More than any of the major console manufacturers, Nintendo has some major momentum on its side. After having one of the biggest must-have gifts of the holiday season in the remarkably short-lived NES Mini, Nintendo released the Switch to positive press on March 3rd.
Alongside the new console, came the early Game of the Year contender The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild. The real question is can Nintendo sustain that momentum through E3 and come out on top in gamer’s minds as being the most talked about presentation? I believe so, and here are some of what could be announced to ensure that happens.
Nintendo has previously stated that the Switch version of the Virtual Console would not be ready by launch. But now that some owners have had a chance to sit back and enjoy the systems, it’s time to pop in one of the most requested features. Ideally, it would be incredible if Nintendo announced no need to re-purchase Wii U Virtual Console titles, more likely, however, will be the return of the upcharge Nintendo imposed for upgrading Wii titles to native Wii U functionality. In either case expect no more than 20 titles at the beginning, most if not all of them coming from Nintendo.
Lately, Nintendo has done a phenomenal job with new IPs and revitalising the classic staples. But, there’s plenty more that could do with a breath of fresh air. While I would be happy to see Metroid or F-Zero make triumphant returns, Nintendo could also go further back into the catalog to show us a new Mario RPG, and even Ice Climbers. A revived franchise can also be a sign of good faith to fans and that goes a long way towards brand loyalty.
Don’t Forget The Older Sibling
The Switch may be the new kid on the block, but let’s not forget about the other piece of still-breathing Nintendo hardware: the 3DS. There are some titles already expected to launch this year, but not much is known about the holiday season. Unless Nintendo plans on having a separate 3DS-centric Direct later in the year, this would be the opportune time to announce more titles.
Super Smash Bros.
While Masahiro Sakurai, the Director of each Super Smash Bros. game, has said before that he isn’t sure if he has another Smash Bros. game in him, it would be a surprise for Nintendo to ignore one of the best selling multiplayer titles for a multiplayer-centric console. Don’t expect a brand new entry in the series, but instead look to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to see the near future of the franchise.
After the runaway success of the Mario Kart port, expect Nintendo to do a similar treatment for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to find it’s way to the Switch. Nintendo may also choose to state that a new Smash Bros. is in development and otherwise stay mum on the subject until a later Direct.
Third Party Support
Part of why the Wii U wasn’t a critical success is due to how few games made its way to the system that weren’t Nintendo. Key third-party support from the biggest publishers will make a big difference in sales. This will make a bigger difference than previous console generations as EA infamously pulled back all support and planned titles from the Wii U. We already know that Skyrim will make its way to the Switch this holiday season, but look to E3 for a lot of announcements from different publishers pledging support for the new console.
There you have it, five keys to success this E3 for Nintendo. Can the house that Mario built bring enough firepower to the convention to make the Switch and 3DS combo a knockout? We will find out during E3 which will have conferences running from June 10th to June 13th.
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