I am being completely serious folks, this is an opinion someone made and I have to wonder who on Gameindustry(dot)biz thought publishing this thing was a good idea? Oh, wait, a gaming journalism website needs traffic to stay alive. My bad. On the other hand, I now feel 5% less bad about my badly aged opinions on Pietriots, because reading this opinion is downright baffling and caused severe brain rot in me.
For the sake of being fair and wanting to give some historical insight, let’s first explain Nintendo Directs and why they are now the defacto way Nintendo (and others outside of Nintendo) announce games. The very first Nintendo Direct(s), plural because there was one for Japan and North America, was streamed in late October 2011. Instead of having to wait for E3 to happen every year, or do a press release that will later being unfairly scrutinized by the gaming media, Nintendo bypassed them and had either Reggie or Iwata talk directly to the audience against a white backdrop. While not every Direct is going to be a winner, the formula works because what it has to do is done well: advertise and inform. That is the ultimate goal of a Nintendo Direct, and throwing a surprise reveal at the beginning, middle and end of the Direct (and it doesn’t have to always be a Nintendo product) is a great formula.
This author, also with a certain few Twitter people I will not direct you to, now thinks they feel too sterile and not personable enough because they feel like ads. Except for the fact that is what they are and have always been. No, we need to return to the yesteryear of 2011-2016, when everyone wanted Nintendo to die and struggle so they could feel unique and listened to with their advice for Nintendo.
Exactly what needs to change with the Nintendo Direct formula to appease what many people see as selfish and in the wrong? From suffering through reading this, here is a short list of how to make Nintendo Directs better again:
– Be more interactive, upload the trailers right away instead of doing a forty-minute ad video.
– Bring back something akin to the live shows and the “funny” skits, maybe throw in a musical performance here and there.
Besides laughing, and feeling horrible brainrot coming over, this obvious clickbait is heartening in some ways in that is shows the author is in a small minority in his opinion and those who parrot his opinion just exposed themselves as also having selfish and capricious feelings.
But I’m also baffled at this notion that, somehow, things were better when Nintendo was struggling to put out software for two different systems between 2011-2016 that somehow made things better in a gaming journalist’ eyes. The skits that were put into the Directs (on the North American side exclusively) had their charm and were sometimes funny (see the Muppet skits and the Robot Chicken sketches), but they weren’t the main attraction. The main attractions were the game announcements. I’ll be frank, not every Nintendo Direct is a constant winner. Hell, September 2022 had us joke about all the farming simulators that were being put onto Switch (and February 2023’s theme was murder mystery adventure games). Some things in a Direct will not appeal to me, or make me go “nope,” like a Cloud-streaming version of a Switch game.
Here is something Deguello told me that I agreed with: “bad” Nintendo Directs will have criticism over the internet for maybe a month or two tops before the next Direct is streamed four months afterwards. On the inverse, “bad” E3 shows continue to be laughed at and discussed at full for years on end. On Nintendo’s side, nobody can seem to forget their E3 2008 and 2012 conferences nor the 2015 Digital Event (the one with the Muppets and the one released before Iwata’s death shortly afterwards), and everyone remembers the issues Miyamoto had presenting Skyward Sword live at E3 2011. Microsoft? Sony? Various third parties? Tell me, do you still remember RIDDDDDDDDDDGGGEEE RACER, $599 US dollars, awkward celebrity appearances, and audiences looking bored out of their mind? Congratulations, you now see why Nintendo and others have moved away from physical E3 conferences and had to because of COVID-19. The GameIndustry author is severely misguided and Nintendo Directs will not change because they don’t have to. Nintendo has (rightfully) moved away from awkward comedy sketches to focus on what matters most, and people who think advertisements have to stop being advertisements and more “personable” are misinformed. Good trailers and informative presentations do wonders in this online connected world; needing an event to cater to gaming journalists to make them feel important does not work anymore. Nintendo knew it never worked in their favor and invented something that is now common place after twelve years. Sure, some will miss Iwata’s charm or Reggie trying to be comedic, but information is what matters.