When E3 2020 was canceled early last month, many wondered whether most gaming companies that planned to make major announcements at the June show would still roll them out around the same time. According to a new report, the COVID-19 pandemic has led Nintendo to postpone its Direct presentation it planned for June to a later date.
At VentureBeat, Jeff Grubb reports that Nintendo is informing partner developers that there will be no Direct presentation held in June. Initially, the report states, the plan was to craft a show similar to Nintendo's past Directs corresponding with E3—partner features aside, Nintendo would reveal its first-party releases planned for 2020, including those related to the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario franchise. The lack of a Direct wouldn't necessarily preclude individual announcements from Nintendo, but it suggests we'll only be seeing smaller chunks of news from the company over the next few months.
No window has emerged for a Nintendo Direct at a later date. Nintendo did not respond to VentureBeat's request for comment.
VentureBeat cites reports on widespread difficulties with Japan's transition to work-from-home practices during the pandemic while adding that Nintendo is "just not sure how to produce a high-quality Direct outside of a studio." While other companies like Microsoft have already put on digital presentations featuring employees and developers calling in from their home offices, it's certainly true that a similar approach would be a huge departure from Nintendo's many years of polished Direct presentations.
Last month, Nintendo issued a statement regarding E3 2020's cancellation and its plans for industry events later on in the year. "We'll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products," said Nintendo. "Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future. But we are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues."
If Nintendo were to make a standalone digital event around a title like the Breath of the Wild sequel or a new slate of Super Mario re-releases, it would probably go over just fine with fans. Still, if there's a drought of Directs while Sony, Microsoft, and others have an opening to play catch up with Nintendo's well-oiled digital announcement strategy, that could have a huge effect on Nintendo's industry event attendance—and on expo planning in general—once large events are deemed safe again.