EA pulls plug on Wii U support

Publisher confirms it has no games in development for Nintendo's latest console

Electronic Arts may be through with the Wii U. According to a Kotaku report, EA has confirmed that it is no longer working on Nintendo's new console.

"We have no games in development for the Wii U currently," EA's Jeff Brown is quoted as saying. Brown did not indicate if EA would resume development on the system in the future

Earlier this month, EA confirmed it would not be bringing this year's Madden NFL 25 to the Wii U. At the time, a representative said, "We have a strong partnership with Nintendo and will continue to evaluate opportunities for delivering additional Madden NFL products for Nintendo fans in the future."

EA has released four games for the Wii U to date. The first three (Mass Effect 3, Madden NFL 13, and FIFA Soccer 13) were system-launch-day ports of titles that had shipped earlier on other platforms. The fourth game, Need for Speed Most Wanted, hit stores in March, months after that game debuted for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

The brief duration of support for the Wii U is surprising given EA's vocal endorsement of the system at Nintendo's 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing. To cap off the event, then-EA CEO John Riccitiello promised the publisher's support for the system. Brown told Kotaku that the quartet of titles already released represented EA making good on that promise.

Nintendo representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

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Latest comments (31)

Private Industry 9 years ago
Thats the strong relationship they talked about a few weeks ago?
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Ruben Monteiro Engineer 9 years ago
Starting to feel sorry for Nintendo on this one, what a fiasco.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 9 years ago
EA's spokesperson quotes:
"We have a strong partnership with Nintendo
Two weeks later.....
"We have no games in development for the Wii U currently,"
Six months later during the release of PS4/Next Box...
"Who's Nintendo?"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 16th May 2013 11:58pm

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Show all comments (31)
Jack Pochop Studying Telecommunications, Indiana University9 years ago
It'd be nice to get a gander at those sales numbers, see if EA's time is worth it to port over and/or create games for the Wii U. Third party support was such a plus for this system just six months ago - where did all of that go?
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Private Industry 9 years ago
In a year after Wii U sales picked up.
We are.bringin our strong brands to the Wii U
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica9 years ago
Worst company in the US ther is a reason for that.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 9 years ago
They're still making 3DS games, aren't they?
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games9 years ago
While i do not like this at all, i fully understand it. Right now EA is a failing company that can spare no expense towards a platform that is not going to make them boatloads of cash and wiiU is not it. I do wish them every success with PS4 and new xbox! As i see everyone else's market share increasing and EA's shrinking, i can't stop feeling sorry for a great company with great IP that has suffered a lot by bad publicity and twisted public perception!
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Michael Revis Writer, NerdReactor.com9 years ago
Yeah, I don't see this mindset lasting long. Remember when Gabe Newell essentially called the PS3 trash? Then Portal 2 happened.
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Awesome. I can't wait to see WiiU sales explode this Xmas, have EA get ZERO sales as a result, and leave the market open for other publishers. Then have EA scramble to catch up next year, when their PS4/Infinity SW sales are below expectations.
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Randy Marr Customer Service Representative, Blizzard Entertainment9 years ago
Really? This makes them worst than banks who have foreclosed on people's houses illegally and gotten away with it? Or banks who charge people into bankruptcy? Or oil companies? Yeah, no, this makes them the the worst company in the US. This right here is why people think "Gamers" are an out-of-touch-with-reality breed of social waste.
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@Andreas: I fail to see the point in your reply.... I trust you can read sarcasm?

EA could go about this two ways: they could nicely explain to everyone, that they have been getting less of a return per-dev-dollar spent on Nintendo consoles, and as a result of cost cutting they will temporary stop development on WiiU titles.

Or they could go about making the sort of statements they have, which is bordering on outright lying.

And like I said in the previous post (on the other thread) - there are two possible ways this can go:
1/ Lack of support for the WiiU damages it to the point where it becomes uncompetitive, and ends its cycle early.
2/ Damages EA by having no software titles available for a console, that is expected to post solid sales and growth in the Xmas period this year.

I definitely remember seeing John Riccitiello on stage at the Nintendo E3 conference 2 years ago, stating that the EA support for Nintendo and the WiiU would be incredible, pledging the full support of EA.

Are people *really* surprised that gamers strongly dislike EA?
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Andreia Quinta Photographer 9 years ago
@ Randy
There's a few things you need to consider before coming to the conclusion of why EA was voted worst company of America.

a)The voting from was open to the entire world, not just america, it is more than reliable and a huge possibility to say that most votes didn't come from state side.

b) Related to point a), the majority of the world (like me) had no idea about the issues with Bank of America, I hadn't even heard of it until EA beat them the previous year and I consider myself generally knowledgeable. If BoA is something that has no effect whatsoever on a huge % of people that did cast a vote, obviously enough they will vote for the contender.

c) It was an online voting; Meaning that people with internet access and an actual interest in surfing not just for emails will bump into this voting by reading about it somewhere in an article, post or those social things like tweets or facebooks.
Ms Robinson, 67, from Michigan that is about to lose her house is probably not even imagining that such voting exists. Same goes for Joel, 34, from California, he's got worse things to worry about with his BoA mortgage account.

d) EA followers - be it haters or lovers - will always keep score of where and what EA is up to now because of the strong digital presence of this company, it's easier for an EA fan or hater to find a voting about EA then it is for a BoA hater.

and finally, f) What BP did had a tremendous impact in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent coastlines. And period.

...Because that's what it truly is in the eyes of the world, an isolated incident that has been forgotten by the news-stands and TV. It's repercussions are still ongoing, but if it doesn't directly affect people's health or way of life, it is soon cast into oblivious. Most people that voted couldn't care less or even remember that it had happened, it had no impact in their personal lives.

The voting is deceiving because it's filled with american companies, but all the world can vote (online only), so it's no surprise the results are not accurate, for americans anyway.
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop9 years ago
I wonder why core games that have been available for a long time on other core consoles are not selling on the Wii U. Surely it is entirely Nintendo's fault, or the audience's fault, or retail's fault.

Everybody knows that when people buy a brand new console at launch they want to play games they have already played before.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
EA have a long history of spreading themselves too thinly. All genres on all platforms.
Activision have a long history of laser like focus on what makes money. And ruthlessly disregarding everything else.
Recent events have seen EA becoming more like Activision.
This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your relationship with EA.
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Wasn't the last major console format they declined to support Sega's final console, the Dreamcast? Could this possibly be the start of history repeating itself?
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Private Industry 9 years ago
I love the old Sega and the Dreamcast, but Nintendo has much stronger brands then what Sega had/has.

Not sure it makes a difference for the Wii U if EA would bring BF 4 to it given that all games so far are on par with 360 and PS3 graphically with some extra GamePad feature and the other 2 consoles are cheaper and thats were the fanbase is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 17th May 2013 10:14am

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee9 years ago
At least they finally admit there's no further support.

EA's choice, how this will affect Wii-U console in the long run remains to be seen...
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 9 years ago
*cough* the 3DO had EA support *cough*

What are we expecting EA to do? Produce games for a console where their games have little to no audience?
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee9 years ago
What are we expecting EA to do? Produce games for a console where their games have little to no audience?
As a business decision, EA probably can't be faulted. Otherwise, I think most negative responses are emotive as EA aren't really doing anything wrong by looking at where they are likely to make money vs where they'll lose it.
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Matthew Handrahan European Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz9 years ago
Let's not forget that EA recently laid off 10 per cent of its global workforce. As a company, it's hurting, and backing away from a struggling platform until its creator has shown better support is a sensible decision - it isn't EA's only option, granted, but at the very least it's understandable.

Besides, should Nintendo pull it round and deliver on its insistence that the Wii U's success is just a matter of getting some good games out there, EA will be back in no time at all. To my mind, Nintendo hasn't kept up it's end of the deal.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Handrahan on 17th May 2013 12:07pm

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd9 years ago
Apart from Battlefield (which is better suited to the PC anyway) I can't think of a single EA franchise that I'd care about a console having or not. The days when their sports franchises were vital to the success of a new platform are long passed.

Even if the WiiU somehow repeated the success of the Wii EA wouldn't be able to make any money out of it. Presented with the open goal of the enormous underserved Wii userbase they managed to make a complete hash of things.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago
This is bad news for Nintendo. However if I were EA I think it would be a good time to experiment with the system by creating new IP for smaller games. I wouldnt bring major franchises on the system, instead experiment with new IP and ideas that can be developed on a smaller budget. Id take a team of lets say 10 people and ask them to cook up a game on a certain budget for WiiU. I can see side scrollers like Rayman Legends or stratagy games like fireembelm coming to WiiU. What Im saying is I wouldnt outright stop developing for it. However I feel the install base needs to be more. The install base is the major problem. However I feel Nintendo will pick up the pace soon. They have lots a great IP. I myself will eventually pick up a WiiU, just waiting for a few game announcements.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Activision and Ubisoft just had a party after hearing this news.

EA, your definition of "unprecedented partnership" and my definition of "unprecedented partnership" must come from different books.
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Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
I doubt we're going to see strong support for the Wii U from any third-party publisher at E3; the console just isn't selling that well. Publishers have plenty of other places to put their development resources. Nintendo will have to demonstrate strong sales of Wii U hardware and software, somehow, before publishers come back.

Keep in mind that the PC, PS4 and next Xbox all have the same basic architecture, so porting is easy. The Wii U is PowerPC based and completely different, so porting is non-trivial. That's another factor in decision-making for publishers, and an important one.
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Brandon Hofer Editor in Chief, Totally Gaming Network9 years ago
It's a chicken and the egg thing. Right now the Wii U isn't selling well because it doesn't have many games. It doesn't have many games because companies like EA are being short sighted and not putting games out. Remember when Ubisoft cancelled the 3DS Assassin's Creed early on in the 3DS lifecycle? I bet they are regretting that one.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange9 years ago
I've said it once, but I'll say it again.

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.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 9 years ago
The Wii U might have lost EA, but they have made a strong relationship with Ubisoft and SEGA.
SEGA is a fairly defunct brand these days, and Ubisoft's commitment was not strong enough to get Rayman out in the winter, when Nintendo needed them most. EA pulling out is not, in and of itself, Nintendo's doom, but it is a symptom of a much larger problem. We'll see how far Ubisoft's loyalty extends when they start producing games that aren't intended for the 360 or PS3, whether they will bother to include Wii U in the list of ports.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange9 years ago
Tim, isn't Ubisoft putting in every game they have lined up this year on the Wii U enough? That thing with Rayman was disappointing but they've already made up for it by providing Wii U with exclusive content. If your're looking for more exclusives, there is always next year.

SEGA, no longer has the resources it used, but their games are getting better and they're slowly rediscovering the passion they've lost. It's not easy recovering from something SEGA has gone through, give them some slack.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I think EA should be concerned about WiiU installed base. However to outright withdraw complete support from it is stupid. I really want a WiiU, Im just waiting for a few more games and also waiting to see what position it will be in once PS4 and Xbox Infinity are released. A price drop or hardware redesign could take place.

All in all WiiU has alot of Xclusive games Im looking foward too, and I will mention at least 10 of them. Zelda Windwaker HD, The New Zelda Title, New Super Mario Bros WiiU, New 3D mario platformer, Super Smash Bros WiiU, Super Mario Kart WiiU, Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei, New RPG from Monolith Soft, Bayonetta 2, Rayman Legends.

I know alot of these games are from the same franchises, I'd really like to see new IP from Nintendo, However purchasing a Nintendo console pretty much guarentees you will have a good time for there IP alone. So as a developer Id like to make games for it knowing that alot of people will have the console.

Alot of third parties complain that Nintendos own IP is competition. All third party has to do is make good quality games. Because thats what Nintendo does. And Rayman Legends is a real example of that. and the fact that it was delayed, and that resulted in new content and over 30 extra levels. I think that was a good move. Its a move I can really appreciate from Ubi Soft.

So I dont think its is a prudent choice for EA to claim that they are abandoning all support for Nintendo and have its employee's publicaly say its a crap system.
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