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 Emblem. NantenJex 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.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)