Although we take it for granted today, Nintendo Direct was revolutionary when it premiered in 2011. The Big N’s biggest personalities, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Reggie Fils-Aimé, and the late Satoru Iwata let us know about what was in the pipeline and created an art form out of a hype show. By connecting directly with fans online, Nintendo has been able to make game announcements in a venue that everyone could appreciate while tightly controlling the narrative and style. However, as Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa observes, Directs may not be around forever.
Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting, Furukawa talked about the future of product announcements (translated by Video Games Chronicle):
We feel Nintendo Directs are an incredibly effective way to present information directly to our customers in a very straight-forward way. Inversely, times change and so does the most effective way to promote products, so there is a chance that a new, better way to present this information comes about. So we always like to examine all of the possible ways to communicate this information to customers.
So while this doesn’t mean the Nintendo Direct presentation is going away anytime soon, it does mean that the company is open to alternate routes. It might not be the worst time to do so either. This year’s E3 Direct has been canceled, and we’re still waiting on news regarding Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, the next Super Smash Bros. character, the Breath of the Wild sequel, and the heavily rumored Super Mario 35th anniversary celebration. With staff working from home, it would be difficult to film and edit a cohesive program that would capture the feel that Nintendo is known for, so an alternative could be born from this adversity.
While I’m looking forward to whatever comes next, Nintendo Direct is an amazing way to hype the fans. Reports say we could be waiting as long as till late August or September for another to come along though.