Is Nintendo Playing It Safe With Their E3 Spotlight Event?

We are days away from E3, and for us on the Nintendo Team, we CAN’T WAIT for the Nintendo Spotlight that’ll be happening on the 13th. But, as time has gone on, and the days have marched ever closer, a weird string of events have been playing out that makes us wonder what Nintendo is going to do with their spotlight.

Now, we know that they’re going to do some talk about the Switch, and that the 3DS will either be there also or be a focus in the Treehouse event that comes right after the Spotlight, but there’s still some concern as to what will actually be talked about and revealed.

Why is there concern? Well, ever since Nintendo has gone away from live press conferences and decided to do digital events every year, they’ve always had shorter, more bite-sized shows. But reports are saying that this upcoming spotlight could be the shortest that Nintendo has had in years, being only 30 minutes long. That’s…concerning…let us explain our fears on why Nintendo may be playing it safe this year.

1. A Slew Of Directs


For the record, the Nintendo Directs are easily one of the greatest things Nintendo has ever done. It allows them time to talk to gamers about upcoming titles, give hints about what’s coming, or even announce games outright without having to “wait” for a major event like E3, Tokyo Game Show, etc. And it’s awesome!

But what’s surprised many recently is that there’s been a LOT of Directs in the last month or so. In fact, there were three. One in April, one in May, and one the other day with the Pokemon Direct. These three gave a LOT of information about upcoming games, and they had reveals of their own…but why do it so close together? The gap between the April one and one previous to that was three months. What is Nintendo up to?

The easy answer is, “Well, they want to free up time for the Spotlight!” And you’re right in a way. For example, The May one was perfectly timed as ARMS was only a month out at that point, and it was a good way to show off the reveal of the Global Testpunch. And you could argue that the Pokemon news (which hasn’t been received well for much of the community) was best not shown at the event.

But then you throw in other news about Fire Emblem Warriors that was leaked, Atlus revealing 3 new JRPGs for the 3DS, and you start to think…

2. What Will They Show?

Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch Reveal

This is a bit of a tricky question, because either way you think of it, they’re kind of covered. We KNOW there are games coming out this year for the Nintendo Switch that hasn’t been in the recent Directs. Like Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and potentially more. And we know about certain 3DS titles that are coming as well like Ever Oasis, Miitopia, a trio of Kirby titles, etc.

But IF (again, it’s not confirmed) Nintendo does 30 minutes of show, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to maneuver. Trailers alone can be anywhere from 2-4 minutes, add in the talking of the Nintendo team, transitions, a possibly big intro (which they have done in the past) and 30 minutes is up before you know it. And though ARMS and Splatoon 2 are coming out soon, that’s not to say they won’t make an appearance in some form, which again, will eat up time.

Now obviously, it may not go down this way, they could show off tons of new games, but it makes you wonder. Especially when you consider…

3. The Treehouse Event

Nintendo E3 Treehouse

This is the biggest wildcard, because we KNOW that Nintendo loves its Treehouse events, and they’ve been a part of their E3 for the last few years, and we know already that some games are confirmed to be talked about during the event, such as the recently revealed Pokken Tournament DX. And if the 3DS isn’t shown at the Spotlight, it could be solely shown here, which would leave a lot of room for the Spotlight to show Switch games and Switch games alone. But again, we don’t know for sure.

The Treehouse event is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers consistent coverage that’ll last hours, and then on the other hand…it’s a commitment to watch it all and hope that a big announcement will be revealed during it. It has happened before, but it’s never a guarantee. Again, last year they literally only showed two games, Breath of the Wild, and Pokemon Sun/Moon.

4. What Should They Do?

Again, this is a tricky question. Obviously we WANT them to show off games that are coming out later this year, like Warriors, Xenoblade, Odyssey, etc. But it’s E3! We want NEW surprises, not just new details. So we want the best of both worlds, respecting both in the process.

If I was the planner of this event, I would make sure that a bombshell announcement both started the event, and ended it. Then in the middle, we can elaborate on the other titles that have been previously announced. Then in the Treehouse, maybe have a surprise or two there to keep Nintendo on the tips of everyone’s tongues.

Reggie Fils-Aime has said that Nintendo is planning something big for both Switch and 3DS at E3. But…this is also the same Reggie who said thought a “big game announcement” should mean Wii Music, so we have the right to be skeptical. Nintendo though NEEDS to have a big show, because all eyes are on them for the right reasons! The Switch is selling out everywhere, it has the hype, 3DS is still selling too, they need to show that they can sustain and keep interest not just in this year, but in next year too. They can’t play it safe, else they’ll risk ruining everything they’ve worked so hard for since the beginning of the year.

What would I like? Big 1st and 3rd party reveals, the return of classic franchises, a surprise or two, and as few ports as possible. Oh, and can we PLEASE bring back Samus Aran? Is that so much to ask for?

We’re only days away from finding out what’s going to happen. Let’s hope they knock it out of the ballpark. For our further thoughts on what we hope will happen, stay tuned to the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast! Our next episode (which will release Friday) will feature our predictions for both sides of the event!

About The Author

Todd Black

A self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy, born, bred, and Mushroom fed! He’s owned every Nintendo handheld and every console since the SNES. He loved games so much he went and got a video game degree and dreams of writing video game stories