Electronic Arts Backs Wii

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Industry Trends

Wii_3 One sign that your new console is doing well is when Electronic Arts, the biggest independent game publisher in the world, sets up a separate studio just to create original Wii games from the ground up. Rather than porting over franchises to Wii, like several publishers are, EA has developed new titles like "Madden NFL 07" specifically for Wii to take advantage of its unique controllers. After working with the Utah developer for six years, EA has bought Headgate Studios and renamed it EA Salt Lake. The development studio will focus exclusively on Wii game development.

EA has two Wii launch titles out now, "Madden NFL 07" and "Need for Speed Carbon." The publisher will have an additional five or six games for Wii out by the end of March 2007. For its 2008 fiscal year, EA will release 12 to 16 Wii games, including two or three games developed exclusively for Nintendo's system. This is a huge show of support for Wii, a system that continues to gain support. A recent Hitwise consumer research report found that Wii was more popular than PlayStation 3, iPod and anything else over the Thanksgiving holiday shopping frenzy.

By focusing a development team on Wii, as EA has done with Team Fusion for PSP, Nintendo's new system should get quality games. That's something that Nintendo will need to keep its fans happy. The launch titles for Wii are far stronger than PlayStation 3, which has just two must-have games ("Resistance: Fall of Man" and the new EA "Fight Night Round 3"). EA showed more support for PS3 at launch, and then had Sony under-deliver in hardware. In contrast, Nintendo has been replenishing supplies of Wii hardware.

EA Salt Lake, which has made the "Tiger Woods" games over the past few years, will no longer develop that game for multiple platforms. EA's Tiburon Studio, which makes the "Madden," "NCAA Football, "NFL Street" and recent "Superman Returns" game, will likely take over "Tiger Woods."


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Henry Wood

The Nintendo WII is nothing more than a GameCube with a nice case and a fancy controller....

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