March Nintendo Direct in the works with focus on 2020 lineup

The next Nintendo Direct is in the works. The publisher hasn’t confirmed the event yet, but it’s in the final stages of putting the video presentation together. That’s based on what we’re hearing as well as some other indicators. Expect a Nintendo Direct soon. The company is penciling in something for next week that could either end up as the Direct or one of the company’s indie showcases (like the one it released around GDC 2019). But if it broadcasts an Indie World show next week — possibly on March 18 — a full Direct will follow soon after.

Unlike the last two Directs, which focused on specific games (Pokémon and Animal Crossing: New Horizons), the next Direct will take a broader look at the Nintendo Switch’s upcoming lineup. Nintendo’s first-party slate is the subject of many rumors, and I can’t confirm what it will show off. But it will bring in support from third-party publishers and developers. So expect to hear about a wide variety of games that you can pick up for Nintendo’s hybrid home/handheld Switch console.

This Direct also gives Nintendo one last opportunity to excite fans for Animal Crossing’s March 20 release. But it’s unlikely that it will spend a significant amount of time on the social-life simulator.

I’ve reached out to Nintendo, but it declined to comment.

What proof is there that the Nintendo Direct is happening next week?

I’m not guaranteeing a Nintendo Direct on March 18. The publisher hasn’t announced it yet, so things could change. And yes, this is absolutely me hedging. But Nintendo is deep into the process of putting the event together based on what I’ve heard. It has decided many of the third-party games it will include in the event.

The company also updated the Nintendo Direct playlist on its Japanese YouTube account. The last time it did that was a week before the Animal Crossing Direct.

Above: Nintendo Japan updated the Nintendo Direct playlist last week. That is three weeks after the Animal Crossing Direct.

I wouldn’t normally read too much into that pattern. Nintendo doesn’t behave in a consistent manner that is easy to predict. But this is some circumstantial evidence that lines up with everything else.

Finally, Nintendo needs to communicate its lineup — and not even to its fans. The publisher is coming up on the end of its fiscal year on March 31. And investors will want to know how Nintendo plans to keep generating revenue. It could do that with a conference call with analysts and its shareholders. But it’s more likely that Nintendo would actually present its lineup to fans first at this point.

The last general Nintendo Direct was in September. And fans know almost nothing about what is coming to Switch beyond Animal Crossing. A Direct would enable Nintendo to carry some momentum into its fiscal-year end. It could then also point to the Direct as evidence of future revenue during its shareholder meeting in the spring.

If this Direct pans out, we should hear about it early next week.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Pacific time on March 10: Added the possibility of an Indie World event preceding a Nintendo Direct.

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