E3: OPINION: Nintendo’s E3 2012 Press Conference Review

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

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Please note, the following opinions are my own and do not represent Operation Rainfall.

E3, for a lot of gamers, is like having your birthday, Christmas and any other celebratory day all rolled into one. Nothing tops the level of hype and excitement during the weeks leading up to E3, as we all try to speculate and predict just what will be shown during the convention. And the biggest moments of E3, that everyone looks forward to, are the press conferences delivered by the big gaming companies themselves, such as: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Over the years, there have been many shocks, surprises and disappointments delivered by the aforementioned big three, with fanboys arguing over which company ‘won’ that year and which company ‘failed’. It’s generally quite obvious when a company delivers a mind-blowing press conference, but it’s even more, painfully, obvious when they don’t. It happens every year, one company will always impress while another will always disappoint; and it’s no different for E3 2012 as one company, in my opinion, severely let me down.

That’s right, even though I consider myself to be a huge Nintendo fan, it pains me to say that Nintendo’s E3 2012 press conference was, by far, the most disappointing conference they have ever delivered.

You okay? I haven’t caused you to implode have I? Good, moving on.

Now I know what you’re going to say: “But David, what about their 2008 showing? You know, the one with Wii Music.”

Yes, their 2008 conference was terrible, but it happened halfway through the Wii’s life, so I wasn’t really expecting a ton of announcements. Also it provided us with some of the more hilarious Internet memes; Ravi Drums anyone? In addition, lets not forget that 2008 also saw the debut of Wii Speak with a new Animal Crossing, which was, y’know, nice *cough*.

Ravi Drums. Aww, look at that face.


However, that was then and this is now.

Last year, Nintendo unveiled the Wii U which received a somewhat underwhelming reaction, although it was hardly surprising. No official games were shown for it and some even questioned whether or not it was actually a new console or just a new controller for the current Wii system. However, Nintendo did state one thing that caught a lot of peoples attention; they said that the focus of the Wii U will be brought back to the core gamer and that they are working hard on developing games that will appeal to us.  They also emphasised the fact that they’re putting all their efforts to include as many third-party developers as possible. It certainly was refreshing to hear, but I knew we would have to wait a whole year before we could see any evidence of Nintendo’s statements.

Well, that year has arrived, and did Nintendo deliver? No! Now I will admit that it wasn’t all-bad, they started off with Pikmin 3, which looked gorgeous in HD, and immediately excited me into wanting to get my hands on it straight away. The new Rock Pikmin looked awesome, the environments looked familiar but exciting, the inclusion of four playable characters boosted my interest into wondering what the, ‘inevitable’, online play would be like; but this is where things started to go downhill. There was no mention of Pikmin 3’s online mode; in fact there was no mention of any kind of multiplayer whatsoever. “Maybe they’ll save all the online and Nintendo Network stuff for later in the show”, I said to myself, but I couldn’t help feeling apprehensive about the lack of online talk.

Pikmin 3 looks gorgeous, but will it have an online mode?


As the conference progressed, my heart started sinking as we were introduced to: Scribblenauts Unlimited, New Super Mario games U, New Super Mario Bros 2, SiNG, Wii Fit U and Just Dance 4. My interest peaked quite a bit with the demonstration of ZombiU; but was instantly crushed by Nintendo’s BIG game announcement, Nintendo Land. No words can describe the utter disappointment I felt as they spent the final 15 minutes talking about a mini-game collection set around a theme park environment. In fact, rather than say it with words I’ve put my level of excitement, throughout the conference, in a fancy graph form:

My heart, it hurts.


What has happened to my beloved Nintendo? I gave them major props, last year, for admitting their mistakes with the Wii, but it just seems they’re repeating the same mistakes again, and adding new ones. This was their big chance, their chance to show off what the Wii U could do, to demonstrate a whole bunch of awesome looking third party titles, rather then showing a short montage video. It was their chance to give us all the details on their new online service. It was their chance to show the core gamers and their fans that they mean business and that the Wii U will excite us, but they didn’t. When Ubisoft’s 10 minute showing of their Wii U titles out performs the entire Nintendo conference, then you know something is seriously wrong.

Where was F-Zero? Where was Starfox? Where was Retro Studio’s game? I’m sure they’re coming, but this conference was THE conference that they should’ve been showcased. It boggles the mind that they thought Nintendo Land was a great way to end the show.

I know I’m not alone with my reaction to their E3 presentation and I seriously hope Nintendo are aware of how disappointed their fans are. We will ever have a moment like this again?

They have some serious damage control to do over the next couple of months, if they want to convince me to buy a Wii U at launch, I really and truly hope they’re listening. Roll on E3 2013.

No thanks.


Do you agree with my rant? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments below, and remember this is just my opinion.




About David Rawlings

David Rawlings, or ‘Rawky’ as we like to call him, joined the Operation Rainfall Campaign at the beginning. He’s British and found solace with us as he was able to understand our pain about Nintendo and their localizing faux pas. He’s a big fan of the letter ‘U’ and refuses to remove them from words, even though we constantly ask him to. He also believes it’s about time Princess Daisy got kidnapped.

  • Light_Wolf

    I think the Wii U will be alright. I actually think Nintendo Land will be a great game. But yeah, that conference was incredibly dissapointing.
    I understand they wanted to keep focus on launch window games, but… why? If they had at least shown ONE big game trailer at the end (Metroid, 3D Mario, Star Fox, Retro’s Game), even if it’s years away, it would’ve been a great way to generate hype for the new console.
    I’m confident there are great games coming (at least 1st party, they never dissapoint), and maybe it’s for the best that they’re secret for a while so they don’t get overhyped. But man, this conference was utter crap.

    • Do you remember Project Hammer?  That game was shown off years before it was ready.  Eventually bigger and better projects took over, and Project Hammer was dropped.  For all we know, Project P-100 may have been built from the remnants of what was once Project Hammer.

  • The conference itself was incredibly underwhelming, but I still concede that 2008 was worse. Had Pikmin 3 been shown at the end instead of Nintendo Land, I think that the presser would’ve been much better received.

  • I would have to disagree.  They showed off core games right off the bat, and they showed off what the investors wanted to see (mass-appeal games like NintendoLand) later.  They also highlighted games that third parties have made on other systems, yes, but improved for the Wii U to stand alongside first party titles (Ninja Gaiden, Batman Armoured, Creed).

    Nintendo can’t go announcing new iterations of all of their franchises at once.  For one thing, splitting up their resources to have the full historical Nintendo-lineup at launch would pretty much kill third party game sales.  For another, If you’re a Nintendo fan, then you already know those games are in development (Mario, Zelda, and Dragon Quest for launch window third party RPGs), or WHY they are not (Star Fox, Earthbound).  You don’t need Nintendo to announce them at an E3.  They’ll be announced when they are far enough in development to show off and look [almost] complete.  If that happens to be at or near an E3, then so be it.

    I’d have to say this was one of Nintendo’s most balanced E3 shows, showing off games that would impress investors while some of those just happen to catch by surprise the gamers who keep up on news sites.

  • I’d give Nintendo as a whole a C. If only because they put my FE fears to rest.

  • InterBoy85

    Totally agree…  I’ve been a Nintendo fan all my life, but seeing how awesome games (mostly hardcore) kept coming to PS360 and not Wii disappointed me, though I had some hope all this will change with the Wii U. I was wrong, I cant believe they didnt learn from their lessons. After watching Nintendo’s E3 conference I can say Wii U is NOT a next gen console. They developed a gamepad with a RESISTIVE touch screen?  Are you serious? Even the cheap mobiles come nowadays with CAPACITIVE (multi touch) screen, and I know this is a small detail that may not affect the overall gaming experience, but come on, this tells a lot about them and their “innovation” which is nothing. I decided to not spend any cent on Nintendo anymore. They just lost the console war and a loyal fan.

    • Kai

      “After watching Nintendo’s E3 conference I can say Wii U is NOT a next gen console.”

      Why not? It is being released much later than the previous group of consoles. Too late to be considered part of the same generation. This is a console that is doing something completely different to anything else before it. You admit yourself that a lack of a multi-touch screen isn’t a big deal. So why, then, are you so disappointed that you have decided never to buy another Nintendo product?

  • The only reason that I could come up with for them not blowing our minds at E3 this year, would be that they’re planning on a giant conference of their own, one they don’t have to share with Sony and Microsoft. Were they could unveil Retro’s project, Zelda 3DS, Zelda U, and talk about Nintendo Network. Maybe even more. Or maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic

    • Count another hopeless romantic in your corner @Ben David. They’ll talk also about a Kirby 3DS game and maybe about Monolith Soft’s Wii U and 3DS projects to make it even more of a thumbs up show.

    •  That WOULD be typical of Nintendo M.O.: Create a show all their own, for the GAMERS (not the investors), and show off their big stuff with all eyes on Nintendo.

  • This review was right on the money, and yeah, you’re definitely not alone.  Even before I watched this disappointment myself I read almost nothing but outrage about it.  I don’t know how anybody can say with a straight face that they learned from their mistakes with the 3DS and Wii; they’re doing the exact same thing, relying too heavily on hardware gimmicks (which, admittedly, are intriguing) instead of pushing a killer first party title (sorry, Nintendo Land and Mario U are just not gonna do it for me).  Oh well, hopefully this next year brings some pleasant surprises…

  • obviously they didn’t lose a loyal fan. For some reason I think this is just big talk from you and ur gonna end up getting it anyway

  • Kai

    I disagree with a lot of this article. The first thing is this sentence:

    “…some even questioned whether or not it was actually a new console or just a new controller for the current Wii system.”

    I’m pretty sure NO ONE questioned that. It was incredibly obvious from Nintendo’s press conference last year that they were revealing a brand new console that could, unlike the Wii, support HD games.

    The next thing is your disappointment with Pikmin 3’s lack of online multiplayer. Why does EVERYTHING have to have online play nowadays? It seems, since the rise of the internet in gaming, people have forgotten how to invite their friends over to their house. Pikmin certainly isn’t suited to online play, and I’m glad Nintendo aren’t wasting time and resources on it.

    You, like many other people it seems, were holding out so badly for some kind of violent, adult experience on the Wii U that you’d go for anything regardless of the information revealed about it. At this stage, ZombiU looks like nothing more than an HD Red Steel, and I have no idea why people are so excited about it. Yes, it’s nice that there is a FPS on the Wii U, and it’s cool that it has asymmetric multiplayer and makes use of the GamePad. But the way everyone is going on about it makes it seem like it is a contender for Game of the Year. I highly doubt that ZombiU will be the fantastic experience everyone is expecting and I’ll definitely be waiting to find out more about the story and level design before I start posting “ZOMBIU LOOKS AMAZIING” all over the internet.

    I also don’t understand why everyone is so depressed about the lack of games shown. They were never going to show a Zelda at E3 this year. Skyward Sword was released, like, six months ago. Did you really think they would have spent enough time working on the next one that they could present something to the press this year? This is Nintendo we’re talking about. We don’t need them to hold our hands and constantly assure us that the game is coming along. They aren’t going to suddenly cancel development. I don’t understand why showing a Zelda game would convince anyone else to buy a Wii U, either. The only people who like Zelda are Nintendo fans, and they should know that there will be at least two Zelda games released for this console, and that the first is currently being worked on. It will be ready when it is ready. This goes for all of the big franchises people were expecting to see at E3.

    As for Retro Studios’ project, if you’ve been paying attention to Wii U news over the last couple of days, you’ll know that Nintendo have agreed not to reveal anything more because the development team wish to keep it a secret. We know they are working on something. We know it is not yet finished. Why are we all disappointed that nothing more has been revealed? Forcing developers to rush for media events is never a good thing.

    I agree that Nintendo’s E3 press conference was underwhelming, and that it could have been better, but I reject the notion that it was somehow a “failure” as so many people have been keen to point out. There were a lot of positives to take out of it, and I think we are also forgetting that they revealed MiiVerse, in a “pre-E3” announcement, the day before. If they had revealed it during the press conference, I’m sure everyone would have considered it a success.

    • Sad to say, there were some people who thought it was a Wii peripheral.  They certainly did their best to make it look like that, demonstrating it alongside Wii things like Wii Fit and the Zapper.

    • Kai

      But there were plenty of images displaying both the GamePad AND the Wii U console. I really don’t understand how people could get confused over such an obvious thing.

    • A lot of people did at first, not saying everyone, but there was a fair bit of confusion when they unveiled the Wii U last year. Even Iwata admitted that the unveiling was confusing for some.

    •  It may be obvious to most of us, but a lot of the general public was confused, and it was one of the reasons there were rumors flying around about a name change.  Keep in mind that a significant portion of the Wii’s audience is not considered “core” gamers by most analysts, and they might not have caught on to the fact that it was a completely new console because of Nintendo’s focus on the Gamepad over the console itself.

    • Kai

      People who are not “core gamers” generally don’t pay any attention to E3; I’m not convinced by your argument.

    • The reason that the nintendo conference was a failure was because it did not persuade many people who were not going to but the wii u anyway into purchasing one. Sure, maybe a family here or there will say “wow! nintendoland is like a virtual kid heaven!” but core gamers do not really want that. I absolutely LOVE pikmin and thought it looks great. But how many people is that going to influence? People who enjoy RTS’s. Which is not that many. No specs, price, or outstanding games were shown, meaning hype for the system is low.

    • Kai

      I think it’s quite unfair to expect a company to convince millions of people their product is a must-have in less than two hours. There’s still plenty of time before the Wii U’s release for Nintendo to convince people they need it on the first day. They’ve released a steady stream of information since their E3 press conference, and I’m sure we’ll see some more interesting titles announced once they’re closer to completion.

  • Thank you! You basically echoed my sentiments to a tee! Well done, this E3 was hands down a massive bomb, way to completely neglect your fanbase indeed Nintendo.

  • Eugene Ng

    Worst Nintendo Press conference, EVER! End of story. Mostly them are shovelware such as Just Dance 4 and Sing and especially with the Nintendoland where its overwhelmed with its cutesy stuff on the other next generation of Nintendo mascots. I was looking forward to seeing some quality titles that I want to get but unfortunately, there are none and its a borefest. No thanks for the Wii U for the time being when its released until they release more third party titles, finish off the Wii with more 3rd party titles (ahem, Pandora’s Tower and Project Zero II to America). Nintendo, you should LISTEN to the fans and give us what we want. Because the customer is always right. Some say its not true but at the end of the day, they will win because its the responsibility of the company to deliver the software and products not to deliver empty promises.

    • Kai

      I think you’ll find a lot of people like music and dance games. Are they not valid customers? Is their opinion less important than yours?

    •  I don’t think the point is so much that these people’s opinions are “less important”, but rather that the company’s major push for these “casual” games goes against their message from last year that they would be trying to bring the “core” back into the fold.  Yes, they’re still going to include fitness/minigame/singing games because there’s a huge market for them and they’re largely responsible for making the Wii such a huge success.  But giving them such a large focus during the press conference was a mistake.  I really hope Nintendo is planning to do what some people have already suggested and announce some larger, more in-depth experiences on their own in the near future.

    • Eugene Ng

      Hmmm… It varies from gamer to gamer but we keep seeing all these music and dance games… Of course, we all have our own opinion but there are veteran gamers like me that don’t want to play these type of games. Of course, they still have to cater to both audiences but sometimes they have to get ready to cater to the next generation of 3rd party audiences and offer quality titles, so if we keep seeing shovelware, then its going to be a major turnoff and the console can have an impact. Then you get the item whether the console is either region free or not.

  • I agree, this year’s E3 was a disappointment for Nintendo.  What makes it even worse is that they put so much emphasis on Wii Fit U and Nintendo Land, only to have another video after the conference going into even more detail on those two games.  Why would they bother wasting everyone’s time during the conference with Wii Fit U and Nintendo Land when they were just going to explain them after the conference?  They could have shown off anything else: 3DS games, third party Wii U games, Project P-100, anything!

  • I was disappointed with E3 this year in its entirety… there were no moments that blew me away… none at all. I don’t think Nintendo’s in any real danger, but I understand what you mean by how underwhelming their presentation was.

    Plus, Nintendo Land looks interesting and fun, and I highly doubt any of the games they did show will actually be bad, though they aren’t catering to the hardcore gamer very much.

    They utilized most of the show to show off the functionality of the Wii U… so they chose to tell us that they were well on their way to releasing a fully functional console rather than something akin to what we saw in 2003 or 2010 for that matter (I remember the cheering when they showed DKCR (I was squealing in my seat at home when they showed that)). Of course the hardware itself won’t get as much as the software that goes with it, but rest assured, they will be fine – it’s very rare that a company will give us everything within the first year of the console’s life, especially in such a competitive market nowadays when money means more than anything. It’s not like Microsoft had anything of substance this year, either, and Sony was alright… only third parties such as Ubisoft had good conferences. Mostly, it’s because the third party companies only have the software to worry about.

    Nintendo’s E3 this year was the one in which they had to prove themselves the most, but they aren’t infallible, so of course it would disappoint to a degree. They knew how little we knew of the WiiU, so they shed light on that, and now that we’ve got a better idea on what console we’d be getting, they can start getting us excited with new software. Pikmin 3 is entirely adequate for me, as I’ve been waiting for that for… a long damn time, and they can’t release another Zelda already because Skyward Sword just came out last year. Plus, there are other press events besides E3, and Nintendo has shown us that they aren’t going to bother putting all their eggs into one basket. Especially considering they have a handheld to worry about, as well. 

    My biggest two disappointments from Nintendo this year were: 1) Retro’s absence, and 2) The overwhelming Mario presence. But asides from those, I’ve been given reasons to get a WiiU, and that’s good enough for me right now. Remember back when E3 was pretty much the only conference in which they’d announce anything and everything gaming? Yeah, it isn’t that way anymore, so I’m not unsurprised that this one was underwhelming.

    • Kai

      The last point you make is really important. E3 is no longer the sole source of gaming news. The year is scattered with events, and video game journalism is bigger than it has ever been. This, and the rise of the internet, has also increased the potential for leaks. To combat this problem, developers have begun announcing projects much earlier. There are far less surprise games to announce at E3, because they’ve all been announced earlier in their development cycle. It’s basically impossible for a development studio to keep a game secret until a couple of months before it’s release.

      Another point I’d like to make, is that the Big Three are now making consoles that do more than just play games. Today’s consoles are home entertainment systems with multiple functions and therefore take much more time to explain during E3.Nintendo were so worried about this, that they decided to announce the non-game related stuff in a pre-E3 video.

  • KingdomHearts4Eva

    They were trying to show that they could appeal to the hardcore, so they showed Just Dance 4 and Nintendo Land and Wii Fit U. Are they serious? I mean really. Are they serious?