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Nintendo Wii U: Death By Apathy

By Matt Martin

Nintendo Wii U: Death By Apathy

Fri 17 May 2013 3:00pm GMT / 11:00am EDT / 8:00am PDT

With no support from Electronic Arts, the Wii U just experienced its Dreamcast moment. Will other publishers now follow suit?

The Wii U just had its Dreamcast moment. With Electronic Arts confirming it doesn't have any games in development for the machine, one of the console industry's biggest players has walked away from the system counting its losses. So that's none of the market-leading sports games for the Wii U in the near term and none of those tantalising new Star Wars games in the mid-term. We weren't looking at a long term solution for the Wii U, but now it seems it won't even get a semi-decent sales pick up at the end of the year. Christmas is cancelled for Nintendo.

"When you can get to number one in the Wii U charts by selling less than 1000 units it's no longer a tragedy, it's an actual farce"

EA doesn't exactly have money to spend anywhere other than on its safest bets at the moment. It's cutting costs, from CEO wages to gun licensing, but the sports games will get it out of the hole its in, or at least keep it afloat in the console market until the installed base of the PS4 and next Xbox allow for some decent sales.

And I'm not saying Electronic Arts has the same pull it did in the console market during the year 2000. It's market share has been overtaken by Activision and is being threatened by a hungry Ubisoft. And if it insists on supporting games like Fuse - a title no one asked for and no one is interested in - it's going to continue to throw money in the direction of the nearest bin.

But EA has pulled out of the Wii U because sales of both hardware and software are dreadful. We're not officially allowed to report sales numbers from Chart Track in the UK but everyone in the publishing business can see them quite clearly. There's no need for pretence. When you can get to number one in the Wii U charts by selling less than 1000 units it's no longer a tragedy, it's an actual farce.

It's not much better in the all-formats chart. Staying at number one in the charts for a second week isn't so much a sign of success, as a sign you're not selling as poorly as everyone else in the top ten. The top ten isn't relevant any more, last year it was only really the top five that counted. And this year it's likely to be only the top three best-selling games that have any impact - and they are going to be multiformat titles like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and FIFA. Everything else is fighting for scraps.

The Wii U has been defeated by the most humbling of challengers - consumer apathy. When the inevitable "Nintendo halts Wii U production" stories hit, the majority of those that bought the original Wii won't even notice. The mainstream bought the Wii because it was a fun novelty, they didn't buy it for a new Zelda game. What's the Wii U's novelty? That it does everything a current-gen console does but a little bit slower and with a Fisher Price tablet attached?

Retailers have given up on the Wii U. It's not discounted at the supermarkets because they want to sell more, it's been cut in price so they can get rid of it quickly. Software drives hardware sales. But there are no credible software sales because there are no games being released. Retail is desperate to sell anything, that's why GAME is now selling sci-fi and fantasy books and HMV has cans of Coke and sweets at the till - anything to squeeze a penny out. They aren't going to sit around and make space for a handful of Wii U games near the end of the year. They'll be pushing the Wii U to one side to make more space for the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and hopefully the PS4 and next Xbox.

Is there still hope for the Wii U? Well, there are first-party games on the horizon but with no actual surprises. Nintendo will spend a lot of money in the autumn on ads and marketing for first-party games to try and save face, but the rot set in too quickly. I don't know what this says for the next generation of consoles but they are at least coming out the gate with real noise and hype. That's not enough to sell them of course, but they are having a big impact before they come to market which is exactly as it should be.

"The Wii U isn't discounted at the supermarkets because they want to sell more, it's been cut in price so they can get rid of it quickly"

Nintendo can't compete with Microsoft and Sony, that's why they've pulled out of the E3 pissing contest. That's almost a dignified admission of defeat. If Nintendo shows off new Starfox, Zelda, Mario and Blast Corps titles next month in L.A. it's only going to be preaching to the converted. They will be drowned out by the bombast and great swinging balls of their rivals. What will the LA Times, Reuters, the BBC, Tech Crunch, Joystiq, VentureBeat, GamesIndustry International, Gamasutra and the rest of the media be prioritising during E3? Anything that can lift the console business up off its knees and give it an adrenaline shot. That's the real story here, and the Wii U is a boxout of what went wrong.

There's also today's announcement that Sega is handing publishing duties of Sonic the Hedgehog over to Nintendo, like Sonic the Hedgehog still means something to the games player. It doesn't, it's a tired old mascot who jumped the shark when Sega painted him black and gave him a gun. This deal is Sega begrudgingly admitting it can no longer market and sell kids games, and its last hope in a world of Moshi Monsters and Angry Birds is Nintendo. And if Nintendo can't sell another company's mascot, well, Sega is now prioritising PC gaming anyway.

The new GameCube or the new Dreamcast, it doesn't matter how we hang it. The console market is brutal and Microsoft and Sony may have also left it too late with their own machines, only time will tell. But when Nintendo isn't playing the console wars game, the consumers don't care and the retailer is pushing new hardware to the curb, what are publishers meant to do? There's no EA support now, will Ubisoft be next? Tellingly, Activision hasn't mentioned "Call of Duty: Ghosts" in the same sentence as "Wii U", and as that game is going to be a centrepiece of the next Xbox reveal it's not likely to associate it with a device that isn't generating any excitement. Will these publishers bother with exclusive titles, or even porting existing games with a little touchpad tweak when they're not seeing support anywhere else?

The only sensible move is for Nintendo to take its brands to other formats, but that's an argument we've had so many times. As Rob Fahey argued a few weeks ago, Nintendo can afford to have a failed console around its neck, but it can't afford to damage its most valuable assets, its IP.

The brands will live on. But the Wii U is a dead man walking.

From Recommendations by Taboola


Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,417 1,441 1.0
Popcorn to the ready...


Posted:3 years ago


James Brightman Editor in Chief,

297 554 1.9
From a business standpoint, Nintendo can take the hit. Sega was just much, much weaker. But there's no denying that EA pulling out is a very bad sign for Wii U.

Posted:3 years ago

I'll open a stand for Flame coats and sunbrellas (fine, "parasol")! :-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Johannes Smidelöv on 17th May 2013 4:29pm

Posted:3 years ago


Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

367 211 0.6
It's ok. They can afford to have the best selling and worst selling game devices in the market. :D

Posted:3 years ago


Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

428 1,123 2.6
Popular Comment
The only sensible move is for Nintendo to take its brands to other formats
I wish you'd put this near the top of the article, I could have closed the tab and discounted your opinion without wasting five minutes.

Posted:3 years ago


Mazeltof Conceptual Imagineer

8 7 0.9
No EA support for Dreamcast was due to Sega having their own sports franchise, wasn't it? Not a fair comparison.

Posted:3 years ago


Wesley Williams Quality Assurance

143 88 0.6
I agree with the sentiment that the Wii U is pretty much dead. Showcasing E3 games in retail stores in the US is a nice touch, but if those games are just new iterations of existing franchises, I don't see how that grows their install base, unless they have some real magic in the tablet interaction. I wouldn't completely count them out yet, but if this Christmas is a wash out, the Wii U is done.

Posted:3 years ago


Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd

97 136 1.4
my favourite line of all this article was "it's a tired old mascot who jumped the shark when Sega painted him black and gave him a gun". Reminded me of when I bought a PS2 and Shadow got bundled with it

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,417 1,441 1.0
From a business standpoint, Nintendo can take the hit. Sega was just much, much weaker. But there's no denying that EA pulling out is a very bad sign for Wii U.
I can agree with that and actually I think Nintendo may be the only console manufacturer that can deal with this... EA's relevence on Nintendo platforms hasn't been anywhere near what it is on Playstation and Xbox. Of course, the evidence is in the move they have just made.

Sad thing is, it does mean that the Wii-U could be losing out on 15 'next gen' titles being developed in-house, includes DICE, Bioware, and probably writes off Crytek games which are being published by them. Then what of Star Wars games from this new studio?

Nintendo better get those games out soon...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 17th May 2013 4:43pm

Posted:3 years ago


Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,976 2,266 1.1
I think there's a definite market - possibly even a need - for the WiiU to host the oddities and curios of third-party publisher's catalogues. Something like Mirror's Edge, for example, would be the perfect IP for a Nintendo machine - its style and mechanics made the first ME a relative failure on the PS3/360, but on the WiiU? Get rid of the guns which were only in there to help the CoD crowd, and it's just perfect. The much-rumoured Beyond Good and Evil 2 is another example. A good rally game - pure rally, not the Dirt series - would, with minimal dollars in, benefit the racing genre and the company that publishes it.

Third-party titles are needed for any machine, but the genres and franchises that people expected for the WiiU don't jibe with the (assumed) user-base. What about something like, oh, say... the Portal games (as a random example)? I'm sure something like that would not only sell to the current installed base, but would be a way to market the WiiU to the demographic that bought the Wii. Market the right games to the right demographic, and you'll see an upsurge in hardware sales (though how large an upsurge is debatable), which will make it more palatable for more third parties. But right now? I don't see a lot that would tempt that kind of demographic.

Posted:3 years ago


Dominic Jakube Student

92 13 0.1
Wrong console at the wrong time with the wrong games.Yesterdays news.

Posted:3 years ago


Patrick Williams Medicine and Research

93 63 0.7
My friends in the industry described that the Wii U had terrible support by Nintendo, that it was difficult to get help and that the machine was inherently difficult and impractical to develop for. For example, you need to burn a CD to test every new build and there is no debug option to tell you why things aren't working or to give you a list of features that work or do not work in the build you are using. Things like this waste ridiculous amonts of time and ressources when other platforms have already standardized their set ups. In addition to having a bizarre architecture that underpowers parts of the game that programers have to work around, the console just doesn't have an interested audience. The Wii U is not long for this world. Their only selling point to developers is that they get the unity engine for signing up with them. Finally, Nintendo is not doing itself any favors with how it handles online gaming, as seen with what you have to do to not lose the games you purchased on their online store.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Patrick Williams on 17th May 2013 4:56pm

Posted:3 years ago


Adriano De Lima C/C++ Developer

6 6 1.0
" No EA support for Dreamcast was due to Sega having their own sports franchise, wasn't it? Not a fair comparison. "

I couldn't agree more.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adriano De Lima on 17th May 2013 6:01pm

Posted:3 years ago


Charles Herold Wii Games Guide,

53 133 2.5
I don't think EA has the power to cancel Christmas for Nintendo. I also don't think this is the first time someone has blithely written off a Nintendo console as dead due to early stumbles.

Posted:3 years ago


Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange

260 206 0.8
One shall stand, one shall fall. The Wii U is this Generation's Dreamcast.

Yup you read that right, but it's in a sense that the Wii U is, the NEW "Dreamcast 2".

Bayonetta, a franchise that started out as a SEGA published game is getting a sequel but it is now going to be published by Nintendo. Wow, who would have thought something like this would come this soon. SEGA might no longer be capable of meeting the high production values demanded for creating games on new consoles like the PS4. Could the Wii U be the new system of choice for SEGA games?

As it seems, things are getting much clearer, SEGA has made an unholy alliance with Nintendo and tons of SEGA games are arriving for the system, some of which has been declared an exclusive. The Wii U might have lost EA, but they have made a strong relationship with Ubisoft and SEGA. EA is not the center of gaming universe,consoles does not rise and fall because of EA's absence. Nintendo will prove them wrong, they'll regret the day they decided to abandon Nintendo come this holiday season.

Posted:3 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
Not sure if that will impact the Wii U. Most of the games like BF or ME have their fanbase on PS and Xbox, the only thing Nintendo will loose that could potentially sell well on the console are the sports games and part of that will probably compensated with 2k games and PES.

I cant imagine anybody buying a Wii U to play BF this christmas. That fanbase will upgrade their PC or get a next gen console. I didn't buy the Wii U to play EA games.'

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 17th May 2013 6:46pm

Posted:3 years ago

Because EA is the barometer for success, right? Just like there are 0 EA titles in the top 10 last month in the usa?

Posted:3 years ago


Randy Marr Customer Service Representative, Blizzard Entertainment

12 37 3.1
Popular Comment
Considering you have phrases like "Fisher price tablet," I'm going to go ahead and discredit your entire argument, as you clearly don't even have an impartial viewpoint. You want this to fail, you probably have since it launched. I'll go on buying my game a month from the system, including The Wonderful 101, SMT v. Fire Emblem, Sonic Lost Worlds, and more. Everything else I'll be buying on my PC which is already twice as good as any console currently out, and will probably start being better than the new consoles a year after their launch, and continue to get better for years following. The WiiU will continue to be the console I go to for unique experiences that nobody else can competently provide, like the better HD remake of Resident Evil: Revelations, and Pikmin 3.

Posted:3 years ago


Boris Van De Ven Managing Director, Blammo Media

3 1 0.3
EA not supporting the Wii U is all politics. Just like it was with the Dreamcast and at the start of Xbox Live. Any journalist not getting this context is not worth his or her pay check.

The troubles Nintendo is experiencing with the Wii U is all due to poor marketing and communication. The awkward Nintendo Direct video's are a prime example. Once the company figures out how the media works in this age of social media it wil realise it is sitting on an IP gold mine. No wonder Disney was (or should I say IS) so interested in Nintendo.

Now back to the important question: Why is EA trying to devalue Nintendo?

Posted:3 years ago


John Arnold Video Production

28 44 1.6
Popular Comment
The entire reason EA has stopped supporting the Wii U; is because in late 2012 EA offered to bring it's broken mentally challenged platform "Origin" to Nintendo's systems, it didn't take Nintendo long to realise that accepting origin would not only expose their systems to hackers but also loose it's responsibilities and revenue of the wii U into the filthy hands of EA. And because Nintendo rejected EA's greed, EA has grunted back in a rather childish manner.

Pardon my french but fuck EA, do you really think someone's shitty sports games are going to give the system a boost?. Certifying the Wii U as a dreamcast is a complete exaggeration at this point.

Edited 6 times. Last edit by John Arnold on 17th May 2013 8:38pm

Posted:3 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
Well EA wasnt exactly printing money lately, sure to the shareholders it looks like a smart move and it will reduce the operation costs for them. In the short run they won't spend money on making Wii U games. That probably will make their quarterly finance reports look better.

Posted:3 years ago


Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
So EA seals a fate of a 125 year old company? Hardly. Sorry, thats pure arrogant if its only EA deciding a consoles success. EA is in deep shit and they know it

Posted:3 years ago


Ashley Gutierrez Animator

21 13 0.6
The only sensible move is for Nintendo to take its brands to other formats
Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, so they can fall further into ambiguity and the same casual games that put them in this mess in the first place.
Nintendo used to be a name that meant the best games money could buy.
Now it means nothing but 'suit sell-out.'

You know, if you're gonna continue to write about Nintendo, at least do some research and put up some facts on why they're doing so poorly. I'd be interested to see how they fared over the years in their sales.
Especially comparing their two different business tactics; casual vs. core games.
The N64 and the Gamecube were the pinnacle of the quality of games, built up from the SNES and NES.
And that was the last time we saw anything truly amazing/lasting from them.

Once the Wii pulled in their core audience to buy the hardware with the promise of more games like Metroid Prime, they did nothing but release shovelware, with a miniscule amount of core games, none of them able to compete with their predecessors.
They fooled everyone into thinking it would be a slightly better gamecube; but with no HD compatibility and no online can they even think to compete with everyone else??
So it's obvious at this point that they changed their demographic to casual gamers.
And look how 'well' that seems to be working for them. It's a short-term business profit, but in the long-run, it doesn't work.
Gimmicks never do.

The only thing that would make sense for them to do is to go back to what made them great in the first place- the core gaming.
You don't need to make nothing but shooters; just make good games.
Nintendo has one hell of a secret weapon, and they don't even bother to wield it properly.
You have all the older demographic that grew up with Nintendos' IPs, all buying the crappy shadows of what their favorite IPs could be, desperate for that nostalgia.
And they have the newer audiences, who haven't yet been introduced to them who would actually play the older games if they knew they existed. (further proving that quality of games doesn't necessarily mean hyper-realistic graphics)

Make quality games with your already immortal and existing IP.
Don't butcher your remaining IP assets because you want to make a few quick bucks.
Think on what a Mario 'game' on your phone would be like...just another angry birds ripoff.

A few quick bucks to make, no real artistic thought or ambition there.
That's NOT what Nintendo was.
Let's hope that's not what it's turned into.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ashley Gutierrez on 17th May 2013 9:30pm

Posted:3 years ago


Nic Watt Creative Director and CEO, Nnooo

2 7 3.5
@Patrick Williams, That is just bullshit. It plugs into a PC like all development hardware and you debug on the PC, like all development hardware. Stop making up crap.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nic Watt on 17th May 2013 9:49pm

Posted:3 years ago


Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor

432 281 0.7
Wow Matt... I know this is an opinion peace but maybe leave the venom out next time? I'd much rather read some more of Rob's work as it tends to rationalise a bit more and not be so blatantly pissy.

I don't think the Wii U is in a particularly good way and I don't think that anyone would suggest it is but let's face a few facts. The 3DS was doing poorly on initial release and it's commonly believed that it was the release of software that changed that around rather than the price drop.

When the original DS came out the gaming press discounted it, hailing the PSP and the system everyone wanted. The view was that with all of the 3rd party support and western development that the PSP was obviously on the path to success. Yet skip to mid generation for those handhelds and the DS was storming the market to become the best selling console of all time, with strong 3rd party support and game offerings that stuck in people's memories as opposed to the console style games that had been crammed onto the PSP and were usually all the worse for it.

The article above talks about Nintendo preaching to the converted. What do you think that the PS4 and the NextBox will do that is any different? What will make them stand out from the PC in terms of game offerings or even get people to drop £400-500 on an update to a console most people are still happy with?

Glad to be reading Morville, Randy and other's comments here that point out the benefit of having a system around that supports an alternative to the type of games that many of the bigger western publishers aim for. There are long term consequences when companies stick to a model that makes iterative sequels. I still find it baffling that the only thing that seems to reinvigorate some of the big publishers is new hardware and by that I mean more processing power and shaders, not Nintendo's take on new hardware.

Posted:3 years ago


Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,510 3,182 1.3
Popular Comment
Matt, this was a parody piece mocking mainstream video game media, right?

Posted:3 years ago


Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA

21 71 3.4
If there's one thing the last few days' news have taught me, it's that you do not want to piss off Nintendo fans. Now they have a reason to blame EA for Nintendo's failures. Roll on 'Worst Company 2014'!

Posted:3 years ago

Popular Comment
I thought for a second that I was reading a GameFAQS thread, instead of a article.
Sadly, it was not true.

Posted:3 years ago


Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

470 338 0.7
@Mazeltof There were a number of reasons including the Dreamcast sports titles (It was also on the Xbox they threatened not to make games for because Microsoft had XSN Sports).

There was also the reason of Saturn "bombing" and not wanting to gamble on another console that wasn't going to sell.

I miss my Dreamcast, great machine way ahead of its time :(

Posted:3 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
Speaking of Sports. The comment made by EA why Fifa 14 isn't on Wii U is funny. Blaming weak sales of Fifa 13 on the Wii U for it. That was a stripped down port from the other platforms with features missing and more akin to Fifa 12.5 with Madden having the same problem of not having the same features as the other versions.

On top of that there was ME3 at launch retailing for 60 bucks with the Trilogy being released around the same time for the other platforms that was actually cheaper. NfS was actually a good port and I believe Criterion ported that one and they probably didnt want to get a bad reputation for a bad port. Same goes for the Vita with NfS being a very good port and Fifa not.

Right now it's not really a loss for Nintendo taking into account how the games from them on the Wii U turned out so far.

Posted:3 years ago


Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,169 1,947 1.7
That it does everything a current-gen console does but a little bit slower and with a Fisher Price tablet attached?
This article was worth the read for that line alone.

Posted:3 years ago


Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,429 1,758 1.2
If we are really honest, then Nintendo's last must have console for the core gamer was the SNES.

The N64 was often ridiculed for its kid focus and a few violent titles could not cover that up. The Gamecube game library was hopelessly outclassed by the PS2 and the Wii might have had its own audience, but not the so called core. Sure Nintendo tried to have something for the core, they always had very good games for the core, but not like on other consoles. Not like "rent a new core title every two weeks" by means of mail subscription service.

Now after 17 (!) years since the Nintendo 64 launch we wonder why there is a generation of players who do not seem to just run out and buy the Wii U? If you are between 16-26 and call yourself a core gamer, then chance are you never owned a Nintendo system for core gaming. And if you are between 55 and 75, chances are you are not upgrading your Wii, because you are still busy playing Wii Dig, the self-introspective grave shoveling experience for the geriatrically challenged.

Posted:3 years ago


Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

428 1,123 2.6
I don't think anybody calls themselves a "core gamer". It's a euphemism for what we used to call "casual gamers" (before casual games were a separate thing), the slice of the market with extremely conservative buying habits (FIFA, CoD, Need for Speed), doesn't read reviews and trades everything in. It is of course a massive over-simplification which doesn't take into account the broad spectrum of different tastes consumers have in reality.

It would seem logical that the more time and money one spends on a hobby the more likely they are to buy hardware for access to specific titles as opposed to tick the box of owning one games console. The hardcore will get on board as soon as Nintendo's big guns are wheeled out, but the question is whether Nintendo can make as much revenue from a smaller, more committed base to offset the loss of the casual Wii audience. The goal for Nintendo is to turn a profit, their survival is not predicated on repeating the mega-success of the Wii.

Posted:3 years ago


Private Industry

1,176 183 0.2
The GameCube was a great console. The amountvof software was slim, but it features great games

You don't need violent games for a mature comsole. I think the Wii and DS have a lot mote kids games. I don't see a particularly big kids focus on the N64 unless you think that platforming games equal kids games. If you wanted to play great platformers you got the N64. A bigger amount of platformers might look like kids focused compared to the PS1.

Posted:3 years ago


Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 497 1.1
That's quite interesting.

At the same time as using an eye-catching DreamCast analogy, and equating EA's withdrawal to that of their withdrawal on the DreamCast, you also admit that EA are no longer the giant they once where, no longer as influential as they where--not much of an analogy, leaving aside the corpses of failed consoles, handhelds and software that preceded Sega's path to third party publishing. EA are still a giant, sure. This is still bad news for Nintendo. But EA are not the only giant in the park. One of the other giants are fully on board, and this morning (despite your own predictions) restated that they remain fully behind Nintendo--that's Ubisoft, for those not following. The same Ubisoft that understood the Wii and after Nintendo, became the second biggest publisher on the system and reaped the rewards. Ubisoft obviously believe they can repeat the trick with Wii U.

What of Activision? Who "tellingly" haven't talked about COD and Wii U going hand in hand? Hang on a second... Activision happened to say "We don’t have any news for the Wii U at this time, as we aren’t dating next generation platforms yet. Stay tuned." Does that mean CoD isn't coming to Wii U? Or does it mean that because Activision class Wii U as a next-generation platform, they simply haven't announced it yet? Ghosts has been listed by numerous retailers for Wii U. There's plenty of evidence that Wii U may get this year's CoD (which is cross-generation, after all, capable of being run on machines comparable to Wii U on a technical level), yet you ignore it because your editorial twists facts and sources to fit your argument, rather than naturally building an argument from facts and sources. Far more important would be the silence on Destiny for Wii U--certainly bound to be one of the biggest new IPs of the generation and decade--and Skylanders, an NFC title and family friendly title clearly well suited to Wii U, which has built in NFC technology. Activision aren't yet convinced, but seem set to continue to test the waters.

And what about the idea that EA have ruined Christmas for Nintendo? Let's not ignore the fact that Nintendo enjoy healthier seasonal boosts (above average) than any other publisher out there, particularly in North America. EA's share of the market on Nintendo platforms has always been lower than on Xbox or PlayStation, their titles less influential in the success of Nintendo systems. If the Wii U's line up this Christmas was Super Mario, Mario Kart, Wind Waker HD, FIFA and Madden, which games would have the higher attach rate, higher sales, and sell more systems? What has historically been the case? What has changed in the market that means EA's titles are the only titles truly capable of selling the Wii U and making it a viable system?

The industry has changed, but it hasn't changed so much--or reverted back to 2000--that EA are Nintendo's only hope. The industry has changed to the point where the three biggest publishers are taking very different approaches to a turbulent transition. Ubisoft are spreading their bets. Activision are hedging their bets. EA are hunkering down and betting on Xbox and PlayStation. And why shouldn't they, when faced with falling further behind Activision and perhaps being pushed aside by Ubisoft? Why not spread themselves less thinly, and concentrate on becoming a market leader on two machines that will have fanbases more receptive to their titles? This news tells us so much about EA's changing place in the industry, that while mentioned, is being overlooked in favour of a hit-baiting headline and a poorly strung up narrative we've all had to endure for the last decade.

Yesterday we saw figures on this very website that pointed out that Nintendo were the fourth largest publisher of home console software in 2012. They did that with only two major home console releases (Mario Bros Wii and Nintendo Land) which were available globally for one month on a new platform, and off of the back of their legacy sales on Wii--enough software for Nintendo to claim twice the software market than Microsoft, who launched a new core Halo title, and Sony, who had a consistent stream of releases on PS3. That says so much about the strength of Nintendo's software in recent years, and the challenges they face to continue to build compelling experiences that sell millions of systems--3DS shows us they are still more than capable.

Importantly, it also tells us that two of the top four biggest publishers are still fully behind Wii U, and that the world's biggest publisher, is neither giving up or going all in. Can we really call a system with that kind of publisher support, so much time ahead of it, dead, because a troubled EA stepped aside? I don't think we can. Nintendo's troubles remain, the challenges are severe, but reports of Wii U's death are premature. That Nintendo--despite a successful handheld business and billions in the bank--should go third party any time soon, is out of the question. Incidentally, did Sega feature in the top ten publishers last year? No. Food for thought.

Posted:3 years ago


John Owens CEO, Wee Man Studios Ltd

1,003 1,324 1.3
EA only have 5 games for the 3DS and two of them are Fifa and they're pretty well hidden on the

I don't think Nintendo's audience really gives a toss about EA. I think they should be more worried that their audience appears to be shrinking and that I'm afraid that is down to less original IP being produced by Nintendo.

Posted:3 years ago


Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
Jeez, what a depressing article.

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,287 445 0.3
If few third party publishers other than Ubisoft, and maybe Sega sold well on the Wii, including EA, that suggests the Wii audience perhaps weren't that bothered by EA. I'm pretty sure Fifa sold more copies on Xbox and PS3, which means EA sports was not informing the console buying decisions of most Wii owners.
That said, we constantly hear that Wii U won't stand a chance without system selling first party titles (and in Japan, Monster Hunter). There is no guarantee this will be done right, but if Nintendo shift a lot more systems after Mario (3D), Zelda, Mario Kart et al. appear, you can bet EA will start bringing titles to the system.

Posted:3 years ago


Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

611 702 1.1
If third party titles don't tend to sell well on Nintendo platforms then logic dictates that this will have minimal effect on the Wii-U. Surely since people haven't been buying Nintendo consoles for EA games since the SNES, none of its sales will be affected by EA's withdrawal.

That is not to say the Wii-U will definitely manage to succeed in some way, just that EA's lack of presence will not have any significant effect when you think about it.

Posted:3 years ago

Guys - its the wrong console at the wrong time. No matter how much hype they lavish its a dude. But Nintendo is in a position to take this on the chin - get rid of the bad management and move on.

Posted:3 years ago

@Werner - I am taking an incredible gamble, but feel strongly. When I saw the reaction to the Wii-U, especially how the Nintendo management tried to dance round the issues, I was prepared to treat it as a failed launch. Blame it on the failed architecture, the failed online policy, the restrictive initial development environment... but the big issue is that Nintendo's current Western management believed their own hype and felt they are better than the market - it will be up to the Japanese board to realize this and do the right thing. Anyone say Wii-U2?

Posted:3 years ago


Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange

260 206 0.8
I see people eating crow for thanksgiving. Yum.

Posted:3 years ago


Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

428 1,123 2.6
Daniel Hughes should be writing for this site. Reasoned arguments > melodramatic clickbait.

I've seen a number of tech journalists rally to this article's defence over the weekend, although not a single one of them has been able to offer any evidence for the endlessly repeated 'fact' that the commercial pull of Nintendo's properties is waning.

Instead there's just been lots of clucking that Wii Sports was a 'gimmick' and that Nintendo somehow need to surpass the success of that single title for the Wii U to remain afloat at all. Because having a billion-dollar business doesn't count if someone else has a billion-and-one dollar business, or something.

Posted:3 years ago


Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire

41 38 0.9
I read this and was kind of confused.
"Fuse - a title no one asked for and no one is interested in".
It was not asked for because it is New IP. As for people interested in it, i'd go with plenty. It's Insomniac damn it, one of the best developers out there, and they're finally bringing something to a non-Sony platform. It could be very interesting to see how the 360 market will react to this title. (admittedly it looked cooler as "overstrike").
And if we are now berating EA for trying out new IP i think we as an industry have just reached the point of full idiocricy. EA in the PS360 generation has brought more NEW IP to the consoles than Acti-Blizz and Ubisoft combined. They dont hit every time, but no one has a 100% hit rate.

Posted:3 years ago


Gareth Jones Software Engineer (Contract), Cisco Systems

62 193 3.1
I think BI are incredibly quick to jump on this bandwagon of negativity surrounding the WiiU, when just a few months ago they were all raving about it.

It's easy to look at sales figures and put on an "I told you so" face, but all anyone has to do is look back through your list of past articles to see that actually no, you didn't tell us so.

Posted:3 years ago


Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

476 809 1.7
The one thing that stands out to me in reading the comments is how beloved Nintendo is, if a reasonable, well-written article can make a group of people who work in the industry, and are known for their reasoning and understanding of said industry, completely lose their shit and start accusing the writer of anti-Nintendo bias. For Nintendo to have that effect on people who are not just some naive GameFAQs commenter is impressive.

Posted:3 years ago


Shane Sweeney Academic

494 585 1.2
Whether I agree or disagree with the author is not really relevant.

This article is deliberately written to be controversial. This is not Kotaku, I expect better Games Industry.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 21st May 2013 8:04am

Posted:3 years ago


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