What you mean is they didn't have a big unfocused Direct that focused on some game not coming out for potentially years. But they had almost 20 Directs last year. Better Directs that were much more focused in theme and on a relavent timeframe. Nintendo also had strong promotion through social media, newsletters, the Switch news channel, and EShop promotions/sales. 2020 was perhaps the most solid marketing they've done outside of the launch of the Switch and the early Wii and DS Lite years.
The issue with these large and unfocused Directs is they don't seem to do anything except confuse and disappoint people. What was the point of overloading people with all these uninformative and forgettable clips of games and then honing the whole thing in on some unremarkable-looking Splatoon game that's not even coming out for 11-23 months?
I don't know how much of an impact a Direct has on sales, but this one had a negative response. So it might be a lot better if Directs like this have no impact on sales. They oversold stuff coming out in 1-2 years, and because of this they undersold the stuff that's just around the corner. Those games might have looked a lot more appealing if they broke them up into 3-4 smaller, better themed, more digestible Directs.
For the record, I hate making whiny sounding posts like this to try to get a marketing point across =)
Other than the Mario direct, the partners have been by far the worst received directs and everyone hated them. My point still stands