Why Nintendo Won E3 2014

Playing a different game.

by

When I first heard that Nintendo was forgoing a proper press conference this year in lieu of a video presentation, I was worried. I felt like, without the energy of a crowd, without Reggie Fils-Aime's voice and presence commanding attention in a massive convention hall, there was no way that Nintendo's E3 presentation could compare to the likes of what Sony and Microsoft would be doing. And as it turns out, I do think it's difficult to compare Nintendo's approach to E3 2014 to that of those other companies, and that's exactly why I think Nintendo's presence here at E3 2014 is so vital, and so successful.

There's a sameness, a predictability, to the way that Sony and Microsoft do E3. They play it safe. You always know that their conferences are going to be filled with AAA shooters, and if those press conferences were all you had to go on, you might conclude that video games are overwhelmingly pretty serious and grim. And of course, there's nothing wrong with games that are serious and grim. I really like The Last of Us, and have enjoyed playing through plenty of Call of Duty campaigns over the years. But games can and should be so much more, and while colorful games like Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Abzu made brief appearances at Microsoft's and Sony's conferences, it's Nintendo that takes the most chances.

Their entire presentation felt riskier and livelier than what the other companies did. Rather than having men in suits come out on stage and recite spiels about this game or that corporate vision, Nintendo's comical presentation had some fun with the demands of the company's fans (“Come on, Reggie, give us Mother 3!”), the personas of its characters, and the somewhat gruff image (“You guys thought we wouldn't have a press conference. Not my problem!”) and often-mispronounced name of Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime. From its first moments, the presentation left us feeling like we had no idea what might happen next.

Even if the whole thing had been a disaster, I would have been glad that Nintendo had taken a chance and not done things the way that things are normally done. But it wasn't a disaster at all. It was a mostly entertaining and humorous presentation that, most importantly of all, was packed with games that look decidedly different from what Sony and Microsoft spent most of their time showcasing. It did flag a bit at times; we didn't really need that detailed breakdown of the different Mii fighting styles in Super Smash Bros., after all. But when the amiibos were revealed, I had to simultaneously applaud and curse Nintendo. My longstanding adoration of many Nintendo characters means that this product line could end up putting a serious dent in my bank account, and it's very smart of Nintendo to capitalize on fans' love of Mario, Samus, and the rest of the gang in this way. The technology isn't new, but it seems like the way that Nintendo is planning on using it is new. How exactly is my beloved Mr. Game & Watch going to be able to factor into different games? I don't know, but I look forward to finding out!

The new Link?

Yoshi's Woolly World may or may not be doing anything different in gameplay terms, but the look of it is so charming and inventive that I know I would enjoy just being in its cozy, comfy world. And what the heck did it mean when Tezuka said “There is certainly a key phrase that I have: It's amazing Yoshi!”? I have absolutely no idea, and that made that moment hilarious. From there, the charm kept coming with the reveal of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker before Nintendo stirred our souls with the grand reveal of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U. My dream for the series was that it would go back to the open-world roots of the first game, and I almost can't believe that I'm going to get my wish. While Nintendo could have played it safe and kept giving fans more of the formula that has defined the series for a long time, Aonuma and his team, and Nintendo as a whole, are taking a risk.

After that, Nintendo's presentation was defined by variety. From the fast and demanding action of Bayonetta 2 to the stylus-driven delights of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse to the sweeping role-playing adventure of Xenoblade Chronicles X to the empowering and easy-to-use creation tools of Mario Maker, Nintendo has all sorts of amazing-looking games coming to the Wii U. Their presentation pushed a far more diverse assortment of games than what Sony and Microsoft pushed, and this is vital in a gaming landscape that sometimes feels flooded with serious, mechanically predictable shooters. Even when Nintendo did bring out a shooter, it was neither serious nor mechanically predictable. I thought I was all shootered out after Monday's press conferences, but Splatoon demonstrated that a fresh coat of paint (ha!) can make a game in that crowded genre look fresh, innovative, and fun.

Call me a sap, but I admit I was a bit touched by Reggie's little story about loving Super Mario World, and about how “Nintendo game creators share one belief: there's nothing wrong with having a little fun.” I think the company's entire presentation demonstrated that it's more than willing to have a little fun. Rather than going toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is playing its own game. And we're all better off for it.

Catch up on GameSpot's full E3 opinion round up right here.

Discussion

292 comments
chyng85
chyng85

Good job Nintendo~!

Full of ideas~ 

phantomblackedg
phantomblackedg

I like Nintendo exclusives and cant say iv played many games outside of Nintendo developed games that hold any form of longevity. Most people arguing the Wii U is a flop is missing the big picture. I will buy a Ps4 and I will have a Wii U. The Wii U is a console that goes good with any other consoles and I can see a lot of gamers having a Wii U and a xbox 1 or ps4. Much like many gamers had a Wii and a ps3 or xbox. Its a great little machine with great first party games and maybe its not your primary machine to play on but I can see the appeal to play on more then one machine. In my dream world however nintendo would merge with sony and make nintendo exclusives on sony consoles but thats just a dream in reality il have both machines and I will be equally satisfied

gamersince78
gamersince78

It would be a great study to try and understand why Nintendo sells so well in Asian markets, while so poorly in North American and European Markets. I don't know anyone that has a Nintendo system, dating back to the game cube.


I look at the numbers of consoles being sold, and it baffles me. Can anyone point me to an article about this phenomenon.


I would love to have a look, likely a great read.


Does Nintendo even make a dent in NA or EU markets?


Like most people my age (35 sadly...haha), we grew up on Nintendo (mmmm contra, Zelda, etc), but once Genesis came around, that started to flag a bit for me personally, then xbox and playstation showed up and that was kind of it for me and Nintendo.


I really miss Zelda, but I wont buy a system for one game, and other than that title and Mario, what other great games are there? I am not being condescending, I really have no idea, haven't kept up with Nintendo. All the games I ever see are some sort of derivative of Mario games, like Yoshi spin offs, Toad Spins offs, etc.


I wish Nintendo would make Zelda a universal console release, I would love to dig in to one of those games again...sadly I think that is a wish that will never be realized.


Such great memories on that system.

Pikminmaniac
Pikminmaniac

The strongest aspect of Nintendo's E3 presence this year was definitely their treehouse presentations. They had 3 days straight of gameplay presentations showcasing all their games extensively. With the single exception of Zelda, every single game they showed and revealed had gameplay to be shown which is much more than can be said about the other companies at the show.


In a year that's mostly barren for the other two new consoles' first years, Nintendo's Wii U continues to be the only console with the games to support it.

rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

Release all the good games you want Nintendo, it doesn't matter if you don't have all those sought after big third party titles. The Wii U is that second console you get behind an X1/PS4/PC, and that's only if you are a diehard Nintendo old school fan, or 7. Love or hate it, this is FACT.

widdowson91
widdowson91

I thought Nintendo had a really strong showing. I was surprised by the announcement of a new IP. That's something I didn't think I'd see.

ENVYotb73
ENVYotb73

Ok..so the wii u has these apparently good to great sales but Im left with the same question I always have with Nintendo....where are all the games?!

I get that nintendo fans find their own unique satisfaction out of nintendos ..um...offerings and its great for all the households who have a wii and 2 games for the kiddies but face it, nintendo has become a novelty item for most households.

Seriously, even if you actually were interested in their particular brand of gaming only, theres still not enough released to satiate any game enthusiast.

Zelda looks awesome but thats a loongg ways off and idk about starfox if they are rushing it.

Im sorry kids but you throw Kirby up against even xbox 360 or ps3 games and it simply does not compete. Im glad nintendo has its fans and if thats your thing, props but honestly..

I REALLY DONT GET YOU FOLKS AT ALL.

mlp_niall
mlp_niall

The Wii U is only going to get better folks, Xenoblade X, new Zelda, Starfox, Mario Maker and more on the way!!


Gornitzka
Gornitzka

I admire Nintendo. I really do. They are the reason I am a gamer today. But I have to say the Wii U is a flop. Most of the people I know who have a PS or Xbox don't even know the thing exists. To win E3 you have to show the masses something they all want, and unfortunately for Nintendo, the masses don't own Wii Us.

raziel2kain
raziel2kain

for me, both ms and sony conferences were boring. then it came to nintendo, i wasn't optimistic. but from start to finish it was superb. 

the best nintendo show/live in recent years with no bs about being creative on ds wii 3ds wiiu. just great games.

one and only blatantly stupid move was devil third exclusivity !!!

raziel2kain
raziel2kain

I made my mind. i'll buy wiiu 1st, then ps4, then maybe x1

chieflion
chieflion

Nintendo won when they showed Zelda. 


For forty seconds i witnessed reason to buy a wii u, and at the end of this month i may do just that

nintendians
nintendians

I say Nintendo won e3, with or without smash bros. for wii u/3ds. sony was a little better than Microsoft cause I like the uncharted series and m$ show me nothing that I like.

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

The presentation alone didn't help Nintendo win E3, imo. It was the Smash Invitational that followed which gave them that. Certainly made E3 more exciting to wait for.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Xenoblade looked awesome, but wanted to see more gameplay.  Still trying to decide what free game to get with Mario Kart 8.  Narrowed it down to Zelda or Pikman 3. 

Darth_Aloysius
Darth_Aloysius

I think the execution was very well done, but the games aside from the brief look at Zelda were sorta boring...

kimjong-un
kimjong-un

Nintendo Direct best way to show games at E3. Fight between Mr. Reggie and Mr. Iwata so funny had me laughing until hyperventilating. Great exclusives Mario Maker best.

yam2010
yam2010

Wait.... NINTENDO IS STILL MAKING CONSOLES?

am_h8ter_ade
am_h8ter_ade

I know Nintendo needs to get the Wii U going therefore focused on Wii U, but, seriously, the 3DS is dying in 2014. Where are the games?

zeldafan195
zeldafan195

I think having a digital presentation is better in almost every way. They are able to show their stuff much more efficiently without having to wait through those awkward silences trying to encourage applause.

turbojacket
turbojacket

I'm 30. I've played videogames since I was 5 years old. I have vowed to never buy another Call of Duty/Halo/Destiny/Gears of War, or what-the-hell ever else junk FPS keeps getting churned out by the big companies. I've never had as much fun as Mario 3D World, DK: Tropical Freeze, or Mario Kart 8. Nintendo is the only company who can keep their IP's alive for so long and it never feel stale. Hell I even love Mario Golf for my 3DS. They allow their classics to define them, and that's a good thing. I still love my PS4, but in the end, I'll always buy Nintendo's consoles. They never cease to be fun to play, and that's what it's all about.

soldanx
soldanx

You are completely misinformed your comment makes no sense.

The wii was a HUGE success and outsold tje ps3 for twoand a half years while the DS is the most successful systems ever and broke all the markets records.

In fact statistically the vast majority of people who play videogames own at least one nintendo system, but only half of them own a playstation or xbox, which means most people own a ps4 OR xbox AND a wii or ds. While you might think people prefer Call of Duty, modt of us actually like both and play both.

I own a 360 but also a wii, and while i own and play a vast majority of 360 games, i was more than happy to give money for xenoblade, zelda, mario and metroid and i own about 20 games. And i am certainly not the only one.

You also forget the HUGE success in western countries of just dance and wii fit, these were real cash machines.

Only the recent 3Ds and wii u are not that successfull, although the 3DS is starting to catch up.

kambion313
kambion313

@gamersince78 You don't know anyone with a Nintendo system dating back to Gamecube?  This can't possibly be. Wii outsold xbox and playstation in western markets, after all.

mr_snout
mr_snout

@gamersince78 Super Mario 3d World, Wonderful 101, Pikmin, New Super Mario Brothers, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze are all great exclusives.  Rayman Legends- the definitive version is the Wii U with its use of the gamepad.  If you have kids, Wii Party U, Game & Wario, NintendoLand are all great party games.  I'm guessing you missed out on Wind Waker, so the HD remake is pretty awesome.


In the pipeline- Smash Bros., Bayonetta, Star Fox, Zelda Wii U, Splatoon, Hyrule Warriors, Sonic Boom, plus a few others.  There's some cool indy games and I have four shooters in Call of Duty Black Ops, Splinter Cell, Deus Ex and Mass Effect 3.  That's easily enough for me.

mario1028
mario1028

@gamersince78 You must not know very many people. The Wii and DS sold like hotcakes around the world, including NA and EU...in fact, I believe Wii is still the number one console worldwide for last gen. Just because their games-which are a lot more varied then what you apparently realize-don't appeal to you anymore doesn't mean they don't appeal for anyone else. Like you, I am an older gamer, but I've found the opposite is true...I grew out of the shooter phase and find Nintendo games hold more appeal to me now. They're colorful, which is hard to find on other platforms, but most of all they're fun. They put smiles on people's faces.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@rickphoenixxx

No, this is your own narrow-minded and biased OPINION, the only FACT you listed is that the Wii U is lacking in major 3rd party titles, but considering that Nintendo has the best selling 1st party titles around, this has carried them for the longest time and that does matter. Sure it may not be the best selling console of this generation, but who says that's always the goal? The goal is to just sell as many consoles as possible, not to "beat" the competition. 

Spinner198
Spinner198

@ENVYotb73 Where are all the games?

You mean besides pikmin 3, animal crossing: new leaf, mario kart 8, new super mario bros U/luigi U, wind waker, nintendo land, donkey kong country: tropical freeze, mario party 10, hyrule warriors, zelda U, xenoblade chronicles 2, bayonetta 2, splatoon, yoshi's woolly world, kirby: rainbow curse and freaking super smash bros? Not to mention the starfox title they are working on and the promises of both 2D and 3D style metroid games in the future? I guess the Wii U really doesn't have any games, as long as you ignore all the games.

What xbox and ps3 games are you talking about anyway? More assassins creed, halo and CoD? Yet people complain about Nintendo rehashing mario?

mario1028
mario1028

@ENVYotb73 LOL, the Wii U right now has a better and more impressive library of games than either of the other two consoles. Full stop. Their first party stuff is top notch, and right up there with the tired shooter rehashes on the other platforms.


abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@ENVYotb73

Ever considered that there are gamers who can make their games last for months or there are gamers who don't ONLY play videogames as a hobby?


For me personally, 1 game every month or 2 is enough, especially since I have a rather large backlog of games that I have trouble going through (doesn't help that 1/3 of them are JRPGs). Couple that with videogames being 1 of 4 different hobbies of mine which also don't include the number of activities I do on top of going to work/school.


I think it's funny when people use terms like "let's face it" as if you believe you're absolutely correct. Sorry you can't comprehend that people have different preferences and different situations, maybe if you stopped and considered all of these things, you wouldn't be making such a dimwitted post.

mlp_niall
mlp_niall

@Gornitzka The Wii U a flop?

Wii U sales - 6.17 Million

Xbox one sales - Estimated 5 million, the lowest of next gen consoles

Also saying that your friends barely know the console exists is pretty exaggerated to be honest.

When the latest exclusives come out  them sales are going to sky-rocket the Wii U to the top and may even surpass the impressive PS4 sales.

coldsilfur4
coldsilfur4

@Gornitzka Sorry but thats not really true.. your opinion is a little bit "yesterday"

When it comes to sales the Wii U sells much better than the Xbox One at the moment.

Global Sales from last Week: PS4: 202k consoles, Wii U: 187k consoles, Xbox One: 57k consoles (vgchartz). Mario Kart 8 was sold 1,2 Million times in only(!) three days.


The total number of Wii U consoles is also bigger than from the Xbox One (of course due to its earlier release). but the current sales of Wii U are really good. Mario Kart 8 is on the top of the amazon charts in many countries.
 (place 1 in the US).


The UK is just an exception. No love for the wii u in the UK

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Gornitzka

Strange logic you got there considering the Wii U lifetime sales are inbetween the PS4/XBoxOne, being much closer to the PS4 sales than the XBoxOne's, granted the system came out a year earlier but saying "the masses don't own Wii Us" is a rather silly statement since the same holds true for the PS4/XBoxOne and it's unlikely the XBoxOne will catch up to the other 2 any time soon. 


"Most of the people I know" that's where the major flaw in your logic lies. So what? I can easily counter saying that everyone I know who's a gamer or at least interested in videogames knows what a Wii U is, many of which are either intrigued or own one. 

jmizzal
jmizzal

@Rayzakk They showed a bunch of gameplay of Xenoblade X on treehouse live, over an hours worth, plus IGN had a 30 mins handon

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

@Rayzakk if you don't already own WW HD i would get that, it's essentially a tech demo for what Zelda U will play like in how the gamepad will be utilized, and it's an amazing game.

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

@kimjong-un and the Robot Chicken sketches were hilarious. when that went on at first i was confused because it's Robot Chicken, then i rolled with it because it was awesome. i hope Nintendo does more of that in the future, as well as more Nintendo Tree House live streams afterwards.

dniv
dniv

@am_h8ter_ade Well... Tomodachi Life is like the best thing ever and that came out this past Friday. There are the Pokemon Game Remakes (with new stories and other mechanics); there is Project S.T.E.A.M. (even if that is 2015 it's huge). There's Bravely Second whenever that comes out (and I think it's supposed to release yearly...) They have Super Smash Bros 3ds which should also be really fun. Even then, this system is already the best system of 2014... so it has tons of third-party support that no one has to worry about disappearing. This ensures that we'll get a lot of good non-Nintendo games even other than the ones that I already mentioned, soon enough. 


There are also other projects that they are obviously saving for next E3... They have the Majora's Mask sequel/remake (for 3ds or Wii U...); the 2D and 3D metroid games that they teased; and they can always just localize (maybe) some of the games from Japan that haven't come here yet because as long as they didn't have to pay too much to do it, it'd be a way to provide more good games, at not too much expense/effort from them.


Anyway, I'm excited overall at Nintendo's efforts.

mr_snout
mr_snout

@turbojacket Exactly.  Granted, I haven't played games since the mid 90s for the most part.  But I've never had as much fun playing video games as I've had with my Wii U. I'm going to get 100 hours on MK8 by the end of the summer, and DKTF, even tho I suck at it, is a lot of fun.  I'll play that for years at the pace I'm going.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

@turbojacket  I fell out of love with all the FPS games at about halo 3 i thought gears was fun but then it seemed to get to online focused. as much as i love nintendo they lost me during the n64 time, but then all systems lost me then. was not  till the dream cast came out did i get back into gaming. just to be clear i have all the systems nintendo made still to this day and they all still work

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@coldsilfur4 I think there might be a bit of a rise in Xbox One sales since people most likely held off on buying them until the Kinect-less $400 version was available.

Gornitzka
Gornitzka

@coldsilfur4@abHS4L88 You are both correct. I retract my statement. The numbers still baffle me, but they also don't lie. Best wishes.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

@jmizzal @Rayzakk I'll have to check it out then.  I'm expecting something like the first Xenoblade but would prefer turn based, but know that's on the way out except on handhelds.  ADHD crowd need their action fix. 

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

@keichimorisato9 @Rayzakk I played it long ago on NGC so was on the fence about whether I wanted to try something new but I think Zelda is the best choice still.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Spinner198

Lol, of course they do and from what I can tell is really the only thing setting apart the PS4 and XBoxOne, albeit Sony has a much stronger and more diverse line up of 1st party titles compared to Microsoft.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Gornitzka

They could be better but I have the feeling that this generation will see far less hardware sales than previous generations due to the massive rise of tablets and PC gaming. 

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

@Rayzakk @keichimorisato9 yeah, there really isn't anything you haven't done in the game that you haven't played already. if you want something entirely new, i would recommend Pikmin 3, since it's an entirely new game and the gamepad is used in an interesting way, though you can still play the game like how it was played on the GCN or the Wii if you don't want to use the gamepads touch screen, though i have found it incredibly useful.

coldsilfur4
coldsilfur4

@abHS4L88

Well i think the PS4 is on a good way to sell really well. when you take into consideration that the PS3 sold really bad in the beginning and now has 80Million sold consoles... And on the contrary the PS4 having problem at the start that they havent produced enough consoles.. its a clear speech.. i think the PS4 will be more successfull than the PS3..


In PS3 era Microsoft was a little more successful, while now the PS4 seems to be the clear winner.


 The Wii U will land around the numbers of a gamecube (24M) or N64 (34M) which is fine for me. 

And PC gaming isnt on the rise... its a decreasing while consoles are rising. and tablet games cant compete with games like Halo, The Division, Zelda etc... because of controls.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@coldsilfur4

Sales have slowed down for the PS4 and while they're still good, I think in the long run, none of the consoles will hit the same 70-80m mark the PS3/360 did. I see them all hitting around 40-50m.


I don't know, consoles are becoming more like PCs so many are beginning to see the appeal of PC gaming over consoles while I included tablets because for many adults who just gamed occasionally and children (which also made up a huge chunk of the PS3/360 sales) are now satisfied with Android/iOS. It's why we can't expect the 3DS and Vita to reach the numbers the DS and PSP did.