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Nintendo to skip E3 2013 press conference in favor of smaller directed events

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Nintendo won't hold a traditional, large-scale press conference at this year's E3, president Satoru Iwata revealed in a financial results briefing today. Instead of a presentation targeted at an international audience, Nintendo plans to host smaller, more directed events.

"As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3," Iwata said. Nintendo's E3 presence will be "specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market," Iwata says.

At E3 2013, Nintendo plans to hold a closed event for American distributors and another closed hands-on event for Western gaming media. Iwata, who did not present at last year's E3, says he's not planning on speaking at these events.

"Apart from these exclusive events for visitors, we are continuing to investigate ways to deliver information about our games directly to our home audience around the time of E3," Iwata explained. "During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience ... and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well."

During the most recent episode of Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced release dates for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games, and revealed a new Yoshi's Island, a new Mario Party and a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Iwata says Nintendo does not plan to announce new hardware at this year's E3. Instead, Nintendo plans to talk in detail about Wii U titles slated to launch this year and "make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately."

In March, Shigeru Miyamoto told Polygon that E3 was becoming a different sort of opportunity for Nintendo in light of their use of Nintendo Direct.

"Well it used to be we would save many of our announcements for E3 and announce them at the show, but what we have seen over the recent years is that there are a number of different ways and a number of different times when we have more opportunity to make those types of announcements," Miyamoto said at the time. "So I can't today make any promises that we're going to do at E3, but I do think that this particular is going to be a year where we're seeing more regular announcements from Nintendo about what's coming and that some place within the announcements we will hopefully have something to share about NFC. As I think Mr. Iwata has been saying lately, where we do see tremendous value in E3 is it's a place where people can come and they can actually get their hands on and try the software we have been talking about."

Update: Nintendo of America senior director of corporate communications Charlie Scibetta further detailed the company's E3 2013 plans in a statement provided to Polygon this morning.

"As you've already seen, a lot of news about Nintendo games and services that traditionally would be held until E3 is being delivered this year through Nintendo Directs, and various press events. This approach will continue between now and E3. No matter where you are in the world, you'll be fully informed. We look forward to continuing to provide you with Nintendo news and content in ways you haven't before experienced. Beyond the news that will be communicated through Nintendo Direct videos in the run up to E3, at the show itself we're hosting two smaller events on Tuesday morning before the LACC opens instead of just our traditional one event. A media event and a partner presentation will both occur that morning. While the audiences will be different between the two events, both will occur on the Tuesday morning of E3 (June 11) which is the date and time period the public has come to expect for Nintendo to deliver E3 news.

"At the Nokia theater we'll meet with business partners (retailers, publishers, analysts, etc.) from the NOA territory and discuss our plans for driving the business and providing tailored information that this group finds useful to their operations. Nintendo has done these same type of business meetings at past E3 shows, but has not in the past few years. This year we are returning to that business partner meeting format. New this year at our booth in the LACC, prior to the show opening, we'll invite a small group of media to play our games. We will have a strong line-up of beloved franchise experiences available for immediate hands-on play. We are continuing to consider exciting new ways to bring the news of our games and information directly to the players at home during the E3 timeframe, and will have more to say about that at a later date."

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