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What Nintendo Did Right With Its Direct Mini

The following is an opinion. You are allowed to disagree.

Let me set the scene. It’s early in 2018, Nintendo just had one of the most successful years catering to both casual and hardcore fans alike. They released a brand new console — the Nintendo Switch and released multiple games that topped nearly every critic’s top games of 2017. They redefined Zelda with Breath of the Wild and delivered another amazing Mario experience with Mario Odyssey and this was just the first year.

In the early days of January, it was rumored that a Direct was imminent and that Nintendo would come into 2018 with guns blazing. Many Nintendo fans were comparing the January Direct to Nintendo’s personal E3. ‘It’s always been a big Direct. Look at this history, it’s always been big. With 2017 out of the way, the Switch selling like hotcakes it’s going to a good, no the BEST DIRECT EVER’ cried so many posters online. Fans were foaming at the mouth with speculation, people were setting Chibi-Robos on fire, and then the direct kind of just appeared. At first, I was very confused. Nintendo had always announced a set time for their directs, and I genuinely enjoy watching it live with my fellow Nintendo fans. Why did Nintendo just release the direct?

Well, it’s nearly a full day after the direct was released as of writing, and I believe it was the best thing Nintendo could’ve done. If Nintendo had announced a proper time for the direct, the Internet wouldn’t have been able to contain itself and the Direct would’ve been a let down for the majority of the people. Just releasing it allowed most of the steam to be taken out. The direct itself was good, but not as amazing as a lot of people were expecting. The majority of announcements are games that are on other systems (sans Funky Kong) — put simply, Nintendo didn’t come into 2018 with guns blazing on a superficial level. But they did the right thing and had a successful marketing campaign. First, they got everyone talking about Nintendo. The tweet of the Chibi-Robo on fire had become a quick meme, with other PR Twitter accounts offering their own versions of it. Resetera and reddit were FILLED with Direct talk and “legendary threads”. They built the hype, but they were able to contain it successfully with limited backlash.

Talking with several Nintendo fans, as well as reading reviews on online, most viewers seem pleased with the direct overall. I think it’s largely due to three things. First, as I mentioned before Nintendo just released the direct. This caused a plunge in hype levels. Secondly, they called it a Mini. This subverted people’s expectations as it wasn’t a full direct. Third, at the end, they invited people to stay tuned for more announcements in the future. This point alone has already caused fans to speculate what will be coming in the future. There are some mysteries though. Like why the newest Detective Pikachu wasn’t shown in the Japanese Direct, or where Yoshi and Fire EmblemNantenJex pointed out on Twitter that an FE themed Direct may be around the corner, and I think that’s a reasonable expectation. But until the next Direct, I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due — Nintendo’s marketing team handled this Direct extremely well. You can listen to more of my thoughts in a discussion I did with Nirbion

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. I kind of like how they just released it. xD

    You already know by now I’m not a fan of hype culture and companies abusing it. But I also understand it’s good for business, and so don’t really fault them for fans being like that or companies capitalizing on it. But I still don’t like it, you know? xD In the end if the fans enjoy Nintendo and its games that much, it is likely important to them and so the strong feelings (and hype) occur and I shouldn’t be one to say what they should or should not do!

    I wasn’t really paying attention or following the hype/rumors/direct speculation, so with zero to little expectation I was pleasantly surprised with what came out of it when I woke up to some bullet points the next day. The World Ends With You in particular will be nice to play again with upgrades 10 years later!

    xkan on January 12 |
  2. I’m very, very disappointed with this Direct. I’m an avid supporter of Nintendo since … always, I guess. But now I’m feeling punished for supporting the Wii U, what’s with all the enhanced ports?! I bought Pokken even ahead of its launch (a mistake from a shop) and was so happy, but I don’t want to pay the same amount AGAIN and additionally pay the DLC to have all characters, that’s ridiculous! Hyrule Warriors is releasing on the third (3!) System without too much improvement on the Wii U iteration, which – oh, surprise! – I bought and now regret it. I have DKCR:TF and got through this extra world, and NOW they’re adding an easy mode, but for Switch?! And, as another surprise, I also bought The World ends with you for DS. Adding an boring mode for Odyssey, three games out of my genre and an illogical “women game” (WTF is this thing even … I can’t comprehend how someone thought this is a good idea, but yeah, not Nintendos fault)… Really, what a Direct.
    I also dislike the lack of an announcement beforehand, because I like to anticipate and watch a Direct live.

    But I have to give credit where it’s due. You’re right with the reasons why it was good to not announce the Direct, even if it is a minor nitpick for me personally, it seems to be a good move for the company overall. I just hope this won’t be always the case from now on. And most people seem to like the Direct and are hyped af now, so it may be just a personal problem. But all this enhanced rereleases are pure rip-off in my eyes! I endured this for Pokémon, but now they’re doing it for every freaking game?! If the ports weren’t BETTER than the version I payed FULL PRICE for, it would be okay. If the improvements would be (even paid) DLC for the “old” versions, it would be okay. But now I only have two choices: Buy the game AGAIN at full price (sometimes even plus DLC) or play my incomplete, watered down version. Yep, the Wii U didn’t sell well, so I like the fact that the games are ported for the wider audience, but I don’t thing Wii U-owners should be punished for always supporting Nintendo!

    shi on January 13 |
  3. I was also pleasently surprised this Direct came out of the blue like that, I was editing stuff in a wikia when I saw one of the FANDOM fan feeds mentioning the presentation.

    As for the Direct itself, I didn’t expect anything major (especialy when I saw it was a ‘mini’ Direct) or see something I liked but it was a decent presentation overall. I was a little bit surprised at SNK heroines, though its only because I didn’t expect to see a sequel (spiritual sequel?) to SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Colour all-female fighting game.
    Not so pumped for another Mario Tennis game, for me it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that Ultra Smash came out. I must say though that its good seeing the male Mario characters wearing actual tennis clothes for a change, pretty sure that is a first for the Tennis subseries unless I’m forgotting some game(s).
    Seeing Dark Souls coming to the Switch is nice but not something I plan on getting.

    GreatMeat on January 13 |
  4. It was odd Nintendo didn’t give out an announcement at their website that they’ll be releasing a new Direct. It was a sudden reveal without a warning, but it didn’t surprise me at all…because I was working that time. Sorry, but can’t watch Direct real-time during duty. But as releasing it as “Mini” was something I didn’t expect. Probably that, since this was meant to be the first Direct of this year, they didn’t want to reveal a huge announcement, as keeping it later on. I would say this was a good choice they’ve made, because they want to make sure they’re well prepared.

    Kirby Star Allies was definitely the title I’ve been expecting and predicting, but others weren’t as I wasn’t expecting anything other than Kirby. It was odd we didn’t see Yoshi, Fire Emblem, and even Octopath and Mega Man 11 for this Direct, but even then, I didn’t mind at all as I could expect it in the near future. Furthermore, I think this “mini” Direct is just a beginning, which they’ll bring the “real” one, probably soon or later. Nintendo Life did somehow predict we might get the new one soon, but I don’t know at this moment. I wouldn’t say this Direct was perfect, but it wasn’t that bad overall, so I’m not complaining. It’s just I’m well disappointed with these people who’s over-hyped so irresponsibly, and being too childish that they didn’t bring what they wanted. They really need to grow up, seriously.

    zoniken on January 13 |