As we’ve detailed several times over the past year or so, Nintendo needs to right the ship. However, what recent sales number for the Wii U have shown is that Nintendo needs to do so quicker than they might be capable of. The Wii U is on a steep downward decline, and yet again the future of Nintendo as a hardware and a software company is called into question.
While there are some solutions to Nintendo’s problems, including a big showing at E3 2014, it appears Nintendo is alone in their quest to turn things around. Third party support is slowly, or in some cases quickly, waning.
In fact, third part support from certain publishers, namely Electronic Arts, was lost almost from launch. As one EA source tells CVG, the company was “dead to us very quickly.” The anonymous source continues by saying the Battlefield and Dragon Age publisher saw Nintendo’s platforms as focused exclusively on kids games, and EA, according to this source, is not really in the business of making games for kids.
“It became a kids IP platform and we don’t really make games for kids. That was pretty true across the other labels too. Even the Mass Effect title on Wii U, which was a solid effort, could never do big business, and EA like Activision is only focused on games that can be big franchises.”
But not so fast: EA’s COO Peter Moore was quick to respond with this message:
Don’t trust "anonymous sources". Nintendo's a great partner. They never have been, and never will be, ‘dead’ to EA… @EA .
— Peter Moore (@petermooreEA) January 23, 2014
This isn’t the first time a publisher has sent mixed messages – it’s not even a first for EA with regards to Nintendo – but clearly there’s a disconnect. Oftentimes an anonymous source speaks a little more candidly than a big-time executive, but any anonymous representative’s comments should always be taken with a grain of salt.
That being said, EA hasn’t been a sterling example when it comes to Nintendo third party support. Many of their biggest releases have skipped the platform, and those games that do make it to the Wii U are pared down in some fashion.
Still, considering the sales numbers for the Wii U it’s no surprise that Electronic Arts has been cautious about developing games for Nintendo’s platform. In a business as big as video games there is little room for risks, even small ones. Unfortunately, as we’ve said before, that’s the double-edged sword Nintendo has to deal with: sales are down because there aren’t many games and there aren’t many games because sales are down.
Do you think there is some truth to claims Nintendo is “dead” to EA? How do you think Nintendo could increase third party support?