Nintendo's Wii U is struggling in sales and support. During an interview this week at E3 with Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's head of corporate communications, we noted that the Wii U's lack of Madden this year puts it in the company of Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast. EA currently has no games in development for Wii U.
"You'd have to ask EA about their future development plans. EA is a great partner of ours, they've had games on our platforms before. They want what all third parties want and what we want: for the install base to grow," said Scibetta. "We're confident that once some of these games come out that we have planned between now and the holiday and into 2014, that it will help drive the install base and when that happens the platforms will look more enticing to third parties."
So, we asked Electronic Arts Labels President Frank Gibeau about what Nintendo can do to bring EA back to the Wii U.
"Look, the only thing they can do to fix it is to sell more boxes. We're a rational company, we go where the audience is. We publish games where we think we can make a great game and hit a big audience, and make money," said Gibeau. "That's why we're here, that's why we have an industry."
He pointed out that EA has tried to support the Wii U, but it hasn't made financial sense, "The Wii U, we shipped four games. We shipped Madden, FIFA, Need for Speed and Mass Effect. In fact, the last Need for Speed shipped 60 days ago had a pretty good Metacritic. It was a good game. It wasn't a schlocky port, we actually put extra effort into getting everything to work. And it's just not selling because there's no boxes."
Gibeau obviously isn't closing the door on the House of Mario, "Nintendo is a good partner and never count 'em out and all that. Never count them out, but right now we're focused on PS4 and Xbox One and from our perspective we'll look at the Wii U, we'll continue to observe it. If it becomes a viable platform from an audience standpoint, we'll jump back in."