In 2013, Nintendo made the then-infamous decision to pass on a traditional press conference at E3, replacing it with a pre-recorded digital event. While controversial at the time, the format has worked well for the company, which has held regular Nintendo Direct events, not just in time for E3, but throughout each year since then.
However, for the first time since 2013, it looks like we won’t be getting a new Nintendo Direct in June, according to a report from VentureBeat. The cause for this – in a surprise to no one – is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which had already caused E3 itself to be cancelled. Nintendo, and other Japanese companies, have had an especially hard time transitioning to remote work, according to the report, because physical presence is regarded as critical in conducting business. Additionally, many people just weren’t ready to work from home, with many lacking basic tools such as a personal computer or home Wi-Fi, according to an Associated Press report.
Another challenge for Nintendo specifically is the ability to conduct a Direct presentation without a studio, where it usually records the events. Transitioning to a home environment for recording is possible, but Nintendo may not want to do it until it can do it properly, and that might not happen in time for a June presentation.
This may come as especially hard news for Nintendo fans, who have been longing for a full Nintendo Direct presentation for months. The last one was all the way back in September, though the company tried to fill in the gap last month with a Nintendo Direct Mini. Even that presentation started with the grim reminder that release dates mentioned in the video may be inaccurate due to the pandemic.
Additionally, rumors have been swirling about the possibility of older 3D Mario games being remastered and brought over to the Nintendo Switch. Without a presentation in June, Nintendo could keep fans waiting a lot longer for an announcement, assuming it doesn’t come through a simple tweet or press release.