Depending on who you ask, Nintendo is anywhere from “firmly in the Big Three race” to “hanging in by a wrist strap.” But no matter your opinion on the Mario machine, everyone will have their eyes solidly focus on the Granddaddy of Modern Gaming at E3.
But they won’t be doing it at Nokia Theatre.
Eschewing the traditional pre-E3 press conference for an online E3 special Nintendo Direct (and saving a bunch of cash), Nintendo will be utilizing the online format for their big show. The creators of Link, Samus, and the Mushroom Kingdom will be touting the Wii U again, primarily by showcasing how it’s not the PS4 or Xbox One. Since Nintendo won’t be unveiling a system this year, up against two new systems, expect Nintendo to focus on third-party titles, which seem to be in an upswing currently – Ubisoft, amongst others, has been quite vocal in their support, and SEGA has signed an exclusivity agreement with them. As for EA, Nintendo has two options. The likely one is simply to downplay it and/or blow it off. But, in a noted turn for Nintendo, it could go on the offensive, starting a bit of a war of words between the two companies. EA doesn’t seem like they’re too interested in that, considering they’ve done a bit of backpedaling lately on their strategy to bring forward nothing for the Wii U.
Aside from the “hey, look, we’re not them!” talk, Nintendo’s focus is likely going to be games, games, games. Nintendo will take pointed note of Ubisoft, who has announced they will port WATCH_DOGS, the E3 2012 darling, to the Wii U. And they’ll be heavily promoting any third-party titles or more mature, “hardcore” games, continuing on their strategy of reclaiming those lost to other consoles. However, Nintendo would be fool to disappoint their base, so expect news on a new Smash Bros., a new Mario Kart, the long-awaited Pikmin 3, and possibly some news on a Wii U Zelda, though with Link to the Past 2 that might not happen.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Nintendo’s 3DS is the big man on campus to Sony’s PS Vita and mobile gaming’s ranks of freshmen. The talk about the 3DS will amount to “We’re awesome and here are our games!” And though Nintendo may have everything to gain at this point with their home console, in the handheld division has everything to lose. A good show will be needed to maintain top dog status in the world of handheld.
Possible Titles to Keep an Eye Out For: Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Wii U Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, Yarn Yoshi, The Wonderful 101, Sonic: Lost World, Batman: Arkham Origins, Sacrilegium, possible Xeno series, Pokemon X & Y, Project X Zone
What They’ll Say: “We’re backwards-compatible, we’re not always on, we have your retro favorites in the Virtual Console… we’re the system for everyone!”
What Gamers Will Say: “There might be something to this after all…”
What the Intert00bZ Will Say: “Nintendo is DOOMED!”
What Consumers Will Say: “They’re affordable!”
Nintendo’s E3 Nintendo Direct airs 7am Pacific on Tuesday, June 11. For constant E3 coverage, keep it locked on GotGame June 10-14.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo will be at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 11-13.