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Is Nintendo over?

No press conference for the company at E3 might be a sign of hard times

Satoru iwata1Enlarge
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata speaks during a news conference after the unveiling of the new game console Wii U at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

People are shocked that Nintendo is not going to have a press conference at the biggest video gaming show of the year, E3, in June. 

"Wow. no nintendo press conference at this year's e3. that's ... ceding a lot of oxygen to the competition," Arthur Gies, a video game reviewer, tweeted yesterday.

It's surprising because Nintendo's sales figures for the Wii U were pretty disappointing.

"Now this is a bad earnings report," influential tech blogger John Gruber recently wrote. "Really hope Nintendo figures a way to pull itself out of this spiral."

The gaming company sold 3.45 million Wii U consoles by the end of March, missing its target of 4 million units. But it expects new games to increase the sales of the Wii U to 9 million this fiscal year.

Instead of having a large-scale presentation at E3, Nintendo plans to host smaller events mostly focused on software for the US market, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said in a financial briefing today.

"Many people are certainly very interested in learning more about the Wii U titles that we are going to announce," Iwata said. "We will use E3 as an ideal opportunity to talk in detail mainly about the Wii U titles that we are going to launch this year, and we also plan to make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately. As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3."

Throughout E3, the company plans to use Nintendo Direct to communicate with its Japanese audience, and investors and analysts from other countries. Nintendo Direct is the company's online video channel for exclusive Nintendo news. 

But Nintendo is clearly struggling to save its business model of selling game consoles and software, as more people are flocking to their smartphones for a more casual gaming experience. 

And with the new Xbox set for unveiling on May 21, and the PS4 on its way, it seems like Nintendo would want the biggest presence possible at the world's largest video gaming conference.

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