"We Don't Really Make Games For Kids" - Allegedly
Nintendo and EA's thorny relationship is a matter of public record. After swearing fealty to the Wii U back at E3 2011, the massive publisher axed their support shortly after launch, leaving the system bereft of numerous major multiplatform titles. Et tu, BrutEA?
According to a report from CVG, an anonymous EA source has shed new light on the tumultuous affair, suggesting in no uncertain terms that the publisher isn't interested in making games for children, and are "only focused on games that can be big franchises."
It's an allegation as opposed to an official statement, of course - but it sounds about right.
CVG's insider explains that EA the relationship soured once the initial sales figures started rolling in. “Nintendo was dead to us very quickly," they stated. "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," the source continued.
Before you start sharpening your EA pitchfork, folks, remember that they aren't the only publisher to steer well clear of the Wii U. Bethesda have publicly lambasted the console several times, for example. From a cynical point of view, it's easy to see things from EA's perspective (something that we don't say all that often), considering dismal Wii U sales in the first six months and the fact that DICE's flagship Frostbite 3 engine won't run on the hardware without major optimisation.
That said, we can't help but wonder whether it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Slow sales stemming from limited third party support stemming from slow sales. The alleged statement also a little hypocritical seeing as Activision actually brought Skylanders and Call Of Duty: Ghosts to the system. Just saying.
The dearth of third-party multiplatform games is currently hitting the Wii U where it hurts - right in the money - but then again there's a case to be made that most people buy Nintendo consoles to play the classic Nintendo franchises and occasional exclusives - so the third party output isn't necessarily all that important. Having something to play during the dry periods between major franchise outings couldn't exactly hurt no matter how you rationalise it, mind, and Ninty still needs to do more to ensure that at least a few of the Battlefields, FIFA 14s, DmCs, BioShock Infinites and GTAs make the jump to their hardware. At least Ubisoft are still on board - for now.
Considering that the 3DS is the best-selling console of 2013 in both Europe and the US, though, you'd expect EA to want a slice of that great big pie.
Would you be more inclined to buy a Wii U if EA brought their big annual releases to the hardware, or is the Wii better off without them? Is third party killing the console? Will we be too busy playing Mario Kart, Bayonetta 2 and SSB to care? Have your say in the comments.