Why Has Nintendo Been so Quiet About ARMS?

ARMS was announced during the official Switch presentation in January as a brand new IP for the system. While rumors had floated around of Nintendo working on a big new IP, it took everyone by surprise as the new title. Although some initial opinions were mixed, after various people got a chance to try the ARMS demo, most came back with a positive opinion of the game and even the motion controlled action. The title got some good screen time with the Treehouse crew after its reveal, and even a few videos showcasing the characters, but has gone somewhat quiet in actively relying information to the western fanbase. With ARMS appearing to be such a big upcoming title, why does it seem that Nintendo is so lax about showing it in action to their western audience?

ARMS sells itself as a unique fighting title where the controls are simply and straight forward, especially when playing using the motion controls. There are no long strings of combos to memorize, as all the fighting is done by simply punching and rotating the Joy-Cons in various directions. This makes it appealing to those who might have lost interest in a title like Pokkén Tournament, which was enjoyable but ended up being a bit of a miss with casual players due to its more complex battle system. Despite the appealing art style and simplistic gameplay, the title hasn’t left much of an impact since its first reveal.

There’s an easy comparison to be made between Splatoon and ARMS, with both being the latest new console based IPs for Nintendo in recent years. While Splatoon received tons of fanfare before release, including testfire demos and even live events in North America and Europe, ARMS has received very little. It has been playable at a handful of gaming events, but despite being only a month away from release it really hasn’t been able to reach a majority of Switch owners. While it has managed to capture an audience in the competitive fighting community, to be a success it needs to find its appeal with the average Switch owner as well.

Splatoon was a title that had fans interested right away, perhaps in part due to the catchy songs in the many trailers people couldn’t get out of their heads. However, the big boost that really helped sell Splatoon were the testfire demos. Like the recent Splatoon 2 testfires, these demos were only available for a limited time so more players became interested knowing they might not have another chance to try it out before release. This attracted players who quickly got absorbed into the fun multiplayer aspect, something that could also be mirrored by releasing a similar demo for ARMS. It wouldn’t just be a good idea to gain momentum for the title either, as like the Splatoon demos they could stress test their servers by letting players fight online for a limited time.

While there hasn’t been much noise for the title in the west, Japan has managed to win many players of various ages over by having the title available to demo at retailers and even holding multiple tournaments to test the ARMS gameplay with a live audience. In addition to this, the majority of reveals have only been announced from the Japanese side of the things and only character reveals being showcased officially to the west. A little can go a long way–all Nintendo would have to do is offer ARMS in common electronics retailers throughout North America and Europe to easily gain interest from people who might not even own a Switch yet, not to mention those who may be sitting on the fence about the title.

To those following it closely, ARMS is shaping up to be a unique game that can easily appeal to both competitive players and those just looking to have another fun multiplayer title for their Switch. With where it stands currently, it may end up being more of a niche new series that doesn’t gain the steam Nintendo seems to be hoping for. As ARMS is only a month away, tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct should hope it finds the right combination of either new characters, new gameplay features or perhaps even a demo to really get the ball rolling on making this title a real hit.