EA: Nintendo Needs to Drop Wii Price, Help Third Parties
Posted by Trevor Chan
Just a couple of suggestions from John Riccitiello
Whether it's the top priority or not, Nintendo is undoubtedly looking to pick up declining profits with the upcoming 3DS. However, in response to the Move and Kinect peripherals for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 respectively, launching new hardware might not be the only answer if Nintendo is to hang on to its dominance in the industry. According to EA's CEO, that is.
John Riccitiello recently took part in an interview conducted by Industry Gamers and talking points included the Wii's position in the market and the course of action he thinks Nintendo should take:
I would say they did exceptionally well in ‘07 and ‘08, started tapering in ‘09 and ‘10, and... I think if they were to price down to $99, they would explode. I think they’ve now got competition, in the form of gesture-based gaming from Sony and Microsoft. If they were to find ways to promote third-party content better, as opposed to first-party content, and would hit pricing, I think the platform would see new life...
It's one thing to suggest another price-cut, but it's another to criticise the company's helping hand for third-parties. To rub salt further in the wound, Riccitiello praises a "third-party company" that Nintendo sees as its real enemy and their biggest threat:
I think it’s a frustration for all third-party publishers, when a platform holder does less to promote third-party content. A great third-party company is Apple, a company that’s all third-party content. There’s often tension in a company between first- and third-party content. Nintendo’s unique in the world. They’re a great company because of the blend of first- and third-party content. First-party hardware, first-party content is what makes them great, but it’s actually pretty tough. I can come up with a dozen titles in the last decade, but it’s really tough to come up with a dozen great titles that have been platform defining for them that weren’t their own. I don’t care whether it’s Mario or Twilight Princess or GoldenEye; it was their own content. I’m going back to N64, and I can go back to SNES if you want, but they’ve never really been a heavy third-party supporting system. It’s not lack of trying; they start the morning thinking what’s best for their own intellectual property.
Nintendo might be selective when supporting third-party releases beyond its usual remit, we only have to look at recent examples like Monster Hunter 3 (Tri~) from Capcom and Metroid: Other M from Team Ninja to know that even with Nintendo's support, sales don't always meet expectations. With the recent revival of the WiiWare demo service, that's at least another step in the right direction but surely it's a two-way street? EA is certainly a big player in the industry and can handle its own marketing quite adequately, so if the publishing giant encounters problems which it blames on the lack of support from Nintendo, could the reason indeed be that, or are there fundamental problems with their products? There's always the possibility that the issue is something else. What are your thoughts?