Published on May 16th, 2013 | by Fraser Brown2
Electronic Arts breaks up with the Wii U
Remember when EA leaped into bed with Nintendo with the vigour and enthusiasm of a person who hasn’t bumped uglies in several months? “An unprecedented partnership” was what was promised by former CEO, now full time warlock, John Riccitiello back at E3 2011 in regards to the Wii U. He gushed about the sweet, tender magic the two companies would be making between the bed sheets, and everybody was suitably excited by the prospect of all the sports and ports they’d be adding the platform.
Fast forward to launch, and EA delivered a reasonably strong starting line up for the console, all ports, but it’s the most action the Wii U has ever seen. There was Mass Effect 3, Madden, and Fifa to name a few, and though they were all months behind the launches of those titles on other platforms, at least they gave early adopters something to throw money at.
EA is a fickle lover, however, and after it shot its load last year, it’s decided that it’s had enough of the Wii U. Speaking with notorious gamer food critics, Kotaku, Jeff Brown revealed the company’s plans for the Wii U. “We have no games in development for the Wii U currently.”
According to Brown, the late ports of games millions had access to for many months before the Wii U launched was EA fulfilling the promise it made in 2011. A bunch of previously released games is what EA considers an unprecedented partnership. I guess it is unprecedented for EA to quit slinging their wares so soon after a console’s release, well, other than that time they refused to support the Dreamcast, SEGA’s final console.
I can’t for the life of my imagine EA making anything particularly interesting for the Wii U beyond ports, so I’m not phased by them pulling out early, but it does make Nintendo’s console look like it’s being left behind. The system is undoubtedly in trouble, and desperately needs the boost in support Nintendo so fit to give to the 3DS.
With major publishers gearing up for the next generation, I suspect they don’t quite know what to make of the Wii U. The PlayStation 4 seems genuinely forward thinking, making development easier across multiple platforms and supporting indies like never before, and we’ll soon find out what the new Xbox will be brining to the table, but where does that leave the Wii U?
It seems designed to compete in the current generation, despite it winding down, and I can’t help but feel that it’s going to continue to be an uphill battle, as it tries to gain notice while its competition — with their strong support from publishers large and small — steal the limelight.
Those proclaiming that this marks the death of Nintendo as a console manufacturer might be getting ahead of themselves, though. The 3DS is picking up steam, and it wasn’t so long ago that the Wii dominated living rooms all over the world. I wouldn’t count Nintendo out just yet, but it’s clear that it needs to make some drastic changes and pull heads out of arses.