I've got Nintendo running through my veins – cut me open and I bleed Mario hats, master swords and nostalgia. That said, even I have to admit that the announcements during their E3 press event were a tad underwhelming.
Regardless of the quality of their announcements, the manner in which Nintendo presented them has, for three consecutive E3s, been a big success. Since 2013 they have ditched live stage shows in favour of their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct formula, and it's a style more should consider mimicking.
I'm sure the slickly produced digital events aren't cheap to make, but think about the costs of putting on a live conference – hiring a venue, the amount of crew involved, staging, lights, various bits of glowing jewellery for the audience – there's a reason only the biggest names do it.
Nintendo could certainly afford it, but what are you really getting for the amount you spend? Square Enix's E3 2015 conference is a classic example of how being live doesn't necessarily equate to being more exciting.
Live conferences wouldn't be live conferences without things going wrong. Every second that passes as something goes askew feels like an excruciatingly awkward lifetime. Remember the controller not quite obeying Shigeru Miyamoto in the 2011 Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword demo? The digital event eliminates the possibility of these things happening.
"Oh but then it's all manufactured and we don't see anything real!" you might say, but very few things shown at these conferences are not staged and planned to within an inch of their lives. The real chance we get to gauge a more realistic perspective on what's on offer is when people get a chance to try them out for themselves on the show floor.
One of my favourite things about Nintendo's digital events is the editing. Sweet, time-saving, awkwardness-eliminating editing. Although the conferences are pretty much all about the new games and tech on offer, the interviews with the developers are always a great insight into whatever they're showing off. Whether it's a language barrier, time restraints or an irritating host, they always feel a little stilted in the live conferences.
In the Nintendo events they add insight with well-edited conversations with the developers. This year we listened to Miyamoto talk about his inspirations for Star Fox while he wandered through gorgeous arches, last year we heard from the Yoshi's Woolly World team sat in front of a wall packed with a kaleidoscopic array of yarn.
One of my own pet peeves when it comes to live conferences is the scripted and incessant "banter" between people playing multiplayer games on stage. "Okay guys let's use teamwork!", "If we use stealth we can get the loot and stick together!" – no human has ever said these things while playing an online multiplayer game. It would be much more believable if they either played in silence with the odd expletive yelled out or talked about something completely irrelevant to the game they're playing.
Nintendo doesn't completely avoid this when it comes to their Treehouse live streams, but seeing it happen on stage in front of hundreds of people makes me cringe so hard I almost burst a blood vessel. Digital events avoid these – they may show a clip of some people having way too much fun shooting at a man together, but they don't have to rehearse it 50, 60 times because that dingus keeps sauntering off to the unfinished part of the level.
One of the few things I enjoy from a live conference is the crowd reaction – a gasp or a cheer at a shocking announcement. However, as nice as the initial reaction is, it doesn't make up for all the other negatives.
One of the main things I think Nintendo is doing right with their streams is that everyone is treated to the same event, those watching around the world don't feel like they're missing out by not being in a live audience. Especially nowadays, when people's reactions are often tweeted before they can make an involuntary noise, that crowd's reaction is often just as online as the digital event is.
Consumers and press alike get the same experience. In a market that is very gradually giving some agency back to the consumer (with the likes of Steam refunds and Microsoft's newly announced backwards compatibility), that is a rare and significant thing.
E3 is still important for Nintendo, it's a huge opportunity for them to show the industry that they are major players. Their focus on moving out from Los Angeles and into people's homes is a smart move. Why focus all your energy on a conference filling an auditorium when you could be reaching the world?