EA is Blown Away By Wii U

Posted by at 10:58 am on July 1, 2011

The big shocker at Nintendo’s E3 2011 presentation was EA’s total support for the upcoming Wii U console.

Just a year earlier during an earnings conference call, EA’s CEO John Riccitiello indicated that third-party multi-platform games on the Nintendo Wii just weren’t performing as well as EA had anticipated. He said that in order for the Wii to reach Nintendo’s own expectations, it needed to help push third-party titles for the platform

“We were really blown away by the unique innovation that Nintendo brings with the Wii U controller on a high performance machine,” said EA’s Frank Gibeau in an interview. “The ability to do HD graphics and access game experiences in a completely novel way and a way that’s never been seen before, it really struck our fancy”

“We were excited by what Nintendo presented to us, we thought about it and it fits well with what we’re trying to do with our franchises like FIFA and Madden and Battlefield,” he added. “There’s great horsepower there, great innovation and Nintendo’s got fantastic branding. We’re platform agnostic as a company so if we find something we believe will have success commercially and critically, and has a business model that works for us, we’re in.”

EA has been working with the new console for quite some time. “Getting in early is partly about being a successful transition company and figuring out where the hardware is going to go,” he said. “With the Wii U it’s important for us to get there on day one so we can get in and build as big an audience as possible.”

For the Wii U, Nintendo said that it wants to not only reach out to hardcore gamers once again, but to provide better support for third party companies. Of course, these are mere promises for the moment, but EA seems highly enthusiastic over the new console nonetheless, a definite change in tune from EA’s stance with the previous Wii console and Nintendo focus on its own 1st-party titles.

“I can come up with a dozen titles in the last decade, but it’s really tough to come up with a dozen great titles that have been platform-defining for [Nintendo] that weren’t their own,” said Riccitiello late last year. “I don’t care whether it’s Mario or Twilight Princess or GoldenEye, it was their own content. I’m going back to [Nintendo 64], and I can go back to SNES if you want, but they’ve never really been a heavy third-party supporting system. It’s not lack of trying – they start the morning thinking what’s best for their own intellectual property.”

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