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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.

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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
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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