Electronic Arts may have been late getting on the Wii bandwagon but CEO John Riccitiello said yesterday that the company plans to make up for it in a big way, claiming EA will "rival Nintendo on their own platform."
In a July 2008 interview, Riccitiello admitted that EA "made the wrong call" by choosing not to focus on the Wii but said it was "catching up" to rival publishers. "We've got some incredibly innovative Wii titles, incredibly innovative DS titles coming," he said. "And so I think that issue's sort of behind us." He reiterated that position during a conference call to investors yesterday, saying the Wii is continuing to grow in significance as part of the videogame market and that EA is committed to getting in on the action. The EA Sports brand is key to a Wii breakthrough, he said, particularly in conjunction with the Wii MotionPlus, which he claimed will let EA create games on par with Nintendo's own first-party titles.
"You will see we are taking great advantage of their new hardware addition with the motion sensor," he said. "What that is going to give us is the kind of gameplay we think will rival Nintendo on their own platform, and we are bringing marketing together in such a way that we think we can get noticed in ways that no other third party will."
"We're going strong, right out of the box, with EA Sports," he added, alluding to two upcoming Wii-exclusive titles from EA. "EA Sports Active is taking advantage of the world's fascination with fitness - the strength of the Wii Fit platform - with a spectacular title in my judgment that's coming out in our first quarter. The second thing that is coming out in the quarter is we are launching our tennis SKU, and initially Wii only, and following it up with other franchises."
All told, Nintendo is getting "half our emphasis in terms of titles counts," Riccitiello said, and not just in the form of sports and family oriented games: Riccitiello also made the somewhat surprising announcement that the 2008 survival horror release Dead Space is coming to the Wii, although no other details were revealed.