Nintendo E3 Conference Reaction: NintendoLand, Really?

Nintendo E3 Conference Reaction: NintendoLand, Really?

Nintendo’s E3 conference is done and dusted, but was it any good?

Yesterday I wrote an article where I was pretty vocal about my overall dissatisfaction with Microsoft’s E3 press conference,  and I found myself thinking that it really couldn’t get much worse. Well, then Nintendo happened, and everything really started to fall apart.

In a conference that had the debut of a brand new console and a seemingly brand new strategy, Nintendo had all the tools to make sure that they succeed in the future. They were developing new exciting technology, new gameplay experiences and had a larger focus on a wider array of games. That was the brief going in, but after a severely lacklustre showing at E3 there’s going to have to be a lot done to salvage the Wii U.

You only had to look at the comments on our ManaTank livestream to see that most gamers were dissatisfied with what was being shown – indeed many of you were actively expressing your annoyance at the show’s climax, proclaiming ‘is that it?’ and ‘so..when does the conference start?’. This really isn’t good news for Nintendo, who had a lot of sucking up to do to gamers who were progressively turned off by the Wii’s approach over the past few years.

Sure, there was a massive focus on third party titles like Batman, Assassin’s Creed and all that stuff, but it was generally presented amidst a sea of confusing choices. The conference’s conclusion was highlighted by Nintendoland, which we have on good authority that many people in the conference hall showed no interest in and even walked out on! If you compare this to Sony’s climatic moments of their conference where they showed Naughty Dog’s fantastic-looking The Last of Us, you really have to shake your head and wonder what on earth is Nintendo thinking of here.

Quick, use the Nintendo Specsavers App to Get Some New Glasses!

Also shockingly missing is a concrete launch plan for the Wii U. All we got was ‘Holiday 2012’, and no mentions whatsoever of a price model. It seems very strange that they’re holding off debuting the full price of the Wii U, which brings me to believe they may well be assessing the collective gamer’s reaction to the console’s showing before ramping up the price too high. You have to think they learned from the 3DS, which was priced far too high.

I don’t know about you guys, but I felt like this conference just didn’t sell this new console. Sure it showed a load of games for it, but the unique hooks offered in them don’t seem much more than a gimmicky add-on, and many of these titles we’ve seen before (like Batman).  This conference was Nintendo’s time to wow us with their new technology, but what we got instead was a confusing mix of gameplay trailers, a general sense of overall confusion with the strategy taken.

I don’t want to sound like a complete whiny bitch, as there was a few moments of hope glimpsed amidst the sea of terribleness. Luigi’s mansion, Mario Wii U/3Ds and Pikmin 3 all piqued my interest, and I have to admit that Zombi-U looked pretty damn awesome as well.  As everything got awesome though Nintendo routinely insisted on bringing out more and more bizarre titles to showcase, inclining me to believe that the Wii U isn’t going to satisfy the lost hardcore market at all, but will instead continue to strive forwards and dominate the casual market. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Nintendo’s overall profits, it’s still an incredibly big gamble on their part as the Wii lost a huge amount of gamers and profits over the past couple of years because it focused almost exclusively on the casual gamer.

You may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about here, as it seemed as if Nintendo was showcasing loads of third-party hardcore titles. They did do this, but they were shown very, very briefly when compared to the cheesy vignettes for Wii Fit U and the gloriously dull presentation of NintendoLand which went on far, far too long.  I touched upon it earlier, but to close the biggest conference of the year with a game like NintendoLand really worries me about the Wii U. It’s almost as if Nintendo had no strong game to show us for the system; where was Zelda? Where was Starfox? Where was anything that would be remotely interesting to anybody watching the conference?

Zelda Wii UMissing, $25 reward for information on current whereabouts.

There was just something not right about the whole presentation. It screamed out for much-needed excitement at every turn, and as one moment of joy was thrown up it was rapidly knocked down again by the relentless bulldozer of casual titles. Sure they’re of interest to some people, but I think, honestly, that the train has sailed on fitness games and dancing games like we got to see during this presentation. Sure they sell well enough, but Nintendo really needed to focus on bringing back the hardcore gamer with this E3 presentation rather than wasting time on titles a very selective audience focus on.

I personally consider myself to be a gamer who’s neither in the hardcore or casual camp. I can have fun with both, but it really worries me to see Nintendo still not trying to satisfy the needs of the hardcore market enough. Strong, unique IPs like Sony and Microsoft had were really needed in this presentation and, while we got Mario briefly, the rest of Nintendo’s flagship characters were generally completely absent from this presentation altogether. I really do believe we needed to see Zelda, Metroid and many other Nintendo characters, along with some exciting new games, to make the Wii U have any hope of being sold to the hardcore market.

One of the most positive things I took out of the conference was the sleeker-looking controller which, unless perspective is playing tricks with my mind again, looked a lot smaller than we’ve seen in other builds. This is particularly good news for our weak gaming arms, which would no doubt snap under the weight of the massive controller.

Outside of the game announcements and talk of the Wii U, the true highlight for me was the Ubisoft spokesperson calling Reggie ‘Ze Ultimate Puppetmaster’, as it sounded fantastically evil.  The fact that I remembered that more than anything else Nintendo just showed me really is a worry, isn’t it?

Let us know what you thought about Nintendo’s conference in the comments below!

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