Publisher EA is not yet ready to fully commit to Nintendo’s Switch.
CFO Blake Jorgensen has told the Wall Street Journal that despite the release of FIFA 18 in September, it is still too soon for EA to judge whether the game has sold sufficiently. Instead, the company wants to “full understand what the demand is” for its titles before signing off any further Switch releases.
The online fan reaction is already becoming a bit ugly. After all, Switch is so far performing well. It was reported on Monday that Nintendo had expected to sell 10m consoles in its current financial year. It now expects that number to be more like 14m.
The console itself has now sold 7.6m units – that means that in six months it has sold half as many units as Wii U managed in its entire lifetime (13.6m), and could best its total in year one.
It has also sold 27.5m Switch game units. Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains the biggest hit (4.7m units) followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (4.42m) and Splatoon 2 (3.61m). 1-2 Switch (1.37m) and Arms (1.35m) are both million-copy sellers, too.
And new release Super Mario Odyssey sold 2m copies in its first two days of sale.
However, none of this means that Switch is necessarily a good bet for large third party publishers, despite the success of some digital indie titles.
Nintendo’s game have always sold well on Nintendo hardware, but third party success is less consistent. While the Wii proved to be a treasure trove for a select number of publishers, for others it was a disappointment. Wii U, on the other hand, was widely abandoned by virtually all bar Nintendo itself after poor game sales.
However, there’s not yet reason to think that EA will do to Switch that which it once did to Wii U. Despite assurances after launch that EA remained committed to Nintendo’s last console, rumours persisted that the company had no interest in the machine long-term. Indeed, EA’s Wii U catalogue turned out to be a very small one.
If Switch continues to sell well and if its owner base spends on non-Nintendo titles, then you can very much expect EA to return to the machine.