Remember E3? A few months before the conference, I was convinced Nintendo would be revealing the NX and a Holiday 2016 release date. Those dreams were shattered when Nintendo announced an all-Zelda-no-NX E3.
It’s been a long five months of silence from Nintendo and leaks/rumors from everyone else. For the second time this year, the gaming community anticipates an NX reveal. Now a week into September, I think a 2016 NX reveal is a mistake and Nintendo should delay the whole thing until January 1, 2017 (assuming a 2017 release date).
A Fall Reveal is Bad, mmkay?
Nintendo cannot deliver just a portion of the NX. Fans won’t accept a tease. The only option is a full-blown reveal. Name. Box. Price. Release date. Launch titles. Technical specifications. A bare-bones announcement runs the risk of a Wii U-esque roll out. Rampant uncertainty is crippling and Nintendo cannot struggle to dictate the message. So whats the problem with an all-out unveiling before Christmas, you ask?
The Holiday Season is insanely distracting in the gaming world. Whatever value proposition Nintendo presents will be diluted by sales and bundles for products currently (or soon-to-be) available for purchase. Being undercut by (presumably) more “powerful” consoles in terms of price and pack-ins is a significant risk that Nintendo should avoid.
You’ve probably already done the math. How many games will you be purchasing this Fall/Holiday? Your money and time has already been spoken for. What an awful time to vie after your discretionary income. Even if the product is slated for a 2017 release, if money is tight now, that’s all that matters. There needs to be a microscopic gap between announcing the NX and allowing fans to buy it – or at least put money towards it (more on that later). I believe the saying is “strike while the iron’s hot.” Remember the NES Classic? Have you been able to pre-order it? No? That’s bad. Let’s not do that with the NX, Nintendo.
In terms of market share, an announcement alone doesn’t do Nintendo any good either. It will not keep consumers from purchasing currently available hardware or software from the competition. This season belongs to Xbox and PlayStation so from this angle, there is little to be gained.
How to make it work work work work work
Something tells me that, despite my suggestions, Nintendo will still reveal the NX to proactively circumvent (real) leaks or to appease impatient fans/stockholders. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe either of those reasons are strong enough to warrant a 2016 unveiling. With this in mind, let’s consider how to make the best of a tough situation.
It’s all about cash flow. This might sound obvious but let’s think about it in a more critical way. Nintendo needs to give fans a way to become “pot committed.” If I ran Nintendo, I’d want more than just the consumer’s intention to buy. I’m talking about a strong and immediate pre-order incentive. The purchaser should receive something at the time of the pre-order. A discount or collectible (Amiibo).
The hype for NX should be at its peak either during or immediately after the initial presentation. It only tails off from there, folks. That hype represents the greatest opportunity to sell the NX but in the face of new products from Xbox and PlayStation and the aforementioned bundles, I believe Nintendo needs to provide something a little extra to attract fans their way. Early access, if possible, would be a powerful motivator. Pre-order (with “Power”) to guarantee you’ll be the first to play Breath of the Wild.
Make the lead time significant. Two weeks. Let the most hardcore Nintendo fans lead the way. They’ll jump at the opportunity to pre-order a new Nintendo console then (hopefully) evangelize the system to friends and family. The exclusivity will drive consumers crazy and create an insatiable demand. We’ve seen it with the Wii and Amiibo.
Nintendo should take it a step further because let’s face it, they’re sort of the underdog here. Again, give fans something to do now using ideas that already work and give tremendous focus on games. Don’t forget the games. Like the Virtual Console. My Nintendo represents an opportunity to bridge the gap too many fans have leapt across far too often. Imagine: Virtual Console games you own today will be waiting for you on your NX on Day One. For many fans, this will unlock a vast library of games on their brand new console.
It’s clearly too early to know if the NX will be a success. But as we’ve seen with the Xbox One and Wii U, the messaging and methods surrounding the console’s unveiling have significant and long-lasting effects. Good thing we’re all experts on how to do it right. Right?
What do you think? Leave a comment below.