EA: Excited About New Generation Which Is "Yet to Come"
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Not positive words for Nintendo
Whenever the issue of "generations" of consoles comes up when discussing Wii U, it often leads to hurt feelings and blood on the floor. Defining a console generation is arguably a complex business, while some clearly feel that graphical fidelity and "power" truly represent a step to "next gen". That's left Wii U in a no-man's land in the debate, with some saying that as successor to Wii and with its own innovations it's next generation, and others arguing that elements of its capabilities fail to move it into a new era beyond Xbox 360 and PS3; it's all down to personal perspective.
In any case, some perspectives that matter to Nintendo are those held by the biggest game developers and publishers in the world, the support of whom will be important for Wii U. Unfortunately for Nintendo, EA's CEO John Riccitello said the following about the system in a recent investor briefing.
Never count Nintendo out. They've got some of the best IP in the game industry. When their marquee titles show up, that's when you usually see the bounce. I deeply respect the achievements they've had over the last several years. And as I said, you never really count them out.
Having said that, I wouldn't say that we see a correlation between the results that Nintendo has shown with their console début of the Wii U and what we see coming. We see a pretty sharp distinction, and unfortunately I'm unable to go any further than that.
Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that the what we're describing as "gen 4" is yet to come. It's that that we're excited about, and that's what we're investing in. And frankly, we've been quite consistent with that for some time, while recognizing the frustration our inability to articulate precisely why causes for you.
That lack of enthusiasm for Wii U is countered by EA's commitment to the upcoming new systems from Sony and Microsoft.
As you might well expect, we know more about the roadmap, and more about what's coming in consumer electronics, in terms of the specifics of devices that will play games, than you might otherwise be exposed to. [With] the information that we have, we remain bullish. It's why we have outlined our plan to invest… in the current fiscal year $80 million in that opportunity.
As this is from the head of EA when briefing investors on the upcoming priorities for the company, this is a rather damaging suggestion that the publisher isn't overly enthused by Nintendo's system; we've been here before with Wii, of course, but that doesn't mean that comments such as these aren't disappointing. That "unprecedented partnership" between EA and Nintendo that Riccitello proposed at E3 2011 is looking ever more distant.
What do you make of Riccitello's comments, and his assertion that "gen 4" is yet to come?