E3 is generally seen as one of the most important events in the video game industry and the place to reveal exciting new games and generate hype. However, in recent years that hype has tapered off some. Companies like Disney, Wargaming, EA, and Activision-Blizzard have chosen to skip the show in recent years, but the biggest shocker came when even Sony pulled out of the 2019 lineup.
Is this the beginning of the end for one of gaming's biggest stages? It's hard to say for sure, but at the moment Nintendo and Microsoft still see it as important. Both companies have confirmed they'll be present at E3 2019, despite Sony's absence, and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has been quite vocal about the show's relevance. In a recent discussion with IGN, Fils-Aime once again lauded the show, calling Nintendo's continued attendance a "no-brainer."
"E3, those five days, is the opportunity for the world to find out what's new for video games as entertainment. And during that time, we generate more engagement than…whether it's CES or Comic-Con, or other big entertainment events. People tune in to find out what's new and to have first playable experiences for our industry. That's why E3 is important to Nintendo."
"Our mentality has been to constantly innovate what we do and how we message at E3. We've innovated in how we utilize our booth space, to create a little piece of Hyrule or to create a little piece of the environment in Super Mario Odyssey, as examples. We innovate in how we deliver our messaging, whether it was the big stage productions or whether it's the Direct communications that we do today.
"And so everyone's watching, we drive innovation, we leverage the elements, so for us it's a very effective opportunity to deliver our message, and therefore it's a bit of a no-brainer for us to participate. Now, what's important as an industry, though, is that E3 in total continues to innovate and it continues to be that leading opportunity to drive consumer engagement in this way. So that's why we participate. That's why I sit on the board of the ESA and help drive some of this thinking. It's important to us." — Reggie Fils-Aime
Reggie went on to discuss Nintendo's strategic approach to E3. Nintendo generally sees it as a good place to announce games that are coming within the next year or so, but there are exceptions to this rule.
"Broadly speaking, we like to talk about games that are closer. Typically, for example, at E3, we'll focus on content maybe extending into the first or second calendar quarter following E3. That is typically our horizon. We believe that works because it's close enough that the fans can be excited and look forward to it. And when we do have an exception and do something different, we're doing it for very specific reasons.
"Maybe we have two experiences within a particular franchise, and we know that one might be maybe a nontraditional representation of that franchise. Or maybe then it's important for us to frame that the more traditional visualization of that franchise is coming. 'Fans, don't worry, but here's something different to tide you over in the meantime.' So that's how we think about it, and how we approach our consumer communication. We want to be near-end. We want to deliver news when it's most meaningful. We don't want to be so far out that the consumer either loses interest, or worse, gets frustrated." — Reggie Fils-Aime
Sony's absence from the show in 2019 doesn't necessarily mean that they're done with it forever, but it does end their streak of attending every single year. It's good to see that Nintendo and Microsoft are still committed to putting on an exciting show this year.