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Nintendo better announce a Nintendo Direct before fans explode

Why Nintendo fans are convinced the company is ready to reveal something

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Fans across the internet are convinced that Nintendo will hold one of its Nintendo Direct presentations on Jan. 11, and over the past few weeks, anticipation for that (still unannounced) event has reached a fever pitch.

More than a month of build-up — from general excitement, to unconfirmed “leaks,” to Twitter trolling — has gotten fans so worked up that, if Nintendo doesn’t say anything soon, who’s to say what could happen to the company’s enthusiastic community?

Craving Nintendo news is nothing new for fans of the company, especially now that the Switch is here. Fans, after all, created an entire, speculation-filled subreddit around the Nintendo NX, the codename for the Switch before Nintendo unveiled much about the system. But hype for January’s rumored Nintendo Direct is both more intense and possibly a bit more credible than most hype cycles.

So how did Nintendo fans get to this point?

It all started when a Reddit user kicked off speculation about a new Nintendo Direct presentation last November, when they said they’d received a document detailing Electronic Arts’ early 2018 plans. That Reddit user uploaded an image that appeared to discuss EA’s marketing strategy for Fe, the pretty adventure game due out in February. That image included a timeline that mentioned an upcoming Nintendo Direct happening in January 2018.

Unlike most “leaks,” the EA timeline looked convincing enough to get the rumor mill turning. Gaming forum ResetEra and Reddit discussed its veracity for days, leading up to The Game Awards 2017, where Nintendo had a presence. The company brought surprise reveals to the awards show, which was enough to temper the Nintendo Direct speculation for a while. But throughout the rest of December, fans’ hope continued to ramp back up.

Redditors continued to post their Nintendo Direct predictions, which is par for the course. (You might not need to read through many of them; people really want Animal Crossing/Super Smash Bros./third-party AAA games on Switch reveals, as always.) ResetEra posters kept the thread about the alleged EA document alive for weeks just to talk about announcements they wanted to see, until a moderator closed it for having “run its course.”

Again, this is nothing new: Nintendo fans talk about Switch and Nintendo 3DS games they want Nintendo to make all the time. But more apparent leaks started to happen, supporting theories about a January Nintendo Direct presentation. At the start of 2018, Cheap Ass Gamer spotted another seeming leak on Amazon. The retailer listed 18 unannounced Nintendo Switch games — with no titles or additional information — on its pre-order page. The placeholder art for those listings only had a Switch logo with text underneath that read, “Just Announced at the Nintendo Switch Event” and “Box art coming soon.”

The placeholder art on Amazon’s mystery Switch listings.
The placeholder art on Amazon’s mystery Switch listings.

The majority of these listings are gone now, although some — like a page for Square Enix RPG Project Octopath Traveler — remain on Amazon, with this placeholder art still attached. But as one user on the Nintendo Switch Reddit argued, “the last time Amazon got antsy with the placeholders, I recall most if not all became legit.”

After that, Switch owners felt certain that Nintendo must be holding a January Direct, and soon. They said that, much like last year, Nintendo would hold its first Direct of 2018 on the second Thursday of the month. That would be Jan. 11, a date given further weight after ResetEra user John Harker, who says he works in the games industry, said he’d heard that Nintendo had plans for that day.

That’s where we got to where are now. But where we are now is ... intense. ResetEra and the Switch subreddit are full of lengthy threads predicting reveals and announcements; “theories” about how there has to be an imminent Nintendo Direct; and pleas to “temper your expectations” rebutted by users demanding people “dial back your ‘dialing back’ threads.”

There are statistical breakdowns on “when Nintendo [does] Worldwide Directs” and a highly appreciated website that simply says “yes” or no” depending on if Nintendo has announced the January Direct yet. (It says “nope” right now, obviously.) On Twitter, Nintendo fan accounts have doctored convincing Direct announcements for this month’s presentation; other prominent users are retweeting Nintendo of America’s announcement of a Jan. 14 Direct ... from 2015. You better believe hopeful/gullible Nintendo fans are mad about that one.

We’ve seen Nintendo fans get really, really excited for possible reveals in the past; that’s kind of how this whole fandom thing works. But this January Direct is the most intense example of speculation we’ve seen in quite a while. When was the last time that a Nintendo diehard has created an entire website around whether a Direct has been announced?

Nintendo will give us some news when it’s good and ready, of course. We just hope it’s sooner than later, because the jury’s out on whether fans can keep their cool for much longer.

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