not-a-bit — leaking hot info from 'sources' — some real, most imagined — concerning when Nintendo is planning on serving up its customary platter of upcoming treats. De-lish!

With all the Switch 2 rumours swilling around, seeing vague Direct schedule guesses that anyone with an ounce of common sense could produce gets tiresome. What's that? INSIDER CLAIMS NINTENDO DIRECT IS JUST WEEKS AWAY, you say? No s***, Shulk!

How do they do it, these mystic prognosticators? It's not like they have over a decade's worth of data to look back on showing which month Nintendo put out the first full-fat Direct presentation of the yea—hang on. No, they do.

Let's look at the dates of the first proper Nintendo Direct every year since they started in 2011, shall we?...

First Dates - The First Nintendo Direct From Every Year So Far

We've included the duration of the broadcasts below and, in certain cases, we've noted when they were preceded or followed quickly by smaller Directs or other multi-game Nintendo presentations.

Click on the links if you want to see a round-up of the Direct or the presentation itself.

Updated with the first Nintendo Direct of 2024.

Year First Nintendo Direct Date Approximate length Notes
2024 21st February 25 mins Partner Showcase
2023 8th February 44 mins
2022 9th February 40 mins
2021 17th February 54 mins
2020 20th February (Animal Crossing only) 27 mins Followed by an Indie World on 17th March, and a Nintendo Direct Mini on 26th March
2019 13th February 36 mins Preceded by an Indie Highlights on 23rd January
2018 8th March 34 mins Preceded by a Nintendo Direct Mini on 11th January
2017 12th April 35 mins Preceded by a Fire Emblem Direct on 18th January, and a Nindies Showcase on 28th February
2016 3rd March 41 mins
2015 14th January 46 mins
2014 13th February 41 mins
2013 23rd January (Wii U only) 35 mins Followed by a Nintendo 3DS Direct on 14th February
2012 22nd February 48 mins
2011 N/A - The first ever Nintendo Direct was broadcast on 21st October 2011 7 mins

Discounting the first year of the series (which debuted in October), you can see that, of the 13 Nintendo Directs listed...

  • eight (61.54%) were broadcast in February
  • two (15.38%) were broadcast in January
  • two (15.38%) were broadcast in March
  • and one (7.69%) was broadcast in April

For the last six years, the first major Nintendo Direct of the year was broadcast in February. Now, that Animal Crossing-focused one from 2020 muddies the data set a little, but that was a strange year for various reasons.

Regardless, you can see from the table above that, if you were a gambling gamer, the smart money would be on February for the first Nintendo Direct. Science!

Image: Chokniti Khongchum / Nintendo Life / Pexels

Will the Nintendo Direct pattern hold true for 2025?

With a new Nintendo hardware announcement confirmed to be coming sometime before April 2025, it's entirely possible the tea table will be upended and Nintendo will take a less conventional approach to its Direct scheduling next year.

However, it's a big company that's inextricably tied to not only the calendar but also manufacturing, publishing, advertising, and retail partners, not to mention dates dictated by the financial calendar, with shareholders who want to be fiscally dazzled with news of its upcoming products.

We're sure Nintendo would love to shake up the Direct formula and introduce some surprise and delight to its timetable, but the pattern has held true for the last six years for a reason — it works.

SO, when is the first Nintendo Direct of 2025, then?

Nintendo Switch OLED Mario 64
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

Hmm, fine. For those of you who skipped to the end through all those pesky words, let's summarise. Using only our divine talents as Nintendo insiders — an ancient art known to Kyoto natives as wii'key-pehdya — we're confident that the first full Nintendo Direct of 2025 will come in *drumroll*...

  • Probably February
  • Possibly early March
  • January and April are long shots, but not impossible

Mark our words! Now, where do we collect our clout?

Think we're way off the mark? Impossible! Were we not vague enough to be right, whatever happens!? Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think, you beautiful insiders, you.

When do you think we'll see 2024's first Nintendo Direct?