The nature of the Switch hardware means it'll be approached in different ways by various developers; as far as EA is concerned, the system is primarily a portable. That's been the pitch for FIFA 18 on the system, a bespoke iteration that'll supposedly be the most 'advanced' portable entry in the series. To a degree Bethesda took a similar approach in its latest trailer for Skyrim on Switch, though the messaging hasn't been quite as blunt as that from EA.
EA is certainly happy to reiterate that approach in public, and states that it's monitoring the success levels of the Switch and considering more projects. EA executive VP of global publishing, Laura Miele, said as much recently to Games Industry.biz.
FIFA is the largest game in the business, so the offering and expansive footprint FIFA has around the globe will help connect Switch hardware to gamers as well. So I think it's a strong mutual partnership with Nintendo. We love the mobility of the Switch and I think the content they've put out is really strong on it so far. We're going to continue to watch how the hardware does. We are exploring other products. We are looking at other IP and what the technology connections need to be for that.
Miele also continued the line around the development approach to FIFA 18, trying to shift the focus towards what it'll do differently to harness the portability of the Switch and its prospective audience.
There are technical differences, yes, but I think most importantly there are player differences. When you have a game you're playing on the go, it's a different interface, different experience, different features, and different flow I think, then it would be if you're playing on the sticks in your living room on a TV. So that design consideration always has to be taking place for our players.
We never want to do just a direct port of something; we want to have a meaningful experience on the hardware. So it's tech and design and user flow that we're considering as we're looking at future titles.
It's a tricky topic, of course. Nintendo and its closest partners pitch the Switch as a hybrid home gaming system, with the angle that you play on the TV but can also play 'anywhere' on the go. EA has been the company most blatantly shifting the message, emphasizing portability as a core feature of the hardware.
It'll be fascinating to see how FIFA 18 ultimately turns out on Switch, and whether it achieves reasonable sales on Nintendo's system.
With thanks to Nintendoforlife for the heads up.