I know, I know, the title of the article is a bit misleading because if this was simply about that question it would be ending with this:
No. No they can not.
Damn, that was a bit anti-climatic.
Microsoft and Sony will own E3 simply because of the new shiny systems they are bringing to the party. Add to that the fact that Nintendo is not even putting on a big press conference and it would seem that the Big N is giving up what very little ground it has. But I am beginning to think that their different approach to E3 may be exactly what Nintendo needs to have more focus put on them. Nintendo has always done things their own way, no matter if it helps or hurts them. This year they will be putting on a series of Nintendo Direct streams during E3 showcasing what the future holds for the ailing Wii U and their handheld giant 3DS. Nintendo is also partnering with Best Buy to bring a bit of E3 to the masses by having E3 game demos playable in 89 stores nationwide.
There is no doubt that Nintendo will be a distant third when E3 is over in terms of gamer mindshare, but they can still come out of the year’s biggest video game show with a brighter outlook on the future of the Wii U. Here are a few reasons why.
Wii U Price Reduction
This is not confirmed in any way, but many are thinking that E3 will be the perfect time to announce a price drop for the Wii U. I don’t mean a basic price drop either. I am talking taking the 3DS “shit we’re in trouble” route. A normal price drop would be to take the basic set from $299 to $249 and the deluxe from $349 to $299, but when Nintendo cut the price of the 3DS mere months after its launch they slashed it from $249 to $169. This is what they need to do with Wii U. Let’s face it, go in any retailer and Wii U systems are sitting on the shelves. Sales are abysmal and there is no polite way to put that there are no games to play. With a big fall planned software wise, this summer should be when we get a cheaper Wii U and get familiar with it. I hope Nintendo takes this chance to get the Wii U into more homes by cutting the price of the basic set from $299 to $199 and the deluxe from $349 to $279 ($249 would be better, but I don’t see that happening).
Bring The Heavy Hitters
This is a easy one to call since Nintendo has already promised multiple Mario titles and a new Smash Bros. This is a good start. Even with everyone jumping from the Wii U like a sinking ship when Nintendo shows up at E3 showing off the new 3D Mario, Mario Kart U, Super Smash Bros and Yoshi Yarn, it will at least get people looking in Nintendo’s direction. I think they also have a couple of aces up their sleeves with Zelda being the main one I think could make a surprise splash. Even if the game is a ways off (which is always when a new Zelda game is shown), just having the franchise show up in a “more than tech demo” form in crisp HD will instantly have fanboys singing praises again.
Retro Studios is supposed to be in Nintendo’s corner with their brand new game which is rumored to be a sequel to their classic StarTropics. This could go a long way in deciding whether I take the plunge this year for a Wii U.
These next two are not rumors, just one fansboys hope that Nintendo will swing for the fences with the Wii U this year. Starfox and/or Metroid. In any shape or form for the Wii U. We have three classic Metroid Prime games and I would not mind a follow-up or a new direction for Samus. Starfox has been lying dormant for far too long and is in need of a revival. With the Wii U struggling Nintendo needs to call on all of their franchises to help out.
Hold Serve With The 3DS
This is the one thing it is almost impossible for Nintendo to screw up. The 3DS is a money machine and there is no sign of it stopping. Here is the kicker; there is good reason it is booming because it has one of the best game libraries available and the next year is flush with quality titles that some consoles would kill to have. Want a quick rundown? The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Mario Party 3DS, Project X Zone, Mario Golf: World Tour and Yoshi’s Island 3DS. Almost all of that is this year! At E3 all Nintendo has to do it hold up a 3DS and say, “this is what you want”.
It is weird to say, but there is almost as much pressure on Nintendo for this year’s E3 as there was last year when many thought they needed to hit a home run with the Wii U and they grounded out on the first pitch. Their home console is, for all intents and purposes, tanking and measures need to be taken to plug up the holes before the Wii U sinks completely. But as a lifelong Nintendo fanboy, I always have hope that there is better days ahead.