This past week, Nintendo debuted three new Pokémon games during a press conference over in Japan that mostly catered towards newcomers to the franchise as well as the smaller but still dedicated Pokémon Go fanbase. Regardless of what fans thought about the resulting games, there were a couple of clear underlying tones that was present before, during, and to an extent, after the reveal event: confusion and disappointment. These feelings mainly arose not from the games themselves, but due to the manner in which Nintendo shared the information from the event with fans in America, as the press conference was not livestreamed and there was little heads-up about the event prior to it beginning, with a tweet from the official Pokémon account a mere half-hour before to let fans who happened to be on social media at the same time know.
While Nintendo has recently showcased Pokémon news the week prior to E3, the execution of this announcement was still poorly handled for a variety of reasons. In years past, Nintendo has dedicated several of their oft-hyped Direct videos specifically to new Pokémon titles, and while it’s extremely hard to get a sense of what’s going on behind Nintendo’s tightly closed doors, there’s been little indication as to why American fans were unable to get a video presentation of their own that night. Similarly, despite Nintendo’s usual fondness for keeping the times between the announcement of an event and the actual event to the bare minimum, less than an hour’s notice is still rather inexcusable, leaving fans to scramble and find the proper sources to get their up-to-date news from.
Despite the ultimate resolution of Tuesday night’s announcements, Nintendo squandered an opportunity to take all the mystery and intrigue surrounding this year’s Pokémon titles and draw it all into one place. With the proper preparation beforehand, either with a more thoughtfully-timed announcement, or if the resources were available, a more engaging way to react to the news as it arrived, Nintendo could have capitalized on some pre-E3 excitement that they have been building towards since their press conference last year. Instead, Nintendo’s seeming lack of interest surrounding the next step in one of their prominent franchise’s future comes off as a slight against their legions of fans for the two-decade old series, regardless of how they intended it.
At the end of last week’s press event, the Japanese publisher revealed that a new mainline entry in the Pokémon series would be arriving during the second half of 2019, and if history is any indicator, we may not hear about this new RPG until around this time next year. This newest entry could potentially garner some incredible amounts of hype if it does indeed turn out to be the first proper console RPG that the franchise has seen in its storied history. As that hype starts to build next year, Nintendo owes it to themselves and to their fans to prepare the announcement of this next title with the respect that it deserves. Even a social media post with at least one day’s notice and a simple livestream of the event will go a long way towards getting the eighth generation’s arrival kicked off on the right note, and prepare both newcomers and long-time advocates alike for the series’ brave new future.