On September 30, this year’s Tokyo Game Show will kick off. Once again, because of the pandemic, the event will not be in person but online only. And, once again, Nintendo will not be showing up.
This evening in Japan, Nintendo tweeted out that it will not be exhibiting its own games at Tokyo Game Show 2021 Online.
It added that it will be cooperating for indie games from other companies. It seems like Nintendo just wanted to manage expectations, especially given its history with the Tokyo Game Show.
Typically, Nintendo sits the Tokyo Game Show out, and while it’s not unusual for Nintendo games or even Nintendo hardware to pop up at TGS indirectly, it would have been big news were the company itself to show up this year—even online.
As Famitsu points out, Nintendo’s involvement at TGS has long been limited. At the 2001 Tokyo Game Show it revealed a title called Game Boy Music for the Game Boy Advance—the game, however, was cancelled. The game would eventually become Nintendo DS title Daigasso! Band Brothers, which was released in 2004.
However, in 2005, then Nintendo President Satoru Iwata gave the keynote speech for the Tokyo Game Show. (That was the first big event I covered for Kotaku.) During his speech, Iwata revealed the Wii-mote for the first time, pulling it out of his coat pocket. Even to this day, it was one of the most electrifying press conferences I have ever attended. There wasn’t loud music or a fancy light show, but a guy with some slides and a good idea.
Later that day, when I was interviewing another exec, I saw Mr. Iwata in a hotel lobby. He came over and pulled the Wii-mote prototype out of his pocket and handed it over to me. It was a truly memorably experience.
If Nintendo ever plans to create more of those moments at the Tokyo Game Show, it isn’t going to be this year.