Nintendo Skipping Big E3 Press Conference, Holding Smaller Events Instead

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As part of Nintendo‘s recent fiscal year-end report, Nintendo president — and newly appointed CEO of Nintendo of America — Satoru Iwata revealed that The Big N will not hold a traditional press conference at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Instead, the company plans to hold two closed events at E3 — one for American distributors, and another hands-on preview for Western gaming media.

A transcript of Iwata’s comments about Nintendo’s E3 plans reads in part:

“In the past we invited reporters, investors and analysts, industry partners, such as software publishers, and distributors who attended E3 to our large-scale presentations… I believe that many are expecting us to host a similar event this year.”

“… we decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past.”

“Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market. There will be one closed event for American distributors, and we will hold another closed hands-on experience event, for mainly the Western gaming media. Also, I did not speak at last year’s presentation, and I am not planning to speak at these events at the E3 show this year either. Apart from these exclusive events for visitors, we are continuing to investigate ways to deliver information about our games directly to our home audience around the time of E3. We will share more information about them once they have officially been decided.”

“During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience, including those who are at this financial briefing, mainly focusing on the software that we are going to launch in Japan, and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well.”

While it may seem a bit crazy for Nintendo to skip out on holding a big E3 press conference, this is actually a pretty wise move on their part. Both Sony and Microsoft have new hardware to show off at E3, and the vast majority of media attention will be focused on their next-generation consoles. Nintendo has little chance of getting noticed when compared to those announcements, and it would be a waste of time and money to try and upstage the competition.

Aside from the obvious financial benefits of not holding an E3 press conference, Nintendo will also be able to focus and better distribute information about their products at these smaller events — much like they did with their Nintendo 3DS event at E3 2012.

Finally, Nintendo is always at their best when they buck industry trends and forge their own path. For better or worse, at this point their hardware (the Wii U and 3DS) is pretty much set in stone for the next several years. With that in mind, it makes sense to try something different and unexpected in how they get their message out. After all, why try and take on Sony and Microsoft through direct head-to-head marketing, when it is easier and cheaper to just go around them.