Nintendo has won E3. Fact. And the real Nintendo is back. But the big N's glorious E3 victory wasn't just a case of unveiling a powerful newhandheld and some brilliant-looking core franchise games. There was a lot more at play than that.
So now that I've stopped reeeling from all of last night's conference excitement (okay, so I still am, but I can at least write in sentences now), I've decided to pull things apart, bit by bit, to look at exactly how Nintendo pulled it off. Trust me, the more I think about this, the more it seems to be the crescendo of a whole series of fiendish long and short-term plots. Starting with...
The old bait-and-switch
Nintendo are clever bastards. Fiendish, Machiavellian, very clever bastards. They%26rsquo;d segued into the casual market. They%26rsquo;d learned how hard it is to keep your hardcore fanbase happy when doing that. They%26rsquo;d seen that their biggest two rivals were about to do the same thing with very similar consequences. The best move Ninty could make? Turn back into their old selves with a slew of %26lsquo;proper%26rsquo; Nintendo games and provide a refuge for all the hardcore gamers MS and Sony were about to disenfranchise.
It%26rsquo;s the sharp, one-step-ahead thinking that%26rsquo;s typified Nintendo since Iwata took over. Nintendo saw the potential of the casual market before everyone else, and now that (I suspect)they're seeing its limitations, the big N are getting out before their two rivals over-saturate it to death. The fact is, whatever Reggie says on the face of it, the casual market is fad-driven and has no brand loyalty. Whether by a fear of its distraction by MS and Sony%26rsquo;s shiny new toys, the knowledge that the market can%26rsquo;t sustain three motion controllers with the essentially the same game line-up, both, or even more, Nintendohave spotted that the time is right to get out, andare doing it in the cleverest way possible and a good deal richer.
Nintendo are famously the most watertight company in the industry when it comes to E3 announcements. But in the run up to this year%26rsquo;s show, we got three major leaks. The 3DS%26rsquo; capabilities were revealed. Retro Studios%26rsquo; Donkey Kong Country was outed. We found out about Goldeneye Wii. Three big deals, three keystones in Nintendo%26rsquo;s make-up letter to the hardcore. And Ninty just let them slip by accident? It%26rsquo;s possible, I suppose%26hellip;
Above: And yes, looking at the polygons on Chris' elbow, we reckon this is in-engine. Do not pinch yourself. This is really happening
If you want a memorable E3, you need to bring the surprises. Whatever the rest of your line-up, unexpected additions are what really matters at an event this big. Have a great conference with a completely expected line-up, and you%26rsquo;ll be forgotten by the time everyone hits the bar (1.38 minutes on average). Throw in a few curveballs, and that bar will be toasting you all night.
Above: And so is this
DKC, Kirby, Goldeneye, Resident Evil, Super Street Fighter IV, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Metal Gear Sold 3, Driver, Shin Megami Tensei, Starfox, Mario Kart, Ridge Racer, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Super Monkeyball, Sonic, Assassin%26rsquo;s Creed, Saints Row, Kingdom Hearts, PES, Pilotwings%26hellip; Between the Wii and 3DS, Nintendo churned out surprise games to rival the total numbers of everything mentioned at their competitors%26rsquo; conferences. And while we%26rsquo;re on the subject%26hellip;
And it gets even cleverer on thenext page...