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Reaction: What Happened to EA and Nintendo's Unprecedented Partnership?

Posted by Mike Mason

The silent treatment

At last year's E3, EA CEO John Riccitiello shared a stage with Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime to announce that the two companies would join together in an "unprecedented partnership" for the launch of Wii U. Neither party gave any real indication what this would involve; Riccitiello was left to praise the upcoming console, focusing particularly on the online functionality. It was the first time he had graced the stage of a Nintendo E3 conference. It was a big deal.

Before E3 we argued that Nintendo and EA's partnership was big news and thought about what the pairing might mean. Yet E3 2012 came and went without any further mention of this collaboration. EA had no presence at Nintendo's most recent presentation, save for a brief glimpse of a Mass Effect 3 port in a third party sizzle reel. Nintendo, meanwhile, clearly wasn't shy to share the spotlight with other publishers. Warner Bros. Interactive's president Martin Tremblay joined the party to introduce Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition and Scribblenauts Unlimited. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot showed off Just Dance 4 and ZombiU. But no EA.

Now that we've seen Miiverse and game-specific message boards, we have a decent idea of what Riccitiello was referring to when he spoke about Wii U as a console that takes community to a new level, extending the system's reach to mobile and web platforms. It's similar to EA's own Battlelog in that it pushes information to other devices like this. Yet despite EA's apparent enthusiasm, including remarks that Wii U is “truly transformational” and “a better platform than [EA's] ever been offered by Nintendo”, we're no closer to finding out just what the intention of last year's stage appearance was.

Aside from Mass Effect 3, not a single EA game turned up for Wii U until partway through E3, when information came out that “a number of [EA] sports games”, including versions of Madden and FIFA, would be appearing on the system in the near future after all. But what about Need for Speed: Most Wanted? Dead Space 3? Sim City, a title that could work brilliantly with Wii U's GamePad? At the very least we expected these multiplatform titles to make the jump to Wii U; such strong words implied that Nintendo just might be in line for an exclusive title, or perhaps some unique features, as well.

What are we missing? Has the alleged “unprecedented partnership” cooled down before the general public ever saw a single benefit? Or could it be that EA and Nintendo simply weren't ready to show anything just yet? Hopefully it's something for the future: a pairing that is still very much in existence, and just on the back-burner for now. EA and Nintendo teaming up could change the gaming landscape or turn out to be a high-profile business deal gone wrong. Only time — and games — will tell.

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User Comments (44)



Masterman280 said:

Probably Busy, it was only an hour presentation. Fifa, ME3, Madden and future EA titles are coming to Wii U, so i don't see the problem?



Obvious78 said:

Interesting story it is....I dont know what those two are doing, but it doesnt sound too good. If Nintendo hasnt any support of EA, Nintendo would survive ofcourse. But it would be nice to see some EA mature titles (NO SPORTS PLEASE) like Dead Space and Battlefield 3 on the new system of Nintendo, the Wii U.



Ducutzu said:

Riccitiello was in the front row of the audience at the Nintendo conference, so the partnership still stands.



Cyrso said:

I wouldn't be surprised if the Wii U is going to be a gamecube or dreamcast.



dizzy_boy said:

BREAKING NEWS: EA drifts from their partnership with Nintendo and creats their own console.



hYdeks said:

Nintendo seemed more focus to show us what we will be playing at launch and the next 3-4 months after, so it's hard to be disappointed at these games not coming, cause honestly, we have no idea yet and it's a huge possibility these games will appear on Wii U. People need to give Nintendo more credit and respect, they've been in the gaming hardware market since the 80's, they have an idea what there doing

I was more interested in hearing from UbiSoft than EA at e3 anyways. UbiSoft is like the 3rd party nintendo, EA is like Microsofts cousin whos also into guns as much as them, so pass



BenAV said:

Nintendo seemed to just be focused on the rest of this year and the Wii U launch.
I'm sure there's a lot that they have in the works that they haven't revealed yet, and this could possibly fall under that category.



Aviator said:

@Ducutzu Meryl Streep is always in the front row of the Oscars, yet she doesn't walk away with an award every year does she.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I didn't expect much from EA anyway. Sure their biggest franchises must come to the Wii U and especially the sports games can profit from the controller. But i'm not that excited by anything i've seen from them in their conference save for Dead Space 3. Prove me wrong and excite me please, EA.



C-Olimar said:

@Masterman280 What part of 'unprecedented partership' don't you understand? Fifa and Madden come to every console under the sun, and Mass Effect 3 was the only other EA game confirmed. 'Partnership' suggests they are working together as well - clearly not evident at the moment.



Malkeor said:

Well....there's Mass Effect 3 at least :/

Oh how we all want nice things to happen, like Simcity coming to consoles

Don't label that as "no support" since PC is their main platform, it's understandable, but since you mention it the Wii U would make an interesting fit. (Sim City)



Moshugan said:

As I've said before, Nintendo's decision to only talk about this year and the launch period made or broke Nintendo's presentation, depending on who is watching.



Masterman280 said:


If you think EA are going to release exclusives for the Wii U then you're expecting to much, the because they're muliplats doesn't mean EA doesn't want to partner with Nintendo to make games for them. EA already has a ton of games releasing, Madden, UFC, FIFA, NFS, Warfighter, Sim City, ME3 for Wii U and more, they don't have the time for more Wii U exclusives. You Nintendo fans expect to much. EA said "ME3 on Wii U will be the best Wii U game" so they're working hard on it, so it's not just a straight port. So EA are actually partnering with Nintendo.



thanos316 said:

maybe they are holding back to make an announcement in the upcoming months. they are only 4 months left until november rolls around and we know the console will be launching then. or maybe its just the same old same coming, fifa, madden, the usual suspects and that i guess will be ok for some but i want more..



verymetal said:

Based off of E3, how can anyone say that Madden or Dead Space is coming to the Wii U? I think I figured it out. If you want those types of games then get them on the console that has them. I lost all faith in Nintendo after E3, they promised so much and just didn't deliver. The Wii U for the core gamer? Really? They care more about the casual market and basically left all the hardcore real gamers with more questions than answers. A great example is why this article was even written.



C-Olimar said:

@Masterman280 Are all those games confirmed for Wii U? If so great! Sim City rules! Anyway, I didn't say I wanted exclusives, but only one game during Nintendo's conference isn't exactly unprecedented is it? If Nintendo don't want their fans to expect more they shouldn't promise so much. 'Wii U for the core gamer' - that's laughable. You've also not presented any evidence proving that EA is in a partnership with Nintendo - you wouldn't say EA are in a partnership with Microsoft or Sony for releasing multiplats for their consoles, would you? The correct grammar is too much btw, and I don't think you mean 'the because' - do you mean 'just because'?

As a side note so EA, Mass Effect will not be the best Wii U game as long as Pikmin 3 is coming out for the console.



Locke_Highwind said:

Did somebody watch the Microsoft E3 event??? Well, let me tell you this... All the cool concepts for the Wii U, John Riccitiello shared last year, were pointed in the Xbox conference this year with the Xbox smart glass. Sad huh?



C7_ said:

I think EA either chickened out or found some other excuse to stick primarily in Microsoft's rather abysmal conference. Maybe they saw the smartglass and were like "Hey, why should we even bother with WiiU if xbox is doing it too?"

To which I say good riddance; They'll only bring repetitive sports installments and shooters to the system anyway, the only thing I'm interested in is Mass Effect and even then I don't want to give them my business because of their abhorrent launch of important and expensive day-one DLC with the initial release.

Also, this means no Origin. Always reason to celebrate,



sinalefa said:

I do remember that EA would guide Nintendo towards creating their online service, so maybe that still stands. I am not a huge fan of their franchises anyway.

The one that I have seen 0 support from is Capcom, which is usually so supportive of Nintendo's consoles.



Nanoline said:

Keep in mind that the EA of a year ago and the EA of now are two very different beasts. Last year, they hadn't turned out a series of questionable-quality Bioware studios games. Last year, they hadn't won the Worst Company in America award. Last year, their profits and stock weren't deep in the .

This year, all of that is going on. EA may have pulled back from Nintendo slightly as a result, trying to keep focus on hardcore gamers where they can make more money. Of course, they'd make money on Nintendo too, but if they could plan that out clearly enough most of the aforementioned issues wouldn't have happened.



Raylax said:

Well duh. EA are an indie company now, they don't have that kind of cash to splash around. See look, they even proved it with this:


So super indie



TrueWiiMaster said:

After all the hype about EA and Nintendo being on great terms, I was expecting an announcement for Battlefield 3: Ultra Complete Edition, only on Wii U, or at the very least some interesting ideas for Madden. Strange that they (both Nintendo and EA) were so quiet... Maybe too quiet...



pc999 said:

Third partys happened.

Nintendo should start being a publisher for small companies too, there is some great games from smaller dev that could become something very good with the right partnership.



kdognumba1 said:

Outside of the sports games, I'm not sure if this will really matter. Granted, the more games the merrier but EA didn't really impress at E3 and almost all other 3rd parties had better showings. Right now I'd be more concerned about getting Capcom, Konami and Square Enix on the Wii U.



Henmii said:

"What Happened to EA and Nintendo's Unprecedented Partnership?"

Well, it was never really there to begin with!



doctor_doak said:


Forget about EA & Activision, etc.. Nintendo would do well to encourage the partnership with Ubisoft though, that is one worth growing, and Ubi seem willing to make it work. They need to court talented smaller developers out there to publish exclusives as a point of difference to the other say, i dunno SuperGiant games for example. Bastion was superb, and better than a lot of the titles coming from major publishers/developers. Hopefully there are more titles from Platinum Games as well in the future..

I can't think of one EA or Activision title that I could be bothered playing anyway. Square Enix have some good titles, but they don't seem too interested at this stage. Who knows..



Nintex said:

well its my understanding that EA actually did most of the work for Wii U's networking capabilities and servers and that that was what the partnership was mainly about.



ThreadShadow said:

We have to take into account that perhaps most of EA's WiiU games aren't "Launch Window" (tm) games and therefore it is illegal to talk about them.



Shworange said:

I agree. It really looked like Ubisoft was the major publishing presence on this platform. Either the relationship did indeed cool down, or it's all still a huge secret, for some odd reason...



luminalace said:

Certainly a very strange turn of affairs after last years E3! Let's hope the two companies are still close because EA being quiet (c'mon the company loves noise) is not the best sign!




A few things were missing. This was one of the biggest things. Maybe they are still developing this partnership. Think the hardware development took a lot out of Nintendo personally.

Where the fudge was NFC?!



kyuubikid213 said:

I don't think that partnership has ended. EA makes a lot of great games, mostly multiplatforms... We'll see some EA support after the launch.



ajcismo said:

I think they'll show off the goods when they're good and ready. In case you haven't noticed, Nintendo isn't real big on rumors and touting barely-finished products... at least not any more. It'll happen and it'll be neat (like Madden using the gamepad and 4 remotes, or Tiger Woods golf) and not so neat (like some board-game shovel-ware that barely works on all 5 controllers).



Lew3107 said:

You kidding me? EA makes and can make some awesome games; OverStrike, Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, NFS Most Wanted, then they could make another Hit & Run style Simpsons game. I wanna see these types of games on the Wii U, and I believe EA can make a contribution to the console. If I could get NFS a while after launch, I'd be a happy man.



MeloMan said:

If EA's on board with alot of projects, both original and traditional, then cool, but it won't stop me either way from enjoying Wii U's other games announced and yet to come. Life goes on til I hear more about these two...



TheGreenSpiny said:

Who cares? Most of EA's games suck anyway. Maybe if they announced Dead Space with 'mote and 'chuk support then I'd be interested.

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