Nintendo Direct: Sony and Microsoft Are You Watching?

Nintendo dropped some megaton announcements today, as can be seen in their latest Nintendo Direct (that can be viewed here). But this brought up one question in my mind: “Where the heck is Microsoft and Sony and what are they even working on?”

To be fair, both companies are in the middle of working on new home consoles in preparation to show them off before E3. The problem is that people want to know what is being worked on, and gamers want games to play without having to wait for all of the announcements of major titles to be revealed at trade shows like GDC or E3. Sony is especially in my target sights since they have the Vita, a handheld struggling to get steam without games, in need of major announcements and releases for the next quarter, or two, or all of them.

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There are a few issues going on that need to be addressed now that Nintendo has come out of the gates swinging by showing they are not going down without a fight.

Major announcements can happen at anytime outside of conventions and Nintendo’s use of Nintendo Direct these past two weeks shows us that this is where most major future announcements should happen.

Nintendo Direct videos give a personal touch and appeal to gamers out there where they’re able to watch the videos on  UStream, Youtube, and  even Nintendo’s own site. We do not need to wait every few months for announcements because gamers want to know what is coming out now, which is part of the reason rumors and leaks set the internet ablaze when they happen.

Gamers like games; and giving them said games makes them happy. It is just a matter of fact that gamers buy consoles to play games and they want titles to be announced to ensure there are no regrets about a console purchase. Sony could take some lessons from this with the Vita by letting people in on what’s being made for the system because gamers are waiting for more game announcements before making the investment. Nintendo dropped a ton of bombs for not only the Wii U but also the Nintendo 3DS, showing that they are supporting their consoles with games.

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Exclusives are what separate each console and draw the line between a purchase or a skip. Microsoft is very guilty of this with a portfolio of exclusives that can be somewhat lacking to many gamers and consists mainly of exclusive DLC, a few franchises, and arcade titles. Outside of Gears of War and Halo, most gamers are actually not sure of many of the exclusive titles Xbox has because there are not many. Sony has been pumping out major exclusives left and right, such as The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls, with Nintendo showing off its large portfolio and many new titles such as the Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem.

Sony and Microsoft are becoming very complacent and Nintendo took advantage of that today. Both companies need to take important lessons out of this that include possibly ditching conventions for announcements and go the direct route such as Nintendo. The other lesson is that games are what make consoles desirable purchases and Nintendo has come out as if they had a ton to prove with last week’s Pokemon X and Y announcement to the Zelda announcements of today. Sony and Microsoft need to realize this and place some more focus on the games otherwise they both will be in trouble with home and handheld consoles.

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There is no doom and gloom here but an opportunity to take some lessons from Nintendo and consider changing the way things are done. A new console generation is starting and Sony will want to use many of these tactics now with the Vita and use it as a way to build up momentum for the next PlayStation console; possibly featuring videos of Kaz Hirai, Yoshida, or Jack Tretton. Microsoft is only involved in home consoles but if it does not bring the goods, and a large variety of exclusives, then we might see Xbox struggling to keep its home court lead in the US.

Kudos must go to Nintendo for rolling the ball forward to change how the big three should handle their games, announcements, and their relationships with their fans.

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