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The gaming industry and media seemed very surprised by the announcement that Nintendo would not be holding a major keynote at E3 2013 like they have in the past. This year, you won't see Miyamoto wielding the Master Sword, or Reggie showing off something impressive with the Wii U. Instead, this year will be relegated to a closed conference and some Nintendo Direct presentations.
While the idea of them not being there seems strange, they're not the only ones who won't be attending. This week, 2K announced they will not be attending the big show, though they'll be announcing something that week apparently. Also, Valve has stated they will not be attending E3 either. Whether it's a sign of the industry or simply these publishers stepping down to give Microsoft and Sony the show, a lot of Nintendo followers seem concerned.
It's not all that bad though. Even without a keynote presentation of sorts, Nintendo can still impress with their conference and Nintendo Directs. Here are five ways I believe Nintendo can gain some attention that week.
Announce Some Release Dates
One problem I noticed with Nintendo is their tendency to only give vague ideas of when a game will be released, rather than giving an established release date to go by. With the higher-class quality of their first-party titles however, that's somewhat understandable.
Take Pikmin 3 for example. It was announced for a launch-window release, which is a solid reason why early adopters like myself went for a Wii U immediately after launch. However, time passed and the game kept getting pushed back. The game now has an August 4th release date, and I'm sure it'll be excellent when I finally play it.
That's why I think that Nintendo should make some release date announcements. Earthbound's supposed to be out by the end of 2013? Tell us when we should expect it. New Super Luigi U is coming? Give us a date. Another fiscal report was leaked saying Mario Kart for Wii U will be out by the end of the year. Even if they told us to expect it around the holidays, that's good enough.
These are critical times for Wii U, and while gamers can be patient they'll lose that patience the second something else comes around.
Rally Up The Third Parties And The Indie Developers
Many sites have pointed out how the Wii U is slowly gathering steam in the indie community, which is never a bad thing. Third-party support is weakening, but can be stabilized. Nintendo should devote at least a big chunk of one of their Nintendo Direct conferences to let supporting developers show off what they have in the works.
A big part of why a lot of core gamers are avoiding the Wii U is because of a lack of third-party support. However, it's still early on in the console's life-cycle, and like Sony and their PS3 Nintendo has a chance of turning the pessimism around. Offer development kits to more of these third-parties, and let them do with those kits what they will. Let them perfect their skills with the platform, and beautiful things can happen.
Make GameCube On Wii U Virtual Console A Real Thing
The launch of Wii U's Virtual Console Service has been... well, received with mixed reactions. While lots of gamers are simply happy the service is available, a lot more are criticizing the slow launch and the tiny selection of must-have titles. While Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 games are coming, we have no idea what games for those platforms are coming, or when. Nintendo previously announced GameCube titles could make their way to the service, but outside that brief acknowledgement there hasn't been any official word on that.
Well Nintendo, for that E3 week, you have your golden opportunity to do so. A good chunk of Wii U owners are disappointed they can't play Super Mario Sunshine or Eternal Darkness on their new consoles, but you can bring those games to us through digital means.
Show us some GameCube titles running on Virtual Console, and we'll be happy. While you're at it, announce other platforms like Sega Genesis and Turbografx 16.
Announce A New Marketing Initiative
Every Nintendo fan has to admit, the Wii U isn't doing great at all right now. Sales have been dismal to a point where Nintendo cut their sales projections. Satoru Iwata has admitted their marketing strategy has been poor. The same families that waited in cold, snowy lines to pick up a Wii console, now look at the Wii U and think the GamePad is simply an extension to the original console. These families are the ones Nintendo should be looking at as missed opportunities, instead of confused about the console.
This could be the week that Nintendo announces an entirely new marketing campaign for the console. Push out some more commercials. Have retailers show off demonstration units that they can actually play on, rather than watch trailers or look at screenshots for games on. Even better, to give the Wii U that much-needed edge against the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox this holiday, announce a price cut.
At this point, I'm with the analysts and critics that believe Nintendo needs to drop the price by a reasonable amount. When the 3DS released in 2011, its biggest sales problem was the $250 price tag. It was only $50 than a model of the soon-to-come PlayStation Vita. So instead of continuing to sell their handheld at $250, Nintendo wised up and slashed the price by $80. It must have worked, because the day the price drop officially went into effect I purchased a 3DS.
Maybe that's all it will take for some gamers to take the Wii U seriously. Announce a decent price drop, maybe include a game or two with it, and even offer an Ambassador Program similar to what 3DS early adopters received. If something like that will increase sales, do it.
If All Else Fails... Show Us More, More, More
A lot of great games have been announced for Wii U. Wind Waker HD, an entirely new Zelda game, a new Super Smash Bros., a new Mario Kart, a new 3D Mario adventure, Bayonetta 2, and Retro Studios have something they're working diligently on. That's all good and dandy, but show us more of these.
Nintendo said in an earlier Direct that at least a screenshot of the new Smash Bros. game will be revealed during E3 this year. Why show us just one screenshot, when they can show us more than one, or even better a clip of game footage. Show us how Wind Waker HD is looking, and give us a release date. Give us glimpses of the new Mario Kart and 3D Mario games. Have a trailer for Bayonetta 2 ready to go. Let Retro Studios talk about their new project.
As far as the new Zelda game goes... I can understand if it'll need some time to cook before showing a trailer or screenshot, but it'd be nice if Nintendo showed us concept art to whet our appetites, like when they revealed the first piece of art for the game that eventually became Skyward Sword. I'm sure the new Zelda will be an entirely new and epic experience, but we want to see more, more, and more about it!
So what do you think? Do these ideas all sound about right? What would you like to see or hear about from Nintendo during this year's E3 proceedings? Sound off in the comments below. And as always, thank you for checking out my blog!