2020 is the year of cancellations. From major sporting events to big gatherings, all sorts of exciting dates and events have been knocked off everyone’s calendars due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gaming community wasn’t exempt from this either. However, while Microsoft and Sony continue to feed their fans with news and updates, Nintendo remains troublingly dormant.
How the Competition is Faring
The cancellation of E3 and other major gaming events was a massive blow to the gaming community as well as companies. With the way the year was shaping up, with the advent of the next generation of consoles and a wealth of exciting, upcoming games, 2020 was going to be a huge year. These events’ losses almost seemed like a death sentence.
However, Microsoft continues to churn out news to pave the road for its upcoming console. The company has been making headlines with its digital online news events, planning to unveil a selection of Xbox Series X games on May 7th.
Sony, to a certain extent, has been feeding its hungry fans. While they too have been silent a good while, they revealed key PlayStation 5 information back in April when leaks surfaced on the web. By confirming much of the leaked information, Sony satiated eager fans’ thirst as well as they could have.
With rumors of an upcoming Sony/PlayStation 5 announcement in the wraps for late May, Sony too seems to be striving to keep chugging along despite the pandemic.
Nintendo, on the other hand is, well, quiet.
Sorry State of Nintendo
The company’s last big announcement was March 26th with its Nintendo Direct Mini. It wasn’t a full-fledged Direct as the name suggests, and was quite sparse when it came to delivering substantial Nintendo news.
That isn’t to say the Direct wasn’t exciting for fans. It released lots of information on upcoming titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition in addition to a working date for the new Smash Ultimate fighter from ARMS. Anything with Smash is enough to satisfy a majority of Nintendo fans for a good minute.
However, that was it. The Direct Mini only announced and name-dropped additions to the Switch’s catalogue. The Direct did not announce news regarding newer console models or anything beyond upcoming games.
It appears most of the big news was being saved for the usual big announcement in June. Nintendo has always coincided with their big June news drops with E3 but that is no longer possible with the event’s cancellation. Despite digital avenues as a possibility, Nintendo has canceled the June Nintendo Direct, pushing any announcements even further back on the calendar.
The sad thing about all this is that the June Nintendo Direct was probably going to a big moment for the company and its fans.
2020 was the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., with many rumors circulating concerning a large number of remakes of classic 3D Mario titles. Fans have been clamoring for remasters and remakes of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy for over a decade. On top of this, it was through this Nintendo Direct whereby the next Smash guest character was going to be unveiled officially, such as how the 2019 Direct did for Dragon Quest’s Hero.
As of right now, no one knows when Nintendo will announce anything, and that’s a troubling sign considering its competitors.
Microsoft and Sony are doing what they can in this limited pandemic environment to hype up and prepare fans for their upcoming consoles. The advent of next-gen is almost at everyone’s doorstep and Microsoft and Sony are showing that they are prepping for it. Yet, Nintendo does not even seem to acknowledge this shift in console generations with its constant silence.
It’s understandable how hard it is for people to work amid the COVID-19 lockdowns around the world. According to VentureBeat, the June Nintendo Direct was canceled because of coronavirus, with Japan’s work from home order proving too much of a disruption. Because of the way business culture works in Japan, revolving strongly around face-to-face meetings, such delays and issues were inevitable.
Despite this, Sony was able to find a workaround, albeit not in a planned capacity such as Microsoft has.
It shows the world Nintendo is struggling to work through this health crisis and that may spell trouble for its console and company’s future prospects.
They’ll need to step up their news game if they wish to remain a viable contender in the next console generation.