A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido early Thursday morning, prompting Nintendo corporation to postpone a planned Nintendo Direct live streaming event related to the Switch and 3DS products. Nintendo released the following image and statement on Twitter.
Due to the powerful earthquake in Hokkaido, Japan, we have decided to delay this week’s planned Nintendo Direct. We will provide a new time and date in the near future. Thank you for your understanding. pic.twitter.com/IITgJFtzub— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 6, 2018
An uncredited photograph on Variety’s website shows devastation in the form of a mudslide, a displaced road, and several collapsed buildings. The quake is known to be responsible for at least seven deaths, dozens are missing, and homes have been buried by mudslides. According to CNet, 3 million homes are without power. Gaming website IGN reports that the earthquake epicenter was located near the tiny town of Atsuma and that it follows destruction brought by Typhoon Jebi, which had power equivalent to a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 87 miles per hour. Jebi is the strongest typhoon to make landfall on mainland Japan in 25 years.
Nintendo uses Direct events to connect with users and inform them of company performance, new products, and ongoing issues. Today’s event was supposed to focus on upcoming new titles for the Switch and 3DS devices. It was expected to air at 3 p.m. PDT and last approximately 35 minutes. Though Nintendo had not revealed the titles expected to be in the Direct event, GameSpot suspects that when it airs, it will cover new details on current best-selling Switch titles like Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu, Let’s Go, Eevee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Nintendo had also announced that a new game based on the popular Yoshi character would be out earlier this year, but news of that game was left out of E3 2018, where it would normally be released. Gamespot hopes that more details about the new game might also be included. CNet speculated that today’s announcement was to include information about the recently announced Switch Online service, which would allow gamers on the platform to play classic games in cooperative mode. The service is expected to cost $3.99 per month or $20 per year and would give subscribers access to 20 original NES games, such as the Mario Bros. series, The Legend of Zelda, sports games like Soccer and Tennis, and the classic Donkey Kong. Switch Online is expected to go live in the second half of September 2018, but it’s unclear whether this morning’s earthquake will have an effect on that schedule.