Electronic Arts is one of the industry's publishing veterans and has been known to make-or-break the fortunes of consoles in the past. The company threw its weight behind the Mega Drive / Genesis during the 16-bit era and helped Sega score a notable victory over Nintendo, but by the time the Dreamcast arrived a few years later EA had withdrawn its support and Sony was the key beneficiary, dominating the market in a way that hadn't been seen since the days of the NES.
More recently, EA's support for the Wii U has been painfully limited, despite pre-launch assurances that it enjoyed an "unprecedented partnership" with Nintendo, and the absence of key names like FIFA and Madden has had a telling impact on the system's commercial performance.
With NX on the horizon and third-party support being a key area Nintendo needs to nail this time around, it's unsurprisingly that questions are being asked regarding EA's support of the new system.
During EA's Q2 2016 earnings call last week, The Benchmark Company's Mike Hickey put the following query to EA CEO Andrew Wilson:
...thinking about Nintendo's NX platform, the dev chips have apparently shipped. It looks like it's working towards a calendar year 2016 launch. Just wondering how you plan to manage your resources to that emerging platform. Do you anticipate being more aggressive on the front end? Or perhaps a little bit more cautious, given the Wii U underperformed expectations?
Wilson's reply went around the houses somewhat:
I'm going to address that slightly differently. As we look to the future, we see a world where more people are playing on more platforms in more geographies than ever before. We see the platform cycle now, not just as a traditional six-year console cycle, but as a six-month refresh rate on mobile devices, smart TVs, Internet-enabled refrigerators, or whatever it might be.
And what we're doing, in terms of resource allocation, is really investing at a core digital platform level, at an engine level, and at a game architecture level, to ensure that we are able to deliver amazing experiences; 6 inches to 60 inches, and beyond; two minutes to two hour session times, and beyond; across any and all relevant devices where gamers are playing.
And as it relates to Nintendo, we've had a tremendous relationship with them over the years. And we will evaluate any and all opportunities with them, in the same way we do all platform opportunities.
What do you make of these comments? Will EA come out all guns blazing when NX arrives, or could we see another Nintendo hardware generation with little to no support from EA? Let us know by posting a comment below.