2013 wasn't Nintendo's year. Yes, technically it was the year of Luigi, but times were financially tough for the big N.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the venue for Nintendo President Satoru Iwata and Co. to turn things around, and as reluctant as we are to say it, we're cautiously optimistic they can pull out of the fiscal nosedive.
Nintendo's confirmed three big pieces of news before the show gets under way: one piece involving a quality of life product, a dash of Pokémon news and a perfectly wrapped gift of Super Smash Bros. announcements.
Then, after we wade through the facts, we've had our ear to the ground and can share a few rumors that we hope will play out at some during the main event.
Nintendo says plastic is fantastic
In an interview with Diamond.jp, a Japanese business information site, Iwata has gone on record for the existence of a "quality of life" product that will help shape Nintendo's fiscal plans for 2014.
Whether or not this is the NFC figures Iwata revealed last week is anyone's guess, but if it is our money's on Nintendo leveraging the lucrative physical toy model that Activision has been using for Skylanders and creating a lot of demand for Nintendo-themed toys and the games that go along with them.
Gotta catch 'em all
Pokémon has been a common denominator in Nintendo's plans for the past decade and has yet to fail them, that's why at E3 2014 you can expect to hear a bunch about the upcoming Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
"A fresh take" on 2003's Ruby and Sapphire versions of the monster-collecting RPG, these will potentially allow Nintendo to make re-skinned 3DS consoles and the games are bound to bring in more cash than their exorbitant namesakes.
Pick your battles, Nintendo
Finally, thanks to last month's Nintendo Direct, we now know the next iteration of Super Smash Bros. will have a staggered release generating a ton of profit; first in the summer on the 3DS and then during the all-important holiday months when it comes to the Wii U.
Nintendo has also announced plans to hold its first professional Super Smash Bros. tournament at E3 while gamers around the country can hit their local Best Buy for hands on demos of Mario Kart 8.
Our crystal (Poké) ball
"Surely a few lousy Nintendo figurines and a pair of Pokémon games can't be everything Nintendo's going to show this year," you say. No, of course it's not. And don't call us Shirley.
Shown a few years back as a Twilight Princess tech demo, the big N likely has a new Wii U-exclusive Legend of Zelda ready to be shipped late 2014 or early 2015. If the recent re-release of Wind Waker and A Link Between Worlds are any indications, the Zelda fan base are starving for a new mainline entry into the series, and now is as good a time as any to show it off.
(Price) drop it like it's hot
We've heard time and time again, there's no new console coming until the current Wii U owners are "satisfied." If we take that to be true, then the one big hardware announcement we can assume will happen is a much-needed price drop on the Wii U to a competitive $199 (around £100, AU$300).
Nintendo has to move these consoles by either A.) Dropping the price and selling each console at loss, B.) Announcing another huge first-party title on the level of Super Smash Bros. and hope that dredges up some sales or C.) A combination of A and B.
The last prediction on our list, and this is a long shot mind you, is for an all-you-can-play service similar to PlayStation Now. Realistically, the technology's almost there - the eShop is ripe with games to download and all Nintendo would need to do is create an intelligent tiered pay wall to bring back recent Sony and Microsoft converts. That, or Iwata will give Miyamoto full control of the company. Either way works.
What do you expect Nintendo to show off at this year's digital event? Let us know in the comments below!
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