EA Has Nothing In Development For Wii U

This is sure to be Madden-ing for Nintendo.

Electronic Arts killed Sega’s Dreamcast. That’s an extremely simplistic view, of course, but it’s one that has groundings in the truth. EA never published games for Sega’s short lived platform and the absence of FIFA and Madden, along with the huge publisher’s other delights, are often cited as one of the contributing factors in its untimely demise.

EA spokesperson, Jeff Brown, has told Kotaku that EA has no games currently in development for Wii U. Now, we knew there was nothing officially announced for Nintendo’s platform but kind of assumed the regulars would appear, as they do on almost every other platform. That’s not a hasty conclusion to jump to, given the ubiquity of games like FIFA and Madden (FIFA 13 saw a PlayStation 2 release and Madden only stopped releasing for PS2 in 2011).

EA were early supporters of the Wii U after their claim, two years ago, that they would have an “unprecedented partnership” with Nintendo. The console’s launch saw them ship a special edition of Mass Effect 3, Need for Speed: Most Wanted (arguably the best console version), Madden and FIFA but their big hitters, like Dead Space 3, since that launch period have skipped the Wii U and it seems like even their annual sports games must not be coming at the end of this year – they’d surely be well into development by now?

It’s obviously not a positive step from one of the world’s most successful publishers but Nintendo is probably the platform holder that would suffer the least because of this news. Their (some would say over-) reliance on first party brands means that the most notable games on their platform will always be properties they control.

This could also leave a door wide open for another developer to start making Wii U sports games, much the same way that the 2K Sports games helped plug the gap on Dreamcast.

Update: It’s been pointed out that Madden was confirmed as absent a while back and the new Frostbite engine wouldn’t be friendly with the Wii U either. I’d kind of assumed there would be another solution in the pipeline – legacy engines or something.

24 Comments

  1. It would be a shame for Wii U gamers, but like you said, hopefully it will mean new ideas/games coming from new and other companies. To be honest, EA games have become quite stale anyway.

  2. I’ll buy a Wii U once it’s dirt cheap just to play Zelda and Mario. I couldn’t care less about EA support. This might be a little worrying for Nintendo in the short term, but once those first party titles hit and the first real price drop rolls out, Nintendo will get back on it’s feet and EA might reevaluate their current strategy.
    Let’s see what the Nintendo Direct scheduled for later today brings to the table.

    • i want to pick one up later, mostly for that Monolithsoft RPG that’s coming.
      if it’s anywhere near as good as Xenoblade, it should be amazing.

    • ^ thats the problem. Its too expensive.

    • I’d happily pay the current price if Mario and Zelda was already released. In my case it’s really just a lack of first party support and by the time that arrives, it will be cheaper.

  3. Oh dear, the cynic in me says this reeks of board level hand-wavy “Bugger them, the profit is too small’ decision making. Never mind Nintendo, you don’t need EA anyway, you show them what you’re made of!

  4. While Nintendo have always done well with their first party games, i thought the whole idea of the Wii U was that it would bring the platforms closer together in terms of content for core gamers. This will mean that core Wii U gamers will have probably have to miss out on a selection of the games that are aimed at that market.
    I guess i can understand with poor sales figures why EA aren’t inclined to put resources into making Wii U games, at the same time that’s one heck of an ‘unprecedented relationship’ .. :/
    I have to wonder if EA will be the only ones giving the Wii U short shrift.

    • I had the same hopes.
      Nintendo doesn’t want to directly compete with Sony and Microsoft anymore. They said they were in their own little niche but I hope they don’t hold that course blindly. If it’s not working they should consider coming back with a powerful console. It’s not what they want to do, but it might be what the need to do.

    • To be fair though. Nintendo haven’t helped themselves.
      They aren’t always helpful providing support for third parties.
      They only push their first party games steamrolling over any others released.

      And the biggest issue for me is the hardware. Every console I owned (until the Wii came out) was a Nintendo console. NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube. I had them all. I even bought a Wii. But the Wii was so underpowered compared to the PS3, 360 and PC, that I had to sell it.
      Gamecube didn’t have all the games that the PS2 had, but for me it had enough and was comparable in power.
      The Wii had enough games, but they were all low-res and looked awful. I can honestly say that Mario Galaxy was the only Wii game I truely enjoyed. Metroid was ugly. Zelda TP was alright, but a shadow of Windwaker and Ocarina. Mario Kart had already gone downhill since the SNES.
      I sold the Wii shortly after beating Mario, bought a PS3 with COD4 and never looked back.
      For a company “apparently” courting the core gamer (by releasing another underpowered console, wth?) they aren’t doing a very good job.
      I’ll probably borrow an old Wii at some point to play Galaxy 2 and Skyward sword (I don’t like to miss Mario or Zelda games)
      And then maybe in 10 years borrow an old Wii U to beat the Marios and Zeldas on that system.
      I certainly can’t see myself having a Nintendo as my main choice of system again.
      The Wii U is weak. It will have by far the worst version of any third party games it gets. Most of which it won’t get because next gen games will need to have dumbed down art assets created specifically for the console to be able to run on it (PS4 and Next XBox can share assets). The only thing going for it are its first party games that you can’t get anywhere else.
      And EA are savvy enough to know that’s the case with a lot of gamers.

    • Nintendo consoles will always be about Nintendo legacy games like Zelda, Mario etc. You always know what you’re getting with them and that’s not always a good thing. Why would you get excited with the same sort of titles every generation? Now this isn’t to say these franchises are bad but like Boiler said it doesn’t help third party developers.

      Obviously Microsoft and Sony have their key franchises but they also thrive on new IPs and experiences. The Wii U just isn’t a serious console anymore. The world gave them the wrong impression with the Wii that, despite selling extremely well, didn’t maintain people’s interest. By that I mean people have either sold them on after getting bored or simply letting them gather dust. However those huge sales figures made Ninty think that the Wii path is the right way to go.

      It’s a shame really. Could turn around of course by my gut instinct goes with no.

    • I’m having issues with the “Nintendo first party titles steamrolling over third party titles” argument.
      This only tells me that third parties don’t polish their games as much as Nintendo does. It’s their own fault if they only release sloppy ports to Nintendo’s consoles.

      EA has supported the PS2 until 2011 (I read that on neoGAF earlier) so they will surely support the 360 and PS3 for quite some time once the next gen consoles hit store shelves. By then the Wii U might have a bigger install base and they can easily port PS3/360 ports to the Wii U.
      It will be sad that the Wii U will be stuck with last gen ports but like I said, I really hope that Nintendo makes a push back with their next console being way more powerful.
      I like that they want to inovate and get away with cheaper hardware but it’s obviously not working so thei should swallow their pride and strife for greatness again.
      Release the SNES2 and I will transfer my wedding funds to the next Nintendo bank account I can find! :P

  5. i can’t help but think it’s something either Nintendo won’t do or won’t let ea do that is the reason they’re not supporting the Wii u.
    like when they wouldn’t support the original Xbox until ms said they could use their own servers, unlike every other publisher on that system at the time.
    at least that’s what i recall reading happened.

    maybe they won’t let them use their separate origin IDs on the machine or something.

    they had the leverage to force ms to make that change in policy, it remains to be seen if they hold similar leverage over Nintendo.

    • Wasnt there something about EA wanting Nintendo to use Origin for their online service?

      • yeah, i remember something about that.

        i can’t imagine Nintendo would want something like that, they’re inexperienced with the online stuff, sure, but letting ea run their service wouldn’t be in their best interests.

      • I read “run” as “ruin”, and the phrase still made sense xD

      • that’s very cynical Fox… i love it. ^_^

  6. Once the big hitters are released (Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda and other first party titles) the console will increase its sales a lot.

  7. Wii U is dead in the water.

    • Was the original Wii the Jedward of its time? Sure, everyone voted for them but any follow-up music was quickly forgotten.

  8. Release a console towards the end of a generation, barely competing with the consoles in the current generation, and expect it to be future proof? Yeah. Right.

    The Wii sold through it being a cool gadget to own, a Mii too device, with only Nintendo fans really benefitting from the 1st party games. For some unknown reason someone at Nintendo thought it would be a great idea to keep with the “cheap and cheerful” hardware and scrimp on performance. With the PS4 packing such high specs and the next Xbox likely to be close too, the Wii U will need much more than 7 years of shovel-ware to see the same sales as its predecessor.

    I think it is a damn shame that all the profits made from fantastic sales (though undeserved IMO) of the Wii – Nintendo should have made a killer console and got in bed with the 3rd parties such as EA, Ubi and Activision. Now they will be playing a very difficult game of catch-up and can’t really release a competitive console so short in the Wii U life cycle.

  9. Frankly the WiiU should never have left the R&D department at Nintendo. Yes it has a few great ideas but that hasn’t grabbed the gamers & more importantly, general public like the Wii did. That said, the Wii in most households is gathering dust & probably hasn’t had power since 3 months after purchase.
    EA will have seen the actual WiiU sales & thought we cannot justify the development costs for such a small installed base.

  10. Never bothered with the Wii. The social couch games were fun, but couldn’t justify a console just for them.

    Can’t help, but wonder would Nintendo be better off giving up the home console hardware business (keep the handheld) and go multiplatform. I don’t see myself buying a Wii U, but a PS3/4 edition of Zelda and Mario, definitely.

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