Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time to Call EA Out On Their Stance Regarding the Wii U

One of the nice things about being an independent game site is that we can do articles that the big boys would shudder to post on their sites. This editorial is one of those. For months now, EA executives and personnel have been making the PR rounds for interviews regarding their present situation and future releases. One system that will not be seeing any of the latter is the Wii U, something quite damning for Nintendo's desperately struggling system. However, one piece of information that EA always seem to mention regarding the system is the quality of their releases for the Wii U.

A snippet of an MCV interview with Andrew Wilson of EA Sports: 
MCV: What needs to happen before you’re back on board with Wii U?
Andrew Wilson: I build for a userbase. I made games on Facebook because I thought people were there that wanted to play them. Then it became apparent to me that either I had the wrong game or they weren’t there. We had a strong offering on Wii U at launch. The platform hasn’t had the take-up. Our games hasn’t had the take-up we’d have liked. So at this moment we are not focused there. Now they could do a range of things that might change that situation, and we’d never count them out. And should there be a sizeable gamer base there in the future, we would build games for Wii U. But for us it’s less about building for a platform, and more about building for a group of gamers on a platform where they are. And sports gamers weren’t there.
If you paid any attention to EA's initial support for the Wii U, then you might just need to sit back and nod your head to the following that we have to say on this matter. If not, then let us enlighten you.

First of all, the idea that EA as a company had anything close to a "strong offering" is such a disingenuous lie. EA literally released Madden 12 and FIFA 12 with the only change being roster updates (and some thoughtless GamePad functionality) and labeled them as Madden 13 and FIFA 13, as those versions of the game used the game engine and features of last year's entries. Did we mention these releases were launched later than the competition AND they were released at full price? Nintendo console owners are many things, but stupid is not one of them. Saying that you put ANY effort in your EA Sports lineup for the Wii U is dishonest at best and duplicitous at worst. 

Then let's talk about Mass Effect 3, a game that was the third entry in a series Nintendo console owners had never seen before. Somehow this third entry was to supposed to light the sales charts on fire, because we all know how fun it is to jump into a series on its third installment! This is compounded by the fact that weeks before Mass Effect 3's release on the Wii U EA announced the Mass Effect Trilogy for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Both the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect Trilogy launched around the same price. If you had the choice, which would you get? The decision is easy: Mass Effect Trilogy. To say that EA essentially sabotaged the Wii U port of Mass Effect 3's sales isn't that much of a stretch. Of course, no business deliberately destroys the sales of one of their games, right? We have to chalk this down to the corporate heads there, apparently.

Finally, there's EA's best effort on the Wii U, Need for Speed: Most Wanted. This was an example of a great effort. However, it was released originally in October of last year on most platforms. At the time of the Wii U port's release the other versions of the game were available for purchase for half the Wii U version's price. Unless you really needed the GamePad for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the decision to get a cheaper version was a no-brainer. It made us feel horrible for Criterion because they actually did do a strong offering for the Wii U game. It simply was released far too late and priced too high. 

The fact that no one in the mainstream press has the fortitude to take the almighty EA to task on their deceitful tall tales regarding their Wii U support is astonishing to us. We're not saying the Wii U deserves EA's support, as it is up to Nintendo to get some interest for their console, which they have been doing absolutely terribly (though you can bet if the PS4 and Xbox One start off sluggishly, EA will support them regardless). 

What we're saying is that EA is blatantly lying about how well their Wii U support was, and it was nothing short of a self-fulfilling prophecy (there's that term again) as to why their "strong offering" of support was not met with high sales. Early adopters are usually the most "with it" with regards to game quality and releases. The fact that EA thought early adopters of the Wii U would happily lap up the weak content the publisher offered them should say it all about what the company thinks of the system and its users. They were perfectly happy to basically con Wii U owners out of their hard-earned money with low-effort releases. Hardly what anyone would call a "strong offering." You generally get out what you put into something, and EA put hardly anything into the Wii U and deservedly got little for their "effort."

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