Can we just stop for a moment to appreciate the fact that Nintendo used the muppets to launch their e3 digital conference? Yes that’s right, for a glorious three minutes we were treated to the Nintendo team like we’d never seen them, getting a glimpse into their minds and also offices. Said important Nintendo people, otherwise known as their CEO and President Satoru Iwata, American COO and President Reggie Fils-Amie and General Manager of awesome, that would be Shigeru Miyamoto.
It gets even better though, the muppets then turn into slightly disturbing animals (Reggie makes a fantastic bird) in front of our eyes and we are launched into the first game – Star Fox Zero. I’m not going to recap it for you, (you can find one here) but what I will say is this – the muppets were probably the highlight for me. Nintendo does some cool things, and it does those things well. It knows the games that bring in the crowds and makes the most of the 3DS and the WiiU platforms, Star Fox Zero and the re-imaging of Hyrule Warriors are great examples of this particular skill. I’ll admit to being a little bit too excited about the Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer, it really was one of my favourite parts of the game.
Nintendo tell us they are about transformation, and while Mario is a very good example I’m not seeing a huge amount of transformation in what they’ve offered us. The Amiibo has become a star for them, and it is only going to get bigger, but it leaves me worried that instead of complementing and adding content to an already complete game the Amiibo will increasingly replace it. Like the rise of the in-app purchase, Amiibo could be the next thing to turn gamers off if it’s not handled well. Am I saying Nintendo will resemble a toy store in the coming years? Maybe not, but I am offering a warning not to push us away by moving away from innovative new games and relying on fan favourites and collectibles to get by. Nintendo can do great things, but the lack of substance in their presentation has myself and I’m sure others wondering what’s really coming next.
Ultimately Nintendo brought us some fun trailers, bright colours and a few surprises but it was missing a knock out blow, for those of us who love Nintendo, we will keep doing so, but I can’t imagine any of the announcements will persuade those yet to fall in love with the platform.