This strategy of theirs is bound to fail. I understand the desire to surprise their audience but you can't hide EVERYTHING from them! Nintendo has pretty much said jack carp since E3 2011 and they have now raised the expectations of fans through the roof. Their compelete silence has lead to fans bickering with each other for Wii U's power, and how powerful or weak it will be. You have hardcore gamers who abandoned Nintendo with the Wii, thinking off coming back but basing the decision off the Wii U's capabiltites and specs first. You have industry analysts forecasting doom on them. Let's not forgot all the articles and rumors from small developers claiming the Wii U is weaker than the 360 or PS3. The worst part of it is, Nintendo just let's this negative press go on and don't respond at all.
I graduated in Marketing and I know the importance of PR. You can't let negative press brew and do nothing about it. Even if the Wii U rumors of being weaker than the 360 or other negative rumors sound absurd, the fact of the matter is you need to respond to those speculations to ensure potential customers, current customers, and investors that this is not the case. Instead, Nintendo let's these accusations ran rampant and change the perception of people who have shaky faith in Nintendo.
PR Management 101. If someone says Wii U < 360 you respond with "While the Wii U's final design has not been completed, we can assure you it's hardware specifications are more advanced than competitors current consoles". That shuts everybody up and gives analysts, journalists, and fanboys no fuel to add to the fire. What did Nintendo do? "Nintendo doesn't focus on technical specifications". Vague and weak. It gives the vibe that it is in fact weaker then the 360 even if it really isn't.
Or Nintendo can simply show a couple trailers of confirmed Wii U games like a game that has been in development forever, like Pikmin 3, to show graphic capability, controller capability, and show off that it can't be replicated by current gen consoles.
Saving all your info for a blowout at E3 is a high risk-high reward strategy; you either blow the lid off everything and fans go nuts with all the announcements and are happy with what you showed; their expecations were met basically. Or, your crazy NDA's and silence has lead to overhype from fans with unmeetable expecations and you end up failing to impress the audience enough and your overhyped conference becomes the laughing stock of the gaming industry forever (like five hundred and ninety nine US dollars kind of laughing stock). Nintendo ends up releasing xbox 360 level or power or shows it's online is not up to par with the other two, and you can bet on stock prices dropping and low sales of Wii U consoles.
It might not be too late to fix this though. Release some info, anything, a trailer, the final design of the controller, the final design of the console, final tech specs (I understand competitors might copy you and you don';t want to reveal your plans and products to them early, but wtf is one month to them). It's time to keep the fanbase in check and not put all your eggs in one basket Nintendo. Your creating unrealistic expectations of this conference. Remember you still have to talk about the 3DS, you can't talk 90 minutes straight about the Wii U, show a bunch of trailers and games and online. (Don't get me started on how the price wont be announced at E3, that is a big deciding factor for people on the fence about purchasing it).
While I agree with a lot of what you stated, I'm going to partially disagree and partially play devil's advocate, for the sake of discussion. I agree that by taking a high risk- high reward approach to E3 Nintendo is setting themselves up for major disappointment, or jubilation across the interwebs. However, I also believe that Nintendo knows this as well, but they are confident that the presentation they have planned will in fact create a positive buzz.. If they were not confident, they would be cautious and announce games early like Sony with the new GoW and Sony Smash Brothers. It would have been awesome for Sony to close their show with Sony Smash Bros. and GoW trailers back to back! But, I've digressed...The bottom line is that you've got to do what you feel is best for your company, and Nintendo feels that it is best for them to build hype/anticipation/curiousity for their E3 presentation because they are confident that they are going to deliver on the hype. I like that.
The negative press issue is a very dynamic issue, especailly for Nintendo. The negative press attacks the very heart of who Nintendo is and aims to be. They have stated for years now that they are about software, not hardware. Hell, Iwata even stated something similar at the most recent investors conference. Nintendo's response to the graphics press shows me that Nintendo has two things:
1. Integrity- Nintendo is about the games, not the hardware specs. This was true when Wii was outclassed by their competition is graphics, and its true when they are beating their competition. I respect that in a business and in a person. Stay who you are through the good times and the bad times.
2. Foresight- Nintendo knows that Xbox III and PS4 will likely beat them in graphics. Therefore, they feel that they can't acknowledge the "importance" of hardware specs in any way
, because they can't go back to sofrware over hardware when they are beaten again. That would go against who they have been for several years and going back of the soffware/hardware thing would be hypocritical.
I've all ready talked about the hype thing. II will say that most people thare are hyped are Ninteno fans anyways, and the chances of them being disappointed to the point of not wanting a Wii U is slim. Anybody else that is hyped is probably mature enough to temper their expectations. I'm not downlpaying the importance of the E3 presentation. I just think you're overstating the hype thing a little. Also, if Nintendo's Wii U isn't up to par/better thatnXbox 360's graphics and online capabilities, their stock price will drop regardless of whether they announce that before, during, of after E3.
Finally, and this surprises me a little with your marketing background, Nintendo not releasing the price and release date at E3 is absolutely the right thing to do. Selling is like dating, you must leave them wanting more! Withholding this information will keep the internet dweebs tuned in for a release date and price until they inevitably do it through their Nintendo Direct in September (my prediction, of course). Also, releasing this information 2 months-ish before release gets people talking about your product again, much closer to its release. The last thing you want is your price and release date to be old news. You want big, national/international media to pick up on that information close to release.It will be one last buzz push before release.
Edited by Fig, 30 April 2012 - 04:32 AM.