Ever since E3:2013 Nintendo has used Digital Events rather than press conferences at E3 to announce upcoming games and hardware, and of course Nintendo Directs have been going on since 2011 to announce Nintendo happenings throughout the year. There are pluses and minuses to this format. These are based on my opinion alone.
~The ability to present information in a controlled environment.
~Less chances for technical mishaps destroying the flow of the event.
~The ability to take as much time as you wish to get your point across without feeling pressured due to either time constraints or restlessness from the audience.
~Personnel that do not speak English can speak in their own native language and at their own pace knowing that their voice will be dubbed over anyway.
~The effect of negative feedback is greatly minimized due to not having direct and immediate responses from an audience.
~In a digital environment you can use technology to enhance the experience a lot more (such as the E3:2014 Digital Event when Eiji Aonuma showed the first footage of The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild by just snapping his fingers and there it was.)
~Nintendo has a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to alert people of upcoming Nintendo Directs. If checking for a Nintendo Direct is not part of your daily routine, it’s very easy to miss.
~Without having a crowd to watch unveils of new games and hardware, it takes a lot of the splendor out of the reveals not to have the oohs and aaahs.
~While CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, what have you are all trained to LIE and tell you what they want you to believe rather than the truth and let you make up your own mind, it is a lot more difficult to do that when you are standing on a stage in front of a room of people. That being said, the level of sincerity is questionable in such a controlled environment as a Nintendo Direct or Digital Event. In this format they can have whomever they wish to say positive things about something they know will almost certainly get a negative reaction. Granted they do this is pressers too, but the BS is a lot easier to pinpoint at a presser.
See Metroid Prime: Federation Force for more details.
So you have positive and negative reasons to unveil the NX via a Digital Event. Now let’s look at the press conference perspective.
~The immediate reaction and response from actually human beings that have the ability to form their own opinions giving you a more accurate gauge on whether or not you effectively got your point across and if your new product will have an immediate and successful impact.
~The ability to show real-time gameplay demonstrations.
~The ability to have the press on site so that immediate positive reactions towards your product(s) can be forwarded out to the mass (Hype-Train.)
~To create an ambiance of excitement with wonder with real-time reactions. Remember what it felt like watching the E3:2006 Nintendo press conference?
~Technical mishaps. There have been a couple of E3 presentations where technology did not co-operate and it resulted and a poor example of the game-play killing games before they even hit store shelves.
~Flubs. We are human and we make mistakes. There are no retakes in live TV……..
……not to mention having the awkwardness of translations from non-English speaking personnel.
~Lack of material. Remember at E3:2003 when Nintendo’s big game reveal was Pac-Man VS? *shutters* That was nightmarish. Also, who could forget the infamous fireworks display of NintendoLand at E3:2012? I think this debacle went a long way to ending Nintendo press events.
~Negative crowd reaction. Having people boo your products, or even worse having no reaction at all can be extremely dangerous and cause irreparable damage.
~Confusion. In a Nintendo Direct format you obviously can still goof and misconstrue the vision of said product, but on a stage in front of people where everything is moving so fast it can be even easier for the message to be lost. Case in point, E3:2011 with the Wii U. Nintendo did an atrocious job of explaining why the Wii U was different from the Wii or the fact that it was a next-gen console and not just an adaptation to the Wii. Even the physical design was a bad idea.
So those some are pluses and minuses to a press conferences.
Now obviously there are more for each category, but you get the gist of it. So what do I think is the best course of action? To tell you the truth I don’t know.
I feel that for a reveal of a console of the magnitude of the NX which has more intrigue than any console in history, the fact that Nintendo themselves have stated that the NX will appeal to both core gamers and casual gamers, and the fact that you need to make a huge impact that leaves an impression so that the NX does not become forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coupled with the impending releases of PSVR and PS4K (Neo,) I lean more towards the press event.
Now, there are a lot of things that can go wrong besides the aforementioned bad points of holding a conference. I think however it’s worth the risk. A lot of Nintendo fans out there don’t understand this or choose to ignore it, but the Nintendo Direct is not something that appeals to everyone. It’s not even something casual gamers even know about. We as gamers know about Nintendo Directs. Those who are die-hard Nintendo fanatics are checking everyday to see if a Direct is coming. This however is not a good way to get your point across of launching a new piece of hardware with a Nintendo Direct AS IS.
How they could effective use a Nintendo Direct/Digital Event to unveil the NX is this. Go to all of the press and tell them the date of the event. Go to one of the major networks whether it be NBC, ABC, CBS, or FOX and purchase some prime-time air time. Preferably at the early part of the week when most people are going to be at home. Air the Nintendo Direct/Digital Event during prime-time hours. This way you get all the advantages of a ND/DE plus you are in a much larger audience.
Going with a press conference, those news outlets are going to be there anyway so you don’t have to contact them. Some people would say that why would it be advantageous for Nintendo to unveil the NX at an event where people who call themselves journalists (that are in fact just trolls and wannabes) that have nefarious intent will just run to social media to crap on the NX anyway? Good point. Touche’ Pussycat! However, Nintendo can control who they have in the audience. I’ve said this more than once on the Live and Leveled Podcast that these press conferences should be open to the public. Meaning the actual FANS should be the ones in the audience. This would allow you to have the atmosphere you desire and even if the product has some deficiencies, the overall hype may cause people to look past them rather than over-exaggerate them as the press normally does for click and cash purposes.
I don’t know I……..*sigh*…..there are good reasons for both. Maybe Nintendo could reveal the console itself in the Digital Event, but hold a presser to reveal the games. In the DE, tell us the name of the console, the design (gimmick) of the console, the purpose of it, DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS, and maybe show a quick tech-demo of what it can do.
When I say DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS I mean……… DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS.
I don’t just want to hear that it has a AMD processor or an nVidia processor, such and such amount of RAM, and the storage capacity, and that’s it. That doesn’t tell us anything. I want to know what TYPE of AMD processor it is using or what TYPE of nVidia processor it is using (it should be noted that I don’t think the NX will be using and nVidia hardware at ALL, but it’s not impossible and I’m just saying it’s possible to be fair and unbiased.) What type of CPU is it? Tegra? Excavator? Zen? Something new? How many cores? What’s the clock-speed per core? What type of memory? DDR4? GDDR5? HBM2? What is the bandwidth of the memory? How many compute units does the GPU have? How many teraflops?
These are the types of questions than can be answered in a Digital Event and quite frankly this is the only place it should be answered. You cannot dump all this information to someone sitting in a seat in a theater. That’s one of the problems Sony had for awhile regarding statistical sales information boring everyone to tears. Seemingly they have learned from that and this year at E3 their presentation slayed everybody.
The press conference can be used to show off the games. Imagine the crowd reactions to seeing a new F-Zero? A new Metroid? An IP from the past returning such as StarTropics or Kid Icarus or even Wave Race? Imagine how amped the crowd would be to see rumored 3rd party exclusives like Bayonetta 3 or Beyond Good and Evil 2? Obviously imagine the crowd response to seeing a new full-fledged Mario game in action?
Nintendo can use the Digital Event to lay asphalt on the road, and use the press conference to drive us home. That’s my take on it. Leave your comments below as to what you think Nintendo should do.