There is no real way around it. The Wii U has had a troubled beginning to its console life, failing to capture audience’s imaginations like the Wii had. Bringing the Wii name into HD and giving players a unique tablet controller was not enough to entice gamers or developers back the console. One of the features of the console that was set up to allure a more hardcore audience was the promise of more third party AAA experiences, which was delivered at launch with Mass Effect, Arkham City and FIFA. Since then, the released schedule has dried up for Nintendo’s newest home console, not only with the big N struggling to produce a constant string of first party titles but also struggling to try and entice third party publishers to release their games on the system.
While Activision and Ubisoft continue to support the console, EA bowed out of similar support early on in its lifecycle. While EA says it has games in development for the Wii U, when it was announced that games like Battlefield, Madden and FIFA (which respectively got PlayStation 2 and Wii releases) wouldn’t be coming to the console, it seemed to be a nail in the coffin in their relationship with Nintendo.
According to a new report from Electronic Arts (via MMGN), it’s easy to see exactly why the publisher isn’t keen on investing in the console further. In the financial report, EA claims that US Wii U sales accounted for only $9 million worth of revenue in the last quarter. That is only 1.3% of the company’s total quarterly revenue of $695 million. The video game business, at least where publishers are concerned, is a numbers game and from that point of view, EA doesn’t need to explain why the prospect of developing for the Wii U isn’t all that appealing.
It is worth noting however, that EA hasn’t of late released any games on the Wii U, where it has on other platforms. Wii U sales increased 200% in September compared to August thanks to its price drop and bundled package with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. There are signs that the Wii U might not be dead yet leading into the holiday season and if EA were to put a more stable slew of content on the console, its returns could be higher, but then again, the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One systems are releasing in weeks and maybe it’s a lost cause.
What do you think? Should EA start supporting the Wii U with more regular content? Is the Wii U still a viable console for developers, publishers and consumers? Let us know below.