EA Isn’t Making Wii U Games: Do You Care?

Electronic Arts just confirmed that it's not designing games for Nintendo's Wii U.

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You’re reading that correctly: Electronic Arts, one of the world’s largest gaming companies with billions in annual revenue, just confirmed that it’s not designing games for Nintendo’s Wii U. Speaking to Kotaku, EA spokesperson Jeff Brown said “We have no games in development for the Wii U currently.” I assume Brown’s talking about this now to soften the reaction when EA showcases its product lineup at E3 next month.

And yes, Brown’s hedging with that word, “currently,” but as we know, original games can take years to bring off. Even ports require significant effort, especially if you have to figure out how to rejigger a game to take advantage of an idiosyncratic peripheral like the Wii U GamePad. If EA truly has nothing in the pipeline for Wii U, you’re looking at a year, probably more, for something — casual, core, family, whatever — to appear, and that’s if EA or one of its subsidiaries signed on to something today.

Remember this? Kotaku did. It’s Ex-EA CEO John Riccitiello, speaking at E3 2011 about the Wii U.

What Nintendo’s new console delivers speaks directly to the players of EA Sports and EA Games. Nintendo’s new console will produce brilliant high-definition graphics and new gameplay opportunities. We look forward to seeing great EA content on this new platform.

How times have changed. While EA has released Wii U games, specifically ports of FIFA 13, Madden 13, Mass Effect 3 and Need for Speed Most Wanted, Brown told Kotaku that those early games were simply EA wrapping up its E3 2011 obligations. (EA confirmed earlier this month that Madden 14 would skip the Wii U this year.)

From a business standpoint, whoever this reflects poorly on (at least one friend’s reaction was “These guys are jerks, man”), it’s bad news for Nintendo. Whatever you think of EA’s games or the company’s business practices overall, it owns some of the industry’s biggest ticket franchises, including Madden, NHL, FIFA, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Need for SpeedDragon Age, The Sims and most recently, the exclusive rights to develop future Star Wars games.

Series like FIFA and Need for Speed have sold over 100 million copies each (across all platforms), with Madden poised to join them. The Sims, EA’s bestselling property — the company’s made three titles in the franchise for the Wii alone — is one of the top sellers in video game history, moving over 150 million units to date. To give those figures a little context, all the Halo games sold to date add up to just over 50 million units sold.

From a gaming standpoint, would EA’s departure from the platform be such a bad thing? If you’re a sports gaming fan and Wii U owner, there’s no workaround here — this is terrible news, and my condolences. But if you don’t routinely snatch up the annual Madden or FIFA or NHL, could you live without stuff like Battlefield, Mass Effect, Dead Space and Dragon Age?

The Wii U’s in a bind lately. While Nintendo didn’t release unit sales for April (NPD’s monthly data rolled out last night), in recent months the system’s been fighting for air, dipping below original Wii sales at points (well behind Microsoft and Sony). The Wii U Deluxe, the only version of the system worth buying, goes for $350, which makes it notably more expensive than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Whatever any of this says about market softness or the future of console gaming itself — we won’t know for at least another year, looking back at the other next-gen console launches and post-launch numbers — it’s hard to imagine the Wii U surviving without a significant price cut, and soon.

55 comments
RyanMcCaffery
RyanMcCaffery

Please bring back sports games....Street was great....Etc..... we care

bigrack21
bigrack21

Madden has stunk since 2003....    Yes, things can be too complex.  I remember when "you" actually had to catch the ball, break tackles, defend passes and make tackles....  now you just call the play, and the AI does the rest.  LAME.

marty7044
marty7044

"The Wii U Deluxe, the only version of the system worth buying"

Talk about sloppy journalism, stating something as fact when it's just the author's biased opinion.  Target sells the standard model for $239.99.  I personally prefer the White color, I have an external hard drive (32 GB is still too small), and I don't need Nintendoland.  So it makes no sense to have bought the Deluxe model. 

Terrible journalism on your part, Matt Preckam 

YienwaePerezfam-miiz
YienwaePerezfam-miiz

Yes I do care that EA will not be developing a lot of content for the U.  However, with that said, I now hear that they will plan on making content too.  I think it is a big loss for both N and EA if they cannot resolve their business differences.  This is what it's really all about.  It's not about the U's power.   The fact that EA is making next gen games that will be released to both next gen and current gen consoles PS 4 and 3 (as well as XBox One and 360) only proves to me that it's not an issue of the U's power, but there are conflicts behind on the scenes regarding the business relationship between EA and N.

I hope this gets resolved because it's a big loss for both of them.

townfrown
townfrown

ea is just mad cause Nintendo was thinking about letting them do the internet servers for eshop and Nintendo network which would help ea alot! and Nintendo was like where doing it our self they got butt hurt and where like we are not going to make any games for the wii u to get back at them they made madden 2013 and stopped cause it was a release title if u remember the Dreamcast ea did the same thing to them and was a big reason sega isent here today but nintendos got 1.4 trillion in total assets so there here for good and i love my wii u and people will buy it for the games i bought it for like zelda mario metriod smash bros. i just  got it early cause i love nintendo i love playstation and xbox also but they will never be like nintendo a true gaming company that made video games what they are today so show some respect for the big N.

Mikz_Nyc
Mikz_Nyc

@townfrown  Finally somebody gets EA's monopoly and greed for money,Nintendo is a giant in gaming marketing compared to Sony and Microsoft put together,they do have some great games,but Nintendo is here because they can survive without 3rd party support,while Sony and Microsoft would die out within a year,that's marketing 101

emiller
emiller

Hi All!  Here I am taking a crap and reading this article. Just thought you might want to know.  I love Facebook!

atomixign
atomixign

EA got worse without Riticello.  Just like Totillo said they would. 

Korgoth
Korgoth

I really couldn't care less.  EA hasn't made an interesting game since the early 2000's, with very few exceptions.  Everything I've bought from them in almost a decade has felt like the same game they had before with a shiny coat of paint and the most recent players.

EA has been deliberately making decisions that are bad for the gaming industry, and this is just one more.  The Sim CIty debacle has been the most glaring issue, but their strong arming console makers into using their stupid online system and monopolistic contracts with the major sports leagues and player associations are just more of this.

With their recent pushes in the Android and iOS markets, I wouldn't be surprised if this time next year, EA makes a similar statement about Microsoft's next Xbox and Sony's PS4.

Oh, and I'm loving my Wii U, between ZombiU, MH3U, the Rayman Challenges App, and all the VC games I've downloaded, not to mention the bevy of Indie games, I don't have time to play Mario!

007_1/2
007_1/2

I don't care. I didn't buy a Wii U to play Madden. I bought it to play Mario and that is what I will use my Wii U for.

jcdenton2012
jcdenton2012

And yet another reason to hate EA. Notice that the list of franchises that they own is matched only by the reasons not to buy their products. I don't know what they need more, a better PR Department, or perhaps a better Executive Board. I say this because it is hard to find another commercial entity more despised yet at this point so embedded in the industry that it commands. However, if Nintendo goes down as a result of EA's actions then I would argue that EA might face a possible anti-monopoly lawsuit as a result. This is because as a Publisher it could be argued that EA has enough power to destroy any Developer and therefore streamline the gaming industry along its own lines. Such power, constitutes a monopoly on the industry.

Ima_Sinner
Ima_Sinner

No don't care at all. I don't think I've ever bought but one EA game ever.

toddhaley13
toddhaley13

do i care? not in the slightest bit, i own my wii u for one reason, the amazing games that nintendo is making me wait for... 3rd party games shall be played elsewhere haha

m1cronmega81
m1cronmega81

Don't understand the way they are treating Nintendo? This is all down to Origin? Surely EA haven't stooped that low have they?

rudyseidl
rudyseidl

To answer the article's question, 'do I care?' 

No.  Nintendo is better off.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

I have a long standing grudge against Electronic Arts dating back to their acquisition of Origin and the subsequent demise of the Ultima and Wing Commander franchises. Putting that aside, I am disappointed that certain of their games will not coming to the Wii U but ultimately it doesn't affect my choice of console. I can play most of the EA games that I'm interested in on my PC anyway.

cutdank
cutdank

I'm sad....

Fight Night and Madden are must haves for me.

Unfortunately, EA may force me to trade in the Nintendo and join the Darkside.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

Two things will happen that will make the Wii U sell without cutting the price.

1.  It's A-list games will come out starting this August.   3D Mario, Mario Kart, Pikmin, etc.

2. the PS4 and 720 are going to be around $500+ so suddenly the Wii U will be the CHEAPEST current system on the market,.