Nintendo has already announced that they will not do traditional press conference at this year’s E3 this summer. Although no official plans have been publicly talked about it’s safe to say something akin to their Nintendo Directs of the past will be shown. The Switch is selling very well and both Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are some of the fastest selling games in their respective series. This is all well and good but big questions cast a shadow over the Switch’s success, Where are the games?
This isn’t a new question when it comes to Nintendo consoles. In fact since the days of the N64 third-party support has dwindled with little exception (that exception being the shovel-ware machine in everyone’s grandparent’s house, the Nintendo Wii). While Nintendo’s first party efforts have been fantastic for the most part, game production has always been split between their home console and portables leaving big gaps of time between releases on either device.
This E3 Nintendo has to prove that the Switch isn’t just a fad and that their recent decisions (ending production of the NES Classic) isn’t reflective of their commitment to the hybrid console. E3 provides a fantastic opportunity to do so and here’s how.
Solid Release Dates At E3
Announcing release dates for upcoming games shows confidence. Can it backfire? Without a doubt yes, delays are always disappointing and delaying a game time and time again can attach a negative stigma regardless of the quality of the game.
However telling the audience that they can play Mario Odyssey this November can create a healthy buzz for the Switch and a short announce-to-release window can help build pre-orders. Fallout 4 is a great example making over $750 million within 24 hours of its release, and that was on a 6 month marketing plan.
Show Gameplay – Not Cinematics
Pre-rendered trailers are common when a game is in its early stages of development . They can can show game play concepts, show glances at a games settings and provide a tease of the narrative. The issue always is that the game shown is far from release. Game play is a different story.
While what’s shown can change drastically at release ( a sign of other development issues) showing a game being played or a controller in some developers hands is a sign of progression. Watching people play Breathe of the Wild at last years E3 made me incredibly optimistic for the game (and also incredibly jealous).
Focus On The Switch – Slowly Let the 3DS Go
The 3DS has been incredibly successful for Nintendo. With the help of franchises like Pokemon, Zelda and Animal Crossing the portable continues to sell and new revisions of the 3DS are still being released. That said, if the Switch is going to maintain its momentum nothing will help more than to have all of Nintendo’s development teams focus on games exclusive for the console.
For years the thought of a full pledged Pokemon game on a console has been the topic of countless news articles, message boards and social media alike and it seems like that moment is not far off. The same should be considered for all upcoming first party releases. If the next Animal Crossing is announced for both the Switch and 3DS it shows Nintendo’s lack of confidence in the new console.
Better mobile support
Nintendo’s recent shift in focus to mobile games has been a mixed bag. Trying to bring a console experience on the go feels dumbed down no matter hoe intuitive the controls are. While the second screen experience from last gen consoles didn’t exactly pan out there are plenty of ways that Nintendo can utilise their Mobile game to compliment the Switch.
Using the MY NINTENDO account can mean transferring items from Animal Crossing on iPhone to Animal Crossing Switch. or playing Pokemon Go should provide you with unique held items for Pokemon Switch. These games should talk to each other and promote playing each other.
E3 is just over a month away and both Sony and Microsoft will be there. Stay tuned next week for part 2 where I look at how Microsoft can win E3 and have a successful fall season.