Don’t Fret Over Nintendo’s Short E3 2017 Presentation

Reports have come out indicating that Nintendo’s E3 2017 presentation will be a bit on the short side: somewhere between 25-30 minutes. This is notably smaller than most of the other shows from the other companies. A lot of folks have been freaking out over this, coming to the conclusion that Nintendo’s show will be pretty underwhelming. In my opinion, I don’t think it’s as bad as it looks.

Nintendo threw in the towel on doing live press conferences all the way back in 2013. When the news of this first came to light, there was a huge backlash from the majority of the gaming community. Many people saw this as a sign of weakness from the company, as if it were basically admitting it couldn’t do as good of a job as its competitors. When the first digital presentation finally aired, Nintendo showed this was clearly not the case at all.

The change to a digital format almost immediately showed benefits over a traditional stage show. There were no awkward moments, no game demos crashing, no malfunctioning hardware, no unnecessarily long speeches, no silent moments from the audiences—basically no ‘fluff’. There were some pretty long explanations for a few games, but for the most part, it was just a streamlined, straight-to-the-point presentation. As a result, the company has continued to use this format since.

So, what makes this year so different? Well, this will be the very first time the Switch will be featured at E3, despite the fact that it was announced over two years ago. Seeing that the console just released back in March, many people were hoping that Nintendo would have a boatload of surprises in store for the big convention. With this year’s digital presentation’s runtime of a mere 25-30 minutes, it’s notably smaller than not just the other shows, but it’s also a lot smaller than Nintendo’s past E3 shows. Is this really a problem, though?

Nintendo has ditched traditional stage shows for pre-recorded presentations. 
Streamlined = shorter runtime. 

All that Nintendo has said about its E3 presentation this year is that it will primarily consist of titles for the Switch that will be releasing throughout the rest of 2017. For the most part, we already know all of the games that the system will be getting this year. Or, do we? Because it’s Nintendo we’re talking about, it’s almost impossible to predict exactly what we should expect to see in the presentation, but it’s not exactly out of the question for their to be at least one or two surprises. For instance, we still don’t know anything about what Retro Studios is working on, except for the fact that they’re working on something. Pikmin 4 was revealed to be complete months ago, but it hasn’t been spoken of since. These are just two examples of some surprises that could be in the show.

The presentation’s runtime may be smaller than before, but that’s probably because Nintendo may have streamlined the Direct format even more-so, to make sure that the overall flow is better. Perhaps there won’t be too much time spent focusing a lot of attention on a single feature in a game that could instead be easily explained in 30 seconds. The company may have just listened to the complaints of past shows, and will be addressing them in this one, thus the shorter runtime.

But, that’s just a theory. Indeed, there really could be no surprises during this presentation. Perhaps every major announcement for the Switch this year has already been made. Maybe there really are absolutely no new first-party and/or third-party titles coming to the system that haven’t been revealed already. But, is that really the case?

Keep in mind that the Switch is still a very young system.

Nintendo does not make major announcements solely at big events like E3, Gamescom, PAX and others, like Microsoft and Sony usually do. Ever since Nintendo Directs first came into the picture, the company has used this format to make big announcements throughout the year. In a lot of cases, they’re aired at extremely random times, far away from any big gaming events. With that said, it is definitely possible that Nintendo is merely using this year’s E3 to further detail games that have already been announced. If there are any more surprises, they really could be saved for later dates, being shown off during a surprise Direct.

Keep in mind that the Switch is still a very young system. It hasn’t even been on the market for six months yet. Don’t jump to the conclusion that there’s little-to-no games being worked on for it. Just have patience. E3 is definitely the biggest gaming event every year, but for Nintendo, it’s pretty much just another convention. Recent actions go to show that the company doesn’t view E3 as being the ‘be-all-end-all’ event that others may think it is. For instance, the Switch wasn’t announced at E3: its existence was announced during an Investor’s Briefing in March 2015, and its reveal was a trailer uploaded to YouTube in the middle of October. What about the announcement/reveal of the New 2DS XL? Nintendo just randomly dropped the announcement in the middle of the night back in May!

Nintendo is quite capable of surprising us. In fact, you can pretty much say it’s the ‘King of Left Field’. I cannot count how many times this company has dropped announcements completely out of the blue. This is something that everyone who follows Nintendo news should know; when it comes to this company, expect the unexpected. And, in fact, even when you do that, its actions are still unpredictable. So, don’t go into this year’s E3 presentation expecting all the bombs to be dropped at once. Keep your expectations reasonable, and you won’t be disappointed.

Remember how the Switch was announced out of scenic nowhere?
Nintendo are definitely the masters of surprise. 

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.