Are summer game festivals really missing Nintendo’s presence?

Walking around the Play Days “campus”, there are still small moments of joy everywhere. Devolver’s area had a huge bar celebrating mascot Volvy’s 15th birthday, complete with fake grass, cocktails, mocktails and birthday hats. And a stained glass Volvo for good measure. Huge wall art Wild monster hunter, Dragon Ball Z: Shine! Zeroand a whole greenhouse-like building filled with Sega and Atlus games.

Summer Game Fest is a commercial event. Some games are hidden behind quirky artwork and bar frontages, while others are located in well-appointed rooms with lighting, air conditioning and one of other free bars. Don’t worry, iced tea, water and other soft drinks are all on the menu – even I couldn’t survive on margaritas all week. This year, several dates took place off-site, hidden behind hotel doors and hidden in theater basements, adding to the sense of mystery.

A lot of the things I mentioned are also locked after the embargo. So for readers, the Nintendo SGF offerings are perhaps even more light-hearted. I also miss taking pictures with the Pokémon statues at E3 or peering through the queues to see them. The awakening of connection just to take an adorable diorama of Zelda.

However, since this was an event reserved for press and influencers, it was a lot easier to find people I knew and, more importantly, faces. Shigenori Soejima, artist by personality series, tucked away in the Sega area, hosts interviews for the upcoming PS5, Xbox, and PC RPG Metaphor: ReFantazio (which I was lucky enough to play and cover for Push Square). But he shows up every once in a while just to walk around, talk and have a drink. Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team, was also walking around campus, probably taking a break from all of Shadow the Hedgehog’s strange questions.

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Image: Stephen Tailby / Nintendo Life

Shuhei Yoshida, former President of SIE Worldwide Studios and now famous for cultivating and celebrating indie games for Sony, has been spotted wandering around on multiple occasions, happy to be photographed with fans and friends alike. I saw Swen Vincke, founder and head of Larian Studios, enjoying a drink at the Summer Game Festival live party.

The creators, developers, and journalists I’ve respected and loved for years have surrounded me, and that’s something I’ve always felt a little dizzy about. However, from the outside looking in, Summer Game Fest will probably have a very different feeling. It’s just a collection of livestreams, announcements, and press previews that offer almost no experience whatsoever.

As someone who needs to work at the event, I don’t think the show should be open to anyone who buys a ticket – if it were, there would need to be a separate day for the campus to be open to the public. Plus, the space isn’t big enough to accommodate the E3-level crowds that the last few years have invited through the doors.

But right now, there is a real difference between what the press sees and what the public sees. There are many events and demos that we are invited to participate in Not public events like Summer Game Fest or Gamescom. And as for the former, many still see it as a replacement for E3. But Summer Game Fest is a completely different beast – one that lacks Nintendo’s presence And Sony, for now (except, again, for LEGO Horizon Adventures for later). As for Nintendo, it was a bit strange that the company was not present at the show in any capacity.

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Sonic ice cream, anyone? — Image: Alana Hagues / Nintendo Life

But 2024 is a strange year for the Big N and we were right before the Live where the developer will outline its plans for the rest of 2024 for the Switch – perhaps the last time before the “successor” is announced.

And arguably, if Nintendo had used the Summer Game Festival as a platform, it would likely dominate the event as it does today. I love Nintendo games – there’s obviously a reason I write for Nintendo Life – but Nintendo’s announcements drown out all the exciting unique and independent announcements that many showcases feature. out this year. I don’t want offerings like Innersloth’s OuterSloth independent fund to be overshadowed.

But the public reaction to Summer Game Fest Live in particular has been a bit deplorable. No matter how much people’s expectations were set by organizer Geoff Keighley, people were still upset when Silk song has been absent or Square Enix’s presence (outside of the Xbox showroom and for anything RPG related) has been minimal.

Maybe it was because I was in Los Angeles for this event, but I thought the Live show was pretty good. There are many exciting titles and surprises on offer, such as Digital Eclipse’s new game SupermanS fight them (crowd comes nuts because of it, and rightly so), Sonic X Dark Generation‘ new trailer, Boy And Deer, NevadaAnd Civilization VII. At this point, I know not every showcase is for me, so I’m happy to see a mix of things. But if you’re specifically a Nintendo fan, it’s easy to feel instead frustrated.

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Still, you’re working hard with the lovely Zion and Craig (Pure Xbox), amirite? — Image: Alana Hagues / Nintendo Life

However, I don’t think Summer Game Fest is the replacement for E3. It’s something quite different, and that’s okay! E3 was around for more than 20 years before permanently closing its doors last year; The Summer Games Festival is only in its fourth year. There’s still plenty of time for it to improve, grow, and perhaps – one day – for Nintendo to get involved.

Also, that Switch successor? Next year could be the perfect time for Nintendo to launch its Summer Game Festival.

Do you miss Nintendo’s presence at the Big Summer Show™? Would you like to see something closer to the old E3? Vote in our polls below and let us know what you think in the comments section.

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