E3 2011: Nintendo
Can Nintendo Successfully Take Us Out Of the Wii Era?
2011 is an exciting year for E3, though to be fair most of that has to do with the hype surrounding Nintendo’s next console. Wii 2, Project Café, or even Stream – whatever it’s called, holds both great promise for the company and its followers. 2011 is going to be the start of a minor reinvention for Nintendo that comes with a new console cycle. If the rumors are true and Nintendo is trying to recapture the hardcore market, then they have a great deal of work to do in reshaping themselves. The battle for the new Nintendo will start at their press conference. Their first impression will be crucial.
The Successor To The Wii
Nintendo is going to handle their new console in one of two ways at the press conference. Either they will wait near the end to unveil it, or they’ll come right out of the gates swinging. It would be safer to bet on the latter option, as the company has very little to talk about in regards to the Wii. Really, the biggest news story for that console is that sales are down. All of Nintendo’s new material is going to be for their new hardware, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume they have about enough material to last most of the press conference.
Game announcements, trailers, and gameplay demos are most defiantly expected… but the real mystery is what they’ll be. Mario? Zelda? Super Smash Bros? As of today, the announcements are anyone’s guess. There is some speculation on whether or not Nintendo will repurpose The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in much the way it did with Twilight Princess on the Wii. Given that the Wii did not have hardware that far outstripped the Gamecube… the conversion did not have to mean an overhaul. If the rumors are true and the new console has far superior hardware, Skyward Sword would have to be a very different game from a graphical and design standpoint to not seem like a terrible conversion. Furthermore, Skyward Sword’s controls are based on the Wii Motion Plus, and while you can supposedly use the Wii controller with the new console it seems like a stretch they would keep the same control scheme for a new console.
We’re going to have a lot of trailers thrown at us at the press conference, followed by demos on the show floor. The important thing to remember is that while the trailers are no doubt going to be impressive, keeping a tempered response is going to be crucial. Remember how most people thought the Wii looked fantastic? Nintendo promised a lot, but delivered on very little as far as innovating the industry is concerned. Keeping in mind the longer term impact of the console is going to be key to determining Nintendo’s success. In addition, the trailers may be for games that aren’t even coming. Hopefully Nintendo learned from their Spaceworld fiasco a decade ago, but following up a realistic link with a cartoon one proved to be a pretty counterproductive bait and switch.
There’s no doubt the next Nintendo console is going to be flashy, attractive, and carry promises of changing gaming forever. It’s going to be a year or two, however, until we see if Nintendo’s claims become truth.
While Sony has their massive pink elephant in the form of the PSN hack, Nintendo has a much smaller one with the 3DS launch. The simple fact of the matter is that the 3DS has become a slight commercial and critical joke. The machine is certainly no laughing stock, but it simply isn’t that impressive. The launch games were bad, Nintendo’s marketing campaign wasn’t very successful, and the 3D effect is a bit of a gimmick since no games use it particularly well.
Nintendo promised us a multitude of third party games that won’t come out for the foreseeable future. The big three releases we have on the horizon are Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64, and Kid Icarus: Uprising. After that… it’s looking rather murky.
Nintendo needs to breathe some new life on their brand new product, but they only have so much time and energy they can allocate. The 3DS has a great deal of potential, but is Nintendo willing to give it the time of day? The Game Boy Advance came out before the E3 that introduced the Gamecube in 2001. As a result, the show became the Gamecube hype machine with the poor handheld left in the dust. It’s very possible that the 3DS will suffer the same fate as its ancestor, as Nintendo is most likely going to spend a majority of their energy on their next home console.
Will we see anything for the 3DS at the press conference? Most likely, we might get a few game announcements and a trailer or two, but that’ll most likely be it. Expect to see more in the way of demos on the show floor. Nintendo is all about moving forward, and the 3DS launch is now in the (recent) past.
What Can Nintendo Do To Win E3?
Nintendo is in a very interesting position. Expectations from gamers and the public alike are simultaneously very high and very low. Gamers feel betrayed and let down by the last 5 years, but are still excited by all the rumors circling around Nintendo’s new hardware. If the console is as geared to the hardcore as the rumors suggest, the casual crowd is going to be left scratching their heads. Nintendo is going to need to pull an impressive balancing act.
Can Nintendo break through 5 years of building resentment and feelings of abandonment? It’s certainly possible. There’s a group of people that will swoon over HD Zelda and then all will be forgiven. With others, it’ll take far more than new paint on old franchises to bring them back. Nintendo is going to have to show they’re willing to take risks. Bring us new franchises that utilize the tech of the new console. Bring back old franchises in new and unexpected ways. Here’s a tip: have Retro Studios make a new Zelda game.
Nintendo is in the best position to dominate E3. However, they need to prove they’re willing to reinvent themselves as a bigger and more aware company than their competitors. If the new console meets the high expectations set upon it, they will have done well. If the console exceeds expectations, they will probably win. If the new console still exceeds expectations two years from now? Nintendo will have another hit on their hands.
Just between you and me… I’d swoon over a Retro made HD Zelda. Just saying…
Aaron also writes reviews and editorials on his site Media Rushes.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook