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Iwata's GDC Keynote


Alright, before I begin I would like to say two things:

1. This is complete speculation. While I am basing it on announced details, I am completely speculating. I can't say that I have any inside information on this.

2. I was not super pressed to write this. I often write speculation that I feel is just staring me in the face; this is not one of those times. I just randomly felt like writing this.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

So, recently it has been announced that Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, will be speaking at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on March 25th (Press Release). The title of his Keynote will be, "Discovering New Development Opportunities."

Here is the little blurb from the GDC site.:

From this blurb, we see that Mr. Iwata has not been a keynote speaker at GDC since 2006. While I don't really think that GDC is the defining conference for gaming, it is interesting that we will be seeing Mr. Iwata there now.

Recently, Nintendo's stock had its largest single-day drop in 18 years. This is basically due to Nintendo cutting shipment estimates significantly, which is causing people to believe that the growth for the Wii is over. Now, even if this was true, I think that we would be kidding ourselves if we were really disappointed. That is, can we really expect a product to be popular after 2 years of being on the market? I'm also sure that many of you have the feeling that the Wii may have a lot of undeserved success; this would be because of the lack of attention many of you guys seem to be feeling.

Perhaps Nintendo, who provided no official explanation for the bearish forecast, is simply trying to lower expectations for what we may see at GDC or E3. Now, if you're of the belief that we are long overdue for a Zelda title, then you might think that we will soon see an announcement of a new Zelda from Iwata at GDC.

Now here is where the speculation comes in. The natural question to ask would be: Why would Nintendo reveal a Zelda title at GDC when Nintendo already said that we wouldn't see it at E3?

Well, if you look back to the interview with Miyamoto, that said that we wouldn't likely see Zelda at E3, then you might think it unlikely, but if you actually read and picked apart what Miyamoto said, we might be able to say that a GDC announcement is possible.

Miyamoto said, "I'm really not sure when we'll be able to make a public announcement on that. I can't even say if the next E3 will be the right opportunity to do so. But rest assured, our teams are working on new projects right now."

I said that E3 might not be the right opportunity to announce the next Zelda, but that doesn't mean that we can't hear about it sooner, does it? I mean, E3 is becoming increasingly irrelevant, despite the ESA's effort to keep it afloat. GDC, on the other hand, seems to be doing quite well. So, why would I believe that we will see something at GDC in particular? Simple.

I believe that it isn't such a stretch to believe that Nintendo will be talking about Wii Motion Plus at this year's GDC -- it just makes sense. I doubt I will need to convince you about that, but just to be clear: GDC is about the developers and Wii Motion Plus provides much in the way of development opportunities -- the very title of Mr. Iwata's keynote.

Now, many of you have expressed the idea that perhaps the next Zelda would use Wii Motion Plus. We already have heard from Miyamoto that the next Zelda was made from the ground up for the Wii. So, what better tech demo to show at GDC for Wii Motion Plus than a Zelda?

We know Nintendo is interested in attracting developers to the Wii Motion Plus (as evidenced by the video I took below at the media briefing), and serious about 3rd parties. In fact, when Nintendo had that huge stock price drop, Mr. Iwata was quick to say that third parties are benefiting greatly from Wii and DS.

The point it, it seems that Nintendo wants to appeal to the third parties and perhaps wants to encourage them to develop for the Wii Motion Plus. I think Nintendo will show off the next Zelda at GDC so as to send the message that says, "Hey, if we can take one of our most core titles, The Legend of Zelda, and use Wii Motion Plus, then you have no excuses...use it!"

I am almost sure we'll see Wii Motion Plus at GDC, but whether or not we see Zelda is up in the air. We have heard almost nothing about the Wii Motion Plus (or Wii Pay and Play, by the way) since the announcement. And just because Miyamoto said that E3 wasn't the right opportunity, doesn't mean that this is due to it being too early. Maybe they just don't view E3 as the place to announce this sort of thing.

Maybe we will be seeing Zelda at GDC. Mark your calendars: March 25th. What say you?