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Nintendo Directs are online presentations produced by Nintendo where news about upcoming video games, events, and other things concerning the company are relayed directly to its fanbase. They began on October 21, 2011, with only Japan and North America receiving the presentations before expanding to other regions. Worldwide directs were presented by CEO Satoru Iwata until his death in 2015, after which other Nintendo executives such as Yoshiaki Koizumi and Shinya Takahashi would take up the role.

Nintendo Directs are known for not being publicly announced too far in advance, with announcements that one will be aired usually coming no more than two days prior, resulting in both a lot of predicting when the next one will happen and a concentrated two-day burst of hype when one is announced.

    Types of Nintendo Directs 
  • General Directs: Cover a wide variety of games and topics, lasting from thirty minutes up to an hour, with extra focus occasionally being given to one or two major upcoming titles. Since 2017, Nintendo has held three General Directs a year (February/March, at the end of their fiscal year; June, ahead of their annual shareholders meeting; and September, corresponding with the Tokyo Game Show), each of which mainly focus on announcing content for the subsequent six months. There are also shorter "Mini" variants that can run for as little as ten minutes.
  • Partner Showcases: Cover upcoming third-party releases, though third-party developed titles published by Nintendo may still make an appearance. Originally introduced as a new variant of the "Mini" format during the COVID-19 Pandemic, these take the place of a traditional general Direct in the announcement schedule.
  • Specialized Directs: Focus on a specific title or franchise. The most frequent examples of this are the Pokémon Directs held by The Pokémon Company to discuss upcoming Pokémon titles (later rebranded into Pokémon Presents in 2020 to encompass non-gaming content), and Super Smash Bros. Directs held by series producer Masahiro Sakurai to extensively detail new fighters and gameplay features.
  • Indie Worldnote : Focus on upcoming titles made by small, independent developers.

Defunct Variants

  • Nintendo Direct E3note : From 2013 to 2021, Nintendo forewent the usual E3 stage press conference format in favor of having a Nintendo Direct in conjunction with Nintendo Treehouse Live; a three-day showcase of recently announced titles hosted by members of Nintendo of America's localization team, with in-depth gameplay footage, interviews with developers, and an extra announcement or two. Most of these included at least one gaming tournament as well.

The show can be viewed on the Nintendo eShop, YouTube, Twitch, and the official Nintendo website. An extensive list of every Nintendo Direct ever can be seen over here.

Microsoft and Sony would create their own equivalents in the following years: Inside Xbox starting in 2018 and State of Play in 2019, respectively. Larger software publishers would also follow the trend, with Ubisoft (Ubisoft Forward) and Square Enix (Square Enix Presents) debuting their variants in 2020.

Bringing the following examples directly to you:

  • Art Shift:
    • Done occasionally to promote certain games, such as Iwata having a "paper border" when presenting Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and a LEGO Iwata showing off LEGO City Undercover.
    • Perhaps most notable with Tomodachi Life, which prominently features Mii versions of Nintendo executives, and even opens with a Mii version of Bill Trinen.
    • The E3 2014 and 2015 Directs also engaged in this, with the former having animated sequences by the guys behind Robot Chicken, and the latter having Muppet versions of Iwata, Miyamoto, and Reggie in place of live action appearances.
  • Ascended Meme: The second Doug Bowser was announced as Reggie Fils-Aimé's successor as President of Nintendo of America, the Internet naturally began pointing out that he shares the same name as Mario's nemesis. Later, during the E3 2019 Direct, which formally introduced him, the King of Koopas himself appears before Doug Bowser arrives, complaining about a "mix-up".
    Yoshiaki Koizumi: Are you related?
    Doug Bowser: No, but we get that a lot.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: When Yoshiaki Koizumi introduces Doug Bowser, Koizumi speaks Japanese while Bowser speaks English, yet the two carry on a brief conversation just fine.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Directly to you" as part of the introduction, accompanied by extending both hands forward while tilting the hands upright, palms parallel to each other, was used during the Satoru Iwata-era of presentations.
    • "Please take a look" when introducing the reveal trailer for a major new Nintendo-published game.
    • "Please understand" at the end of apologies for product delays and issues.
    • "But before we go", or some variation thereof, referring to the final announcement of the Direct.
  • Dream Within a Dream: At the end of the Tomodachi Life Direct, Bill dreams that he is standing at a pier when a giant Reggie head rises from the sea. He is then awoken by the actual Reggie, only to be awoken again by a production crew member who voices concern about him passing out in the middle of filming.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first few Nintendo Directs were plain, with Nintendo executives Reggie Fils-Aimé (for the Americas), Satoru Shibata (for Europe/Australia), and Satoru Iwata (for Japan and global presentations) explaining a game or product against a white background and no music. It wasn't until around the E3 2013 Direct that efforts were made to develop a more lively, unified look; in addition, region-specific General Directs that are hosted by that branch's CCO or marketing head were slowly phased out by end of the decade, with such presentations now being limited to Indie World showcases.
    • Nintendo Directs used to be more frequent prior to 2017, occurring almost monthly, resulting in not only fewer games being discussed in each presentation, but each game being discussed in greater detail, as opposed to the current "headline-centric" format. In addition, Direct also regularly featured long comedic skits featuring Nintendo staff and executives.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Announcements for "headline" titles are preceded by a short introduction that often uses wordplay alluding to the game that's about to be shown (e.g., "A Classic Comes Alive" for Live A Live).
  • Foreshadowing: The August 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct used the Animal Crossing-based Smashville and Luigi's Mansion stages to highlight the new "stage morph" feature. The following September 2018 General Direct was bookended by announcements for new installments in both series.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: There have been a few times that the Nintendo Direct format is used to promote non-video game Nintendo projects; the December 2020 Direct about the new Super Nintendo World zone at Universal Studios Japan, and the October 2022, November 2022 and March 2023 Directs focused on The Super Mario Bros. Movie from Illumination.
  • Insistent Terminology: As part of Nintendo of America's general marketing guidelines, the games discussed in Nintendo Directs are always referred to as "the (name of the game) game", which can lead to long-winded phrases such as "the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass DLC for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game".
  • Large Ham: The Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza is hosted by the game's announcer who is just as hammy as in Smash.
  • Lost in Translation: Occasionally, the jokes made in the videos don't translate well, and have to make use of a translator's note in order to explain the joke to the Japanese or English audience.
    • The E3 2019 video had a mistaken identity skit that didn't quite translate into Japanese, as it's based on the fact that the president of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, shares his name with the Super Mario villain. Except Bowser's Japanese name is "Koopa", so a translator's note was added.
    • One Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct has Masahiro Sakurai joke that putting Kazuya Mishima into the game was a Mission from God. The joke requires you to be familiar with Japanese kanji, or at least know that one of the kanji that spells out "Nintendo" can be translated into "heaven."
  • Redubbing: The North American versions of Nintendo Directs have the hosts dubbed over in English, though the original Japanese track can still be heard below. Averted for the European versions, which opt for subtitles instead.
  • Retool: The April 2017 saw the debut of a "headline-centric" presentation format that delivers information in a more fast-paced, trailer-focused manner; in sharp contrast to prior Directs, which would spend time after each every trailer both discussing what they just showed and building up what we're about to see, as well as on long comedy skits. Red and white also became the predominant color scheme over blue and white, matching the similar shift in Nintendo's corporate colors.
  • Running Gag:
    • People staring at fruits and vegetables. It started with Iwata staring at a bunch of bananas in the E3 2012 showcase, later that year Bill Trinen stared at a tangerine in the same way, and yet again with LEGO Iwata holding a carrot.
    • Bill stealing Reggie's donuts.

"That's all for today's Nintendo Direct. Thank you for watching."