EA eyes Wii Us new market

The man in charge of EA’s family and casual games division Play says Nintendo’s Wii U will provide a real boost to its audience.

And that’s after years of third-parties struggling to compete on Nintendo’s Wii and DS formats, which are so often dominated by first-party releases.

Let’s face it, first parties have done very well on Wii, and third parties haven’t,” EA Play label EVP Jeff Karp told MCV at E3.

Wii is not in our sweetspot – we’ve done our best at it, but it is really difficult to develop there.”

That all changes with Wii U, he said.

Unveiled at E3 last week, the new Nintendo home console features a base unit with improved processing and graphical power, plus wireless controller with tablet-style touchscreen built in. Games can be played on the TV using the screen for other functions, or streamed straight to the new controller.

Nintendo said the device ‘changes games’ and bridges the gap between core gamer and casual audiences – and had the third-party support to prove it.

EA boss John Riccitiello also presented at Nintendo’s press conference, saying a ‘breakthrough’ in the two’s partnership made Wii U an important new platform for the increasingly digitally-minded publisher.

Karp said that this breakthrough has been helped along by the increased graphical oomph of the Wii U.

Development on the Wii U is more like what we are used to on other platforms,” he told us.

We will still be very selective and make sure we create the appropriate experiences for Wii U, but it is much closer aligned with HD consoles and really significantly expands our addressable market.

I think it is going to expand the opportunities for all games to be reimagined, especially the products at EA Play, and really extend our audience.”

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