E3 2014: Nintendo Explains Why Its E3 Press Conference Wasn't Live

Reggie Fils-Aime shares why Nintendo went in a different direction than Microsoft and Sony.

The substance of Nintendo's E3 press conference was similar to that of competitors Sony and Microsoft: games were announced and shown off. But the manner in which Nintendo's presentation--its "E3 Digital Event"--was handled was much different; whereas Microsoft and Sony hosted live shows in front of thousands of people, Nintendo's showing was prerecorded. According to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, the reasoning behind this decision has to do both with the audience watching and with the very nature of Nintendo itself.

In an interview with IGN, Fils-Aime recalled his first E3 10 years ago and how it compares to what the annual conference is like today. "The environment is completely changed," he said. "More and more people are looking to tune in to an event; more and more people are looking for the full entertainment value of an event."

Reggie Fils-Aime prepares to fight Satoru Iwata

Not only does Nintendo have to consider that factor, but there's also the matter of how so many of its potential presenters speak Japanese. "Couple that with the fact that so [many] of our developers are Japanese, so having them explain the game directly is a little bit more challenging. We can do it in this type of environment," he said, referring to a live show with a website, "but to do it from a big stage is a little challenging."

"So for us, we think the best way to bring our message to the fans, to the larger community, is to create an event, to create something that we believe has all of the little Nintendo magic and pixie dust, and communicate that directly," Fils-Aime added.

Nintendo's showing opened up with a sequence where Fils-Aime and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata fought one another, which in turn led to the announcement of playable Miis in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Fils-Aime said having a show with things like that and the Robot Chicken sequences that poked fun at the company's relationship with fans is "a way to have fun and communicate the key messages."

One perceived downside of this approach is the lack of an immediate reaction from fans in the crowd at a live press conference. In fact, Fils-Aime says they were able to get even better feedback than that: "Through social media, we know exactly what people are saying. We know exactly what they're feeling and how they're responding to the message candidly, much more directly than we do when we're present only to about 3,500 people. So for us, it really is a win-win."

Nintendo announced several new games during its E3 showing and provided us with a look at the new open-world Zelda game coming to the Wii U. More has been announced since, including Pac-Man as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. and Devil's Third becoming a Wii U exclusive. For a rundown on what was shown during the Digital Event, you can refer to our recap here and then check out our impressions here.

What did you make of Nintendo's E3 Digital Event? Do you prefer that style of show to a live press conference? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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MrBlondeX

Chris Pereira

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX
76 comments
Vodoo
Vodoo

Don't give me that load of crap! You get social media responses when you do a live show as well. Reggie Fils Aime is a big flaw in Nintendos character. He's even WORSE than Microsofts Yusuf Mehdi with how much bs flows out of his mouth. Sony has a lot of Japanese speakers and they seem to manage just fine.

He should've been either a lawyer or a stock broker. At least all the lies would be accomplishing something instead of making the company look worse.

welcoto
welcoto

I'm loving it :) Nintendo knows just how to hit the warm heart feeling of gaming.

guitarpete462
guitarpete462

I personally feel that the live press conferences are losing their luster. Nintendo's "digital event" wasn't perfect, but I like the versatility it offers. As long as the content is good, I don't care so much about the medium.

Subterfuge71
Subterfuge71

Nintendo are so out of touch with modern gamers, and that is reflected in the failure of the Wii U.

lordgoregore
lordgoregore

Nintendo has been going down hill since the CUBE and they have nothing to show but Zelda for the Pii U right now that's why !

robergelo
robergelo

I didn't even bother to watch the digital event of Nintendo. It didn't feel VIP, it felt like any other Nintendo Direct. Nintendo has lost sight of the main purpose of a gamer and went full casual gamer. E3 Media Briefing is in my eyes one time in a year that you feel that the company gives a crap about you (allthough it isn't true), it's that time of the year that millions of gamers watch online or on tv and hope to hear and see good news. It gives you the feeling like an VIP gamer. Making a digital show is just plain simple and anyone can do it, and it's cheap. I hope Nintendo is the only one going digital cause it can really mean the end of E3 if everyone goes digital

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

I had more fun watching nintendos digitsl event than ive had with any live stage show. Keep it up nintendo.

Mandrew257
Mandrew257

Conference or no conference, Nintendo straight up killed it. We didn't have to hear about sales, people sucking at the game they were presenting *cough* Little Big Planet 3 *cough*, things that had nothing to do with games, zooming out from the trailer just to get a look at the audience in the dark, etc. It was good pace, it was games after games, no bullcrap in between. And the Robot chicken segments were legit funny. Not to mention the Reggie/Iwata fight. Also, the Smash Bros Invitational was probably the hypest event of the year. The only thing I had a problem with was they didn't really focus on 3DS. But as soon as the Digital Event was over, that's exactly what they did. They said they were localizing Fantasy Life, Professor Layton X Ace Attorney etc. Yeah, Nintendo won E3 imo by a landslide. And lol at the people at Microsofts conference cheering that a game is 1080p. Is that really something to get excited about?

OmegaFlare18
OmegaFlare18

I notice "candidly" and "drive the install base" is some of his favorite things to say

leimonides
leimonides

I liked the fact that they really embrace the spirit of what is more-or-less their touchstone; pure, creative, amusing, fun. Even in their more traditional live shows, there was always something that made their presentations more entertaining and less of a chore to sit through; they always had a little something to spice things up. He makes a really, really valid point as far as translations go, but at the same time there are enough ways around that 'hurdle' to where its not that serious of an issue. 


As another commenter suggested; a hybrid of video and live would be a great mix; that way you have the best of both worlds. Even with awesome reveals and what not from Sony and Microsoft, both conferences still have a 'corporate stiffness' to them. Nintendo (and Ubisoft) have conferences that are way more enjoyable to watch, regardless of the actual game reveals and actual relevance to my interest (games that actually interest me are few in number across all conferences, so all conferences have a large amount of content that is mostly uninteresting to me). Plus, Nintendo (and I think also Ubisoft does) gives, more or less, equal time to their titles that they are showing. 


Example, I noticed in the MS show that the few demos that they did show, varied in length. The two shooters got way more time than say Sunset Overdrive. You'll notice that in other spotlight videos on gamespot, such as the stage show for example, that Sunset Overdrive had quite a sizable demo...it is a hell of a lot longer than what was demoed on the live stage. That's just unbalanced and drab. All demos should have about the same amount of time if (although there are some obvious exceptions, such as how far along a game is, ect); the same for trailers (but this will very more depending on the type of game; how story focused, ect). I suppose its not an end-all-be-all type of thing but it is a bit of a negative in my book. 


At the end of the day, Nintendo (and Ubisoft) have more personality in their conferences/presentations and I look forward to watching their conferences (presentation, in Nintendo's case) more so than any other conference. And really, with the Nintendo Directs that have been happening; the switch to the digital presentation is really not all that surprising. Anyway, this year, they had the best showing. 

Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

Mark my words--next year or the year after (when everyone will be less than hyped about this new concept)  Microsoft and Sony are going to try this exact same thing, a "Digital Event" right down to the animated skits. Because when Nintendo makes a move, the other boys follow.

daintyeelcakes
daintyeelcakes

 I enjoyed it, honestly. It was an interesting twist compared to what the other conferences were doing. 


You guys also have to take into consideration of what Reggie said about most of the developers in Nintendo do, in fact, speak Japanese. That kind of presentation makes it easier for their ideas and explanations to come across seamlessly without getting lost in translation.

I respect that Nintendo as a company understands that the majority is viewing their conference via streaming, and caters to their fans with that in mind (That should go without saying that Sony/Microsoft/EA, etc. understands that as well). I am, however, a little torn between sides when it comes to that situation. Because as much as it is a nice touch to involve fans outside of E3, the event is also involving reviewers and developers who did come for that more personal, live approach. A combination of both digital and live would have worked out better, from my viewpoint any way.

But, at the end of the day, it really just comes down to your personal preference in how you enjoy your information being presented to you. I'm glad they took a different approach. And knowing them, Nintendo will take into consideration the reactions had by their decision and plan accordingly for next year. That kind of open mindedness is what makes them a respected company.

Jebril
Jebril

This E3 was actually really hype and mostly because of Nintendo, new Zelda, new Captain Toad game, Smash 4 with GC controllers, and Splatoon looks really awesome. Good job Nintendo, it's a real console kind of game that takes advantage of the idea of split screen and people gathering around a TV to play a game.

adsparky
adsparky

It was a smart move doing that way; They can add something extra like that robot chicken sketches, prevent for some fails to happen like the time the wiimote didn't work with Skyward Sword and definitely it's cheaper. But I hope Nintendo don't do this every year, I would hate to see Sony and Microsoft follow their steps, It can kill the E3.

eva02langley
eva02langley

I don't own any console, but I own a 4k PC.


My top 3 picks is The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid 5 and Mirror's Edge 2, but Nintendo with Smash and Mario Kart are really kicking ass.

eva02langley
eva02langley

Nintendo should have made 50% of their presentation a show. I really enjoyed the Robot Chicken scenes, they were hilarious.

PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

I admit I had a difficult time enjoying the presentation as a whole, but I also admit I went in with tunnel vision and didn't much care about the stuff around the Zelda Wii U trailer. I was relieved to find that the Amiibo thing isn't required to unlock things in game with Smash Bros and I was intrigued by Splatoon but that was it. Not so sure about the three character announcements for Smash, though. The Miis will be a fun addition, but...Palutena just seems iffy (though more female presence on the roster doesn't hurt) and Pac-Man...Pac-Man is a flatout disappointment. It's kind of a cool concept having four old school titans squaring off, but I was sincerely hoping for Lloyd or Kratos from Tales of Symphonia or something from Soul Calibur as both series gave the GameCube some major third-party legitimacy back in the day.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Nintendo killed it this year. As far as I'm concerned they destroyed E3 and didn't even need a live show. All we got from the live shows were awkward pauses and even more awkward silence. Crowds being coerced into applause. Fake attempts at spontaneity and curse words to appear edgy. Terrible timing and jabs at competitors in order to get a rise out of the crowd. etc. etc. Not to mention cameras zooming out to the crowd when they should be focusing on the game trailer. 

No... I think Nintendo has gotten it right for a while now. I also wouldn't be surprised if the others do this in the future as well. 

HelIWithoutSin
HelIWithoutSin

Because streaming live online would force them to technologically advance into 2007.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

I really did love their presentation, it was funny, they are able to laugh at themselves. They showed a lot of good up coming games. I felt it was the best time to buy a Wii U and play their games have actual content that you can unlock which isn't the case of Sony and Microsoft games.


Sony and Microsoft was a PR show like always ... very stiff and showed a lot of obvious games to comes. Nothing wowed me. Seriously Nintendo was a breath of fresh air.

foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

@Subterfuge71 Not all "modern gamers" think gory action games are the driving force of the industry. Some people, especially adults, prefer games that bring them sheer joy and help them escape the gritty realism of the real world.

And the Wii U is failing? Tell that to everyone buying one for MK8. They don't seem to care.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@leimonides I thought ubisoft had the second best conference. My favorite part actually had nothing to do with the conference itself. The part with the rabbids was hilarious! 

remoticons
remoticons

@daintyeelcakes Sony has that as well, and the non japanese CEO's of sony speak japanese so well, that says more than what reggie ever has done. Its not live, so why the english thing would matter i dont know, just listen to Shuhei yoshida, Iwata-san, kazuo hirai etc, i could listen to them all conference.

Open mindedness is more Sony and MS... nintendo is stuck in their own ways, thats why there hasnt been new IP for a long time, and this time it was just a squid game and a washed up THQ game, Nintendo is far to japanese of a company, and that hurts them. 

Jebril
Jebril

@wrestlemaniaw It was far from a fail for me. I'd call Nintendo's presentation a success, they convinced me to sell my old 360 and games to get a Wii U. 

leimonides
leimonides

@bunchanumbers I'm assuming the "fake attempts at spontaneity and curse words to appear edgy" is a reference to Ubisoft's conference, which I don't at all feel was "fake" or done "just to appear edgy". While Nintendo takes the cake in this, Ubisoft is the only other conference to have actual personality and some entertainment value to it (aside from that one hilarious Konami conference from a few years back), so their conference is more entertaining to watch. Everything else however, I greatly agree with, especially the annoying zoom outs from the gameplay to the stage; those were really, really horribly timed/executed. 

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@bunchanumbers Are you for real? I mean thats fine if thats your opinion and all, but while I was really excited for their show, I didnt even get a little bit excited about anything they showed. First of all that pre recorded show, kinda ruins the immersion, then their games were in no way anything new or amazing. Zelda was like the biggest thing on their showing and they didnt even show much, except from some landscape and one trailer that didnt reveal anything really.

remoticons
remoticons

@Coco_pierrot Sony had the most jokes and fun out of everything... obvious games on sony and ms?! you mean nintendo, since they showed what? smash, kirby, zelda, mario etc etc etc... ZZzzzz... 
Lets be honest, nintendo did a great job for their fans... you are a fan.. good for you, but the fresh air came from MS doing a 180 and just doing games games games, and Sony bringing new IP's and a surprise LBP3 this new year with some sillyness on the conference... 

Subterfuge71
Subterfuge71

@foxhound_fox Hold on a second. Who said anything about gory action games being the driving force of the industry? At 42, I happen to be one of those adults you talk about, and gory action games are just as much an escape from the harsh reality of the real world as any other kind of game.

Nintendo are trying to sell the Wii U to the same people who bought the original Wii, but 80% of those customers, who were nothing more than casual gamers, have all moved on to significantly cheaper ways of gaming, via Tablets and Smartphones. Those customers are gone for good, and their Wii's are just gathering dust. My old Super Nes gets used more than my Wii these days. Nintendo need to start attracting more of the non-casual gamer, and I just don't see them doing a very good job of it. If I was to buy a Wii U, I would struggle to find more than five games that I'd want to play on it. The Wii U IS a failure at the moment, and I can't see that changing any time soon. MK8 may have bumped up those sales figures a little, but that won't last long.

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

@remoticons @daintyeelcakes they have made many new IP's, but most of them have been smaller eShop titles rather than full AAA games. Nintendo are releasing new AAA IPs, but they take time to make, and Nintendo would rather take the time to do something properly than release a game early. also, someone needs to make the kid friendly games, we all grew up with Nintendo games, Nintendo games are essentially the training wheels of video games, they teach us the fundamentals of how to play video games, eventually we get to a point where we would prefer games with a bit more meat.

ICHIkatakuri
ICHIkatakuri

Sorry, I have to agree with the crazy fan boy in a way. Sony do good and they had a decent showing, but this was Nintendos year. They didn't have a stage show, they had 4 plus the digital event and two of their stage shows lasted about 9 hours where they didn't just show a squid game but ideas for two new IP's only a couple of months into their inception. Did they look good? No, but they looked interesting. And once again I'm sorry but the Nintendo nut is right, your stereotypical attack on the Nintendo never make any new IP's front is wrong, Disaster Day of Crisis, Wii Sports, Wii Music, Excite Truck, Wii Fit, are the first few I can name off the top of my head for the last gen, I could name more for Gamecube.

timeoutcorner
timeoutcorner

@remoticons @daintyeelcakes  @remoticons @daintyeelcakes open mind more of Sony and MS??? LMFAO o please Nintendo had a show basically all day long, INTERACTED with the gamers on the show room floor spoke with them, had live streams all day with developers on the floor discussing games and mini vids on how games came to, had a freaking COMPETITION from an upcoming game that had WAAAAAy more fan reaction than all conferences combined, Had most games playable at E3 and if you couldn't make it to E3 you could still make it to E3 by playing games from E3 at selected Best Buys...

Now please tell me how is that STUCK IN THEIR OWN ways (okay mabye it is FOR THE BETTER) , And you might want to reevaluate how many New IP's Nintendo has had on their current and past systems because I can easily debunk and show how idiotic of a comment that is, that delusion for some reason many people believe. Its just when Nintendo does get new IP or something new people like you are quick to forget about them as evident with your comment.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@leimonides @bunchanumbers The Ubisoft press conferences have really taken off ever since they got Aisha Tyler to be the host. She plays along, she is funny and spontaneous. She is one of the main reasons why their conferences pop. And she is the star of the Ubisoft conference.

But the cursing she did wasn't necessary. "Hooollleee S***!" "It's 420 up in this B****"  etc.

She killed it otherwise. Her improvisation was spot on and she kept things going and afloat no matter what happened. Sony and MS could have both used an Aisha Tyler. Well Sony moreso. 

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@Acillatem1993 @bunchanumbers See you're talking about the content. You're not talking about the show. Your opinion about the games are your own. I thought what they shown was great and showed more actual gameplay than the other 2 combined. 

And what exactly is so immersive about a live show? Do you feel like you're sitting in the chairs with the rest of them? I bet that by the end almost all of those guys wished they could have just watched a live stream in the comfort of their own homes. Because if they were at home they would have gotten to see the trailers in full screen instead of projected 50+ feet away. 

srwskyflames89
srwskyflames89

@remoticons Sony took cheap shots at Microsoft like they always do with their competition. Sony and Microsoft did a great job for their fans, and you're a fan good for you. But the fresh air came from Nintendo not wasting time telling up useless stats that we didn't ask for. Who cares how many times things were shared on the PS4? Sony's conference nearly put me to sleep. 

Jebril
Jebril

@remoticons @Jebril @wrestlemaniaw I ended up buying the majority of titles I truly enjoyed on Steam and my PC plays these games better than my 360 so I really see no reason why I shouldn't. The majority of next gen titles are coming to PC in superior versions for cheaper.


The Wii U however has real exclusive that I want that I couldn't enjoy on the PC.

Firefoyx
Firefoyx

@remoticons @Jebril @wrestlemaniaw Because everything sony and microsoft makes now i also on pc. The ONLY game that I wanted that is on a ps4 or xbox one is forza and i'm not going to get an xbox one for that.

Currently it just makes the most sense to go PC and wiiu the other consoles have no special exclusives while nintendo has always been about the exclusives. 

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@bunchanumbers @Acillatem1993 Well I love to watch live events from my home, because there are announcements and people cheering and all that. With nintendo it was just a bunch of old dudes talking in japanese and a translator translating stuff and then they showed games. When they showed the new Zelda, I was just looking at the screen, without any kind of excitement.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@Acillatem1993 @bunchanumbers It sounds like you're more interested in what other people are doing than watching the actual content itself. Like you're looking for someone to tell you how to feel. It does sound like live shows are more your speed. 

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@bunchanumbers @Acillatem1993 No of course not, but its E3, the biggest gaming show where there are tons of people and new games being shown. Nintendos show felt like watchin just another episode of nintendo direct

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

@Acillatem1993 @bunchanumbers Well actually they do have a good presence at E3. They are showing tons of stuff its just not done on a live show. They have had a SSB tournament and have had plenty of announcements since the digital event. They have a live stream that I have been watching this whole time. I've seen live demos of games like Bayonetta, Mario VS Donkey Kong Smash etc. etc. You should go to here if you wanna watch live Nintendo stuff. They just got done with a demonstration of Mario Party 10.

http://e3.nintendo.com/treehouse/

Should answer that need for live stuff. Just no crowd reactions. Just people playing upcoming games and talking about it without trying to feed a crowd.

zeldafan195
zeldafan195

@bunchanumbers @Acillatem1993 And the nice thing with the Smash Bros tourney is that the crowd was actually cheering a lot without being coerced. You could tell those people were pumped to see Smash Bros.


That crowd reaction was the best of any e3 live event.