Nintendo needs to improve their communication with fans/marketing

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A lot of people have been concerned with Nintendo’s e3 plans, or the lack thereof. We believe that Nintendo must make some serious changes in the way they interact with their consumers and here are some thoughts on what they should try to do:


E3 is known to many as a 2nd Christmas, where corporations compete to impress their fans with new game announcements. It’s a big event that means a lot to people…but it doesn’t seem to be an effective marketing tool. It’s an outdated format made for print based publications which have mostly died out. With online broadcasts, the need to pay millions to rent out a conference hall to show journalists what consumers can see from the comfort of their own homes seems rather pointless. This is exacerbated by the fact that all of these massive companies are trying to put their best foot forward at the same time. Investing all that time and money into a show just to get overshadowed by some company announcing that a game they promised a decade ago is still alive would seem like a waste.

Last year was very bad for Nintendo. The pacing, the lack of interesting games to show off, and spreading all their announcements between Nintendo World Championships, a pre-e3 Nintendo direct, and the digital event let down a lot of fans hoping for a show that could compete with the others and have a great showing. The expectations set by e3 are very difficult to match and if you fail to do so there could be disastrous results as seen by the general negativity around the company seen last year.

Additionally, skipping e3 and delaying the NX for a better reveal later this year isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


If Nintendo decides to skip e3 entirely for the next couple of years that might work to their benefit. Not having to deal with the enormous expectations set by e3 is fairly helpful, additionally it allows them to save up announcements and spread them evenly throughout the year. Right now Nintendo has long dry spells in the months leading to e3 and the months afterwards that there’s essentially no communication with their consumers. This is one of the biggest problems Nintendo currently faces. If there are no 3rd parties on board, Nintendo news won’t happen unless Nintendo announces it so if they decide to go a couple months with Nintendo Directs then that’s months of silence that undo a lot of the goodwill Nintendo can build up from any big positive showing. At e3 2014, for example, Nintendo had a fantastic showing that blew a lot of people’s expectations away and made fans very excited for the future. Nintendo followed this with no new game releases for 4 months and no Nintendo directs for at least 3.

Nintendo should look at Sony and Microsoft’s Major Nelson or Playstation blog as ways to fill in the gaps between each Nintendo direct. Spacing their announcements and always having something new to share with fans is a great way to increase consumer engagement. Nintendo Treehouse blog, or common Nintendo Treehouse live showing is a potential way to remedy this. The Nintendo treehouse is a group of charming, knowledgeable people and taking advantage of their capabilities could help Nintendo create more of a connection with their fans.


Nintendo Directs:

This is the most forward thinking concept and execution Nintendo has had in a long time. These “mini-e3” have managed to eclipse Nintendo’s own e3 showings in some cases and do a great job at getting people excited without having to meet the crazy expectations of e3. The biggest issue is the lack of Directs during a year, usually content with releasing a lot of information through text on a press release site. E3 takes a huge chunk of the amount of announcements they have and dropping e3 could allow for more shows through the year.

The art of the game reveal:

This is something less noticeable but has a massive impact on the perception of quality a title has to the general audience. While Nintendo Directs are great, a lot of games were revealed unceremoniously. Trailers are just random gameplay clips followed by some guy in a suit talking about some new gameplay mechanic. It makes it seem that Nintendo doesn’t care about the game, and if they don’t care why should we? 3D World’s first trailer left a lot of people disappointed with the game until the famous October Trailer turned some heads. It’s wiser to convince people to try your game at the reveal with a good trailer instead of trying to fix the damage done by a poor reveal. Try and help us feel excited about your games, Nintendo.



Potentially one of the bigger factors for Nintendo’s drop in performance from Wii/DS is the lack of quality marketing. They’re not investing a lot of money into the right channels to promote their content. With their current YouTube program preventing Nintendo content from being made by YouTubers they need to rely on themselves to promote their own products.

I don’t have a great understanding of marketing teams nor do we know how much Nintendo invests in its marketing outside of that one leak from a few months ago. I do recall the marketing team behind the Wii leaving Nintendo awhile back and it shows. They invest very little and you don’t see Nintendo ads anywhere outside of the likes of Cartoon Network. The ads themselves are usually of poor quality that don’t resonate well with their audience. Sony and MS outspend them with ads, they need to think creatively or start spending more if they hope to compete with them in any way.

I’d recommend dropping the YouTube creator’s program. The results can’t be as positive as they would need to be to counteract the negativity that afflicts YouTubers when covering Nintendo games.

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Please your fans:

Nintendo has a lot of disgruntled fans that just want a thing or two. A lot of their biggest detractors used to be their biggest fans that started feeling ignored. Even if they’re not very profitable, releasing Mother 3 in the states, a new F-Zero, a new Metroid, etc would please fans. Just give them a token effort to make them feel like you care. The Last Guardian and Shenmue 3, projects that have been in development hell for several years or have struggled to get greenlight, are Sony’s token effort to their fans. These games likely won’t end up well, but just the press leading up to their release is worth it.

Bottom Line:

Nintendo could leave e3 and benefit greatly. E3 is a large investment and the competition trying their best to leave their mark is a lost cause better spent elsewhere

Their poor communication likely has a rather large effect on their negative public image. If they aren’t talking to consumers, their critics will.

If they wish to find success they need to fix the way they handle their marketing. It feels that, in more ways that one, Nintendo gave up on the Wii U rather quickly. Major Wii U games got little to no prominent advertising and everyone else was very negative on the system. They need to make sure their marketing team is up to the task of promoting the NX properly or things are not going to change from their current Wii U fortunes.

The YouTube Creators program is a detriment. Cancel it immediately.

Finally, Nintendo must try and please their fans. At the end of the day, these are the only ones they can count on and ignoring them for so long will have harmful effects in the future.

2 thoughts on “Nintendo needs to improve their communication with fans/marketing”

  1. Don’t forget that currently, Nintendo Company Limited Of Japan (ie: “Nintendo” proper) is absolutely dominating hardware sales in Japan with the Wii U. Sales outside the country are a bonus, even if it’s losing by a factor of 2 to 1 to other hardware. Japanese people in general (especially old-fashioned ones like Yamauchi / Iwata) frankly don’t care what happens outside of Japan, because that’s the mindset they’ve grown up with, found success with, and become set in.

    With the increase in power that NOE and NOA will be getting in the upcoming months/years we may see them acknowledge further, the concerns of audiences in those countries. IE: We don’t have to tell them to listen, they’ve been telling Nintendo Japan to listen and they’ve gotten through.

    When it comes to e3: Personally, I think it’s barbaric for gaming audiences to insist that content creators, even big corporate content creators like Nintendo, spend and spend and spend on extravagant shows when they could instead be spending on making their games into long-playable, long-replayable finished products worth the asking price of today’s 60-, 70-, 80-, or up to 100-dollar price tags when it comes to preorder special editions of professionally translated RPGs.

    That said, I think it’s important to IGNORE the audience when they basically say something like, for example, “This Paper Mario isn’t the literal-Thousand-Year-Door-2 I specifically asked for, therefore you must cancel it and only create the RPGs we demand, with plots and battle systems that we specifically demand, and stop trying to drive your own gameplay themes with the whole paper-thing, and stop being creative with your creations.” Those are the demands of a small set of content consumers that basically assume that once a story is out, it’s theirs to claim and change however they like.

    1. Yep, good post. They’re marketing in Japan is good, though that can’t make up for the lack of content at times. The US should be performing considerably better than it has, but hopefully with the added power to the western branch, as you stated, that should change in the near future.

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