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Nintendo’s Approach to Smash Bros 4 Marketing
Quite simply put – I am excited for Super Smash Bros 4 to release, both on the 3DS, and on the Wii U, which sorely needs it. In fact, the Wii U needs games in general, as I’m surely not the only person tired of waiting months between buying new titles. As you no doubt heard when we at the Nintendo section discussed it in our Smashcast, there’s a lot to look forward to with Smash Bros 4, regardless of what system you’ll buy it for.
In order to keep the excitement for Smash Bros 4 going through the next few months and during E3, often gaming’s most exciting time of the year, Nintendo is doing a couple of interesting things in lieu of a typical press conference. I’ll get to those shortly, but first, I want to discuss the general approach to Smash 4 that Nintendo has been taking.
Outside of the Nintendo Direct hosted by Masahiro Sakurai, information about Smash Bros 4 comes in on a daily basis of a screenshot, and we’re left to glean whatever information about the game we can from it. Sometimes, it’s easy – a screenshot shows something noticeably new, while other times, there doesn’t appear to be anything going on. We get the occasional video when a new character is revealed, but otherwise, new information is coming in slowly.
While the slow pacing is a guaranteed way to make major announcements feel like big deals, I can’t help but feel as if we’re being given far too little to make us excited for Smash Bros 4 – up until the Nintendo Direct, I felt like this was certainly the case. For a game that is as important to the life of the Wii U as Smash Bros 4 will surely prove to be, Nintendo is relying on the slow approach to excite people.
Now, Nintendo seems to be interested in promoting Smash Bros 4 on the Wii U in particular, and it seems like they understand that more information is that much more appealing to the fans of the series.
First off, Nintendo is continuing the partnership they created last year with Best Buy, and will be bringing playable Smash 4 into stores during E3. While I don’t live near a Best Buy and won’t have any way to enjoy this, it’s nice to put out a demo like this, and hopefully they will be in many Best Buy stores and accessible for lots of fans.
Nintendo’s second idea, and certainly the more exciting of the two, is the Super Smash Bros Invitational, which will bring 16 of the best Smash Bros players to Los Angeles to compete in a tournament on the Wii U version of Smash 4. Nintendo says they’ll be streaming this online, and hoping to bring in a wide audience of people to see Smash 4 in action.
I’m curious to see who will be invited to compete, as it’s expected that Nintendo will be trying to bring in some of the biggest names from the competitive Melee scene. These are the kind of people that will make a tournament like this memorable and bring in the views, but at the same time, I’d call the whole thing pretty risky. Why would I say that, you ask?
I’m not an expert on the Melee scene, and I’ve never been anything more than a competent player. But we all know how serious the scene is about the game, and how Brawl was a major let down for them. There’s definitely a feeling that Smash Bros 4 will likely not live up to Melee‘s lofty heights, and this tournament could be what proves that to the Melee fanbase.
Just imagine if a top player, say someone like Mew2King or Mango gets the invitation to play, and they end up disliking the game – that’s going to be enough to sway a lot of people from the Melee community. Of course, the opposite may just happen, and the endorsement of a high level player could turn the Smash Bros 4 hype train into something crazy. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’ll be great to see Nintendo acknowledge one of their most intense fanbases, and hopefully show us that Smash Bros 4 will be worth the wait.