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Ninten-DO what Xbox Don’t for E3 Presentations

The Nintendo presentation was a selection of leaked announcements, underwhelming reveals and video quality that almost has me believing the Switch Pro is nothing more than a retail conspiracy theory. So why the hell are people talking about this show so much?

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For every exciting moment in Nintendo’s E3 presentation, there was an opportunity to sit through the Monster Hunter Stories trailer again, or a Game & Watch toy for the 35th anniversary of Zelda. Ya know, instead of the expensive, lazy port of the N64/GameCube/Wii era titles that we’d all rush out and buy in a heartbeat.

This isn’t hypothetical, and there’s a very specific answer. Nintendo know what gets people excited – and they capitalise on it. They create water cooler moments, and those moments in yesterday’s presentation were unreal.

And that’s exactly what Microsoft need to learn.

Nintendo Vs Microsoft – The Water Cooler Moment

I wrote earlier in the week about Microsoft not having the megaton announcements needed to elevate an incredible show to its deserved heights. It’s getting praise, but with a few extra ideas it could’ve been one of the all-time great e3 conferences.

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The fact we’re even talking about it in the same sentence as the Nintendo conference proves my point. While Microsoft had a solid show, slowed down only by a few (mostly third-party) missteps, Nintendo was more misstep than solid. And yet, those big announcements change the conversation.

The first 2D Metroid in 19 years. A (mildly underwhelming) trailer for Breath of the Wild 2. Starfield arguably could have competed with these announcements, but the trailer was too teasy. The release date was too far away.

Halo going free-to-play could have been huge, but it was announced in a blog post. Forza was extraordinarily pretty but I’d have bet my firstborn on that (and besides, for whatever reason car games “don’t count” in these conversations).

You came out of the Xbox conference with a feeling that Microsoft have got their shit together. That is not to be undervalued, especially amongst the hardcore. But you didn’t come out of it with many things to latch onto as to why.

The showstoppers are coming. Being cautious in how you announce things is to be respected. With that said, there needs to be spectacle. Sony can break the internet with a logo for God of War 2 – even though it’s not going to be as pretty, as “next-gen” or possibly even as good as Starfield. But the spectacle just wasn’t there.

Conclusion

It was great to see E3 back, live and kicking. It mostly sucked – don’t get me started on Square Enix. That feels like an E3 tradition though. Imagine if all these events had been spread over four months instead of a week. It would’ve been a nightmare.

In that sea of mediocrity, Microsoft shone the brightest. But Nintendo had the biggest talking points. Hell, even the Summer Game Fest had Elden Ring, and nothing at the Microsoft conference got the buzz that did.

This is an area which Xbox needs to work out. They’re getting everything right – it’s about time they start telling people.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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