Nintendo’s E3 2017 keynote felt like a bait and Switch

If you were looking forward to a blow out of new, high-quality Switch games for 2017 from Nintendo’s E3 2017 keynote, you have about as much to look forward to as you did before. This, frankly, is not the impression that Nintendo gave leading into its E3 2017 presentation.

“Our various E3 activities will showcase the next steps for Nintendo Switch, from a summer of social competitive gaming to a holiday season highlighted by a milestone Mario adventure,” Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime said in a press release more than a month before the event.

Not only that, but at the time Nintendo tweeted the below, detailing that its E3 2017 presentation would be “a look at Nintendo Switch games for 2017, including Super Mario Odyssey.”

So, what did we get?

While I’ll stay away from saying the dreaded “L” word, Nintendo’s build-up to its E3 presentation was playing with the facts. When going into a presentation expecting to hear all about Nintendo Switch games due in 2017, I doubt many were expecting to see refreshed trailers of 2017 games already announced attached to some release dates.

It should be safe to say that many viewers were expecting to see at least one major new game for 2017 with new details. To be clear, the only new Switch game announcement for 2017 during Nintendo’s keynote was Rocket League. (It's no doubt a big, seminal game, but a 2-year-old one at that.)

Instead, what was shown during Nintendo’s 30-minute presentation were not one, but four teasers for games due to release sometime in 2018 or even beyond: Metroid Prime 4, Yoshi, Kirby and the long-rumored, full-fat Pokemon game.

Now, don’t mistake: all four of those are incredibly exciting prospects and will likely result in delightful portable game experiences.

However, none of them are experiences I’ll enjoy on the $300 console I just bought in the year that I bought it.

I’m also left knowing nothing more about neither Nintendo’s now-delayed online gameplay service nor its Virtual Console retro game download service, if there even will be one.

I also know nothing more of anticipated Switch versions of game series that have become core franchises for Nintendo in recent years, namely Super Smash Bros. Hell, at this point I’d take the Wii U version of Smash Bros. on Switch, just like we all willingly did with Mario Kart 8 and will soon again with Pokken Tournament.

Again, this is all for a console that I bought this year … for $300. Granted, adopting early is on me, but is it not fair to expect Nintendo to make good on those nearly 3 million early adopters’ purchases with, if not more games, more information?

Then, as if to pour salt on the wound many Nintendo Switch owners are likely nursing right now, famed Nintendo of America translator Bill Trinen tweeted the following minutes before and then during the presentation:

The plight of the early switcher

Here’s what it comes down to: when I bought my Nintendo Switch on launch day, I bought it full-well knowing what few games were available at launch. However, I bought in with what little knowledge of what was still to come and the confidence that more quality games would be revealed for the second half of 2017 during E3.

Nintendo then bolstered that confidence with some vague teases of its E3 2017 presentation, only to pivot to teasers for 2018 releases rather than what’s on the docket for this year.

In short, despite the exciting news of four major game franchises – some of my favorites, mind you – landing on Switch sometime next year or beyond, I entered Nintendo’s E3 keynote looking to have my reasons for getting a Switch early affirmed, and they weren’t.

Short of an incredible-looking Mario game on the horizon, unless you’re into anime melodrama or swatting at endless waves of slack-jawed enemies, the end of 2017 is going to feel rather thin for early adopters of Nintendo Switch. (For Pete’s sake, early adopters aren’t even getting a proper online gameplay service until next year.)

Nintendo managed to sell us on a console about a year early, and pretty much showed its hand for 2017 before its E3 presentation even started.

The sooner I and the millions of early Nintendo Switch owners come to grips with this, the better. Hey, at least all of those indie games due out this year should hold us over.

  • E3 is the world's largest exhibition for the games industry, stuffed full of the latest and greatest games, consoles, and gaming hardware. TechRadar is reporting live from Los Angeles all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated E3 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about the next year in gaming.
Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.