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EA: Wii can inherit PS2 business with price drop

Nintendo "will have a hard time competing" with Microsoft when Natal is released, says CEO

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has aired his belief that if Nintendo drops the price of the Wii console it can inherit the user base currently playing games on the PlayStation 2.

Sony has sold over 138 million PlayStation 2 units since launch, with the console becoming an entry point for many younger gamers, and even nine years after release is finding new emerging markets such as Brazil.

"If you look at the research at what consumers are spending their time doing, the PS2 is still right up there in terms of time usage. There is a huge number of people still playing the PS2," Riccitiello told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference on Wednesday. "My belief is the first platform that gets to $149 is going to inherit much of that business. And the Wii's best opportunity – they've got the lowest cost platform out there – if they drive price I think they can really do well."

Without a price cut or other form of innovation, Nintendo could struggle next year when rivals Sony and Microsoft launch their motion control systems, said Riccitiello.

"$199 up against an Xbox 360 is a tougher compare especially in a world when Natal comes."

"I've often thought of Electronic Arts' best position is of making bullets in a war and we sell them to all sides. Right now there's a lot of reason to believe that all three platform owners are going to have to get aggressive next year. Two have already announced their intentions for product innovation.

He added: "There's a winning hand for all three of them and we'll see who gets aggressive enough first. The Wii is not gone. But if they maintain $199 and don't innovate they're going to have a hard time competing with what's already been announced from Microsoft and Sony."

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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