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EA not working on any Wii U Games

The Wii U loses one of the largest third-party developers as EA has no games in development for the platform.

Ted Polak

At E3 2011, EA announced a partnership with Nintendo to release several games for their then-upcoming Wii U console. They referred to it as an unprecedented partnership, and looked forward to the future.

About a year and a half later, EA released a port of Mass Effect 3 that didn’t include most of the DLC, a version of Madden that didn’t include the engine updates that were seen on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as the latest Need For Speed, and FIFA. At this time, EA considers these 4 titles to be “delivering on their partnership.”

EA has had large sway over the success or failure of a gaming console in the past. EA famously never released a single title for the Sega Dreamcast, and just a few short years after that console’s September 9, 1999 launch, its price was dropped to $30 as Sega looked to clear remaining inventory, and famously transitioned to a publisher of software only. It is strongly believed that the lack of EA titles was a major factor in the Dreamcast’s demise.

About 5 years later, Microsoft and EA were locked in a battle of sorts. EA did not offer online play on any of their titles on the Xbox, whereas the PlayStation 2 enjoyed Madden online as soon as the network adapter came out for it. EA wanted to utilize their own network infrastructure but Microsoft stood firm, stating that all publishers had to solely utilize Xbox Live services to deliver games on that platform. In 2004, Microsoft relented, and allowed games published on Xbox and Xbox Live to use EA servers for authentication and other features. That August, Madden 05 came out for the Xbox, emblazoned with the orange stripe of Xbox Live. However, for 2 and a half years, gamers had to get their online Madden fix from Sony. Microsoft had their NFL Fever franchise, but it only lasted for 3 years, and once EA bought the exclusive rights to the NFL, Microsoft had to play ball.

The question remains as to how badly this will hurt Nintendo’s fortunes. The Wii U is still underperforming, even after Nintendo revised their sales forecasts down to 4 million. In April 2013, the Wii U sold 55,000 systems in America, and currently sits at a total of 3.45 million sold. The original Wii sold 75,000 units that same month. Nintendo has notoriously suffered from a lack of third-party support for major franchises, and having no EA games is in no way going to help the Wii U.

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  • Joseph Robert Delaney

    I’ve had plenty of discussions with some other writers about the Wii U’s position in today’s console environment. While they certainly aren’t performing up to anyones hopes, I think the Wii U maintains a somewhat strong core audience. Whether or not this will keep Nintendo afloat in the hardware game is still up in the air.

    I think the real nail in the coffin for the Wii U is how different it’s architecture really is from the new Xbox and Playstation. While the big guys are going for builds that resemble x86 PCs, Nintendo insisted on maintaining their own custom chipsets and environments…

    I’m not sure how I feel about playing Zelda or Mario on a playstation or Xbox, but I feel it’s an inevitability… Great article by the way!

  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ Mr.Louis

    Sadly, this feels like the GameCube all over again.