When Electronic Arts announced last week that it had no games in development for the Wii U — that, in fact, it had no intentions of supporting the console whatsoever — it served as a veritable poleaxing of both a company — Nintendo — and a console that have long fledged to attain support from third-party developers and publishers.
The indictment couldn’t have been clearer: EA is cutting costs; the Wii U simply wasn’t worth it. But don’t take our word for it.
Unleashing a volley of criticisms in a multi-tweet rant, Bob Summerwill, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as a senior software engineer and architect at Electronic Arts, elaborated, if you will, upon why his employer (and definitely why he) fails to see a promising future for the Nintendo Wii U. Summerwill has since discarded the messages, but not before they were captured by CVG.
“The Wii U is crap,” one bluntly began. “Less powerful than an XBOX360. Poor online/store. Weird tablet. Nintendo are walking dead at this point.”
According to Summerwill, “Nintendo platforms have always been very poor revenue-wise for third parties. Only [first-party properties] such as Mario and Zelda make money.”
Continuing his complaints, Summerwill lambasted Nintendo’s MO of being unconventional, suggesting, essentially, that instead of failing repeatedly to beat its rivals with… eccentricity, it should have pulled a post-Dreamcast Sega and joined them:
“Sony, MS, Apple, Google all following the same playbook… standard, powerful, hardware, with focus on software and services.
“Nintendo are still operating like it’s 1990. They should have ‘done a Sega’ and offered Mario/Zelda as PS4/Durango exclusives.
“Instead they make this awful console, and [Wii Street U]. Just stop it! Just make great games!”
Later tweets accounted for how Electronic Arts — a company in the midst of dramatically restructuring its operating focus — views the Wii U from a market perspective.
“Yep, we’ve got plenty of problems, but Wii U isn’t where that family/casual market is. It’s on mobile/tablet now.
“It is an utterly intentional decision to focus our resources on markets which actually matter… like mobile, and Gen4 ["Gen 4" being the next Xbox and PS4].”
To Nintendo’s benefit, it was just days after EA’s announcement of abandoning the Wii U that another mega-publisher, Ubisoft, expressed its wholehearted optimism for the console — urging consumers to support upcoming Wii U titles such as Rayman Legends, Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
That said, Nintendo has some profound problems it can’t ignore. EA might have forced Summerwill to delete his tweets but its own actions speak volumes no 140 characters (or, you know, 280 or 420 or 980) ever could. With the manufacturer skipping its E3 2013 press conference — and the show slated to be all about the next-generation offerings of Microsoft and Sony — Electronic Arts might not be the only publisher who eventually finds their Wii U-committed feet suddenly growing cold.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.