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.