There have been some conversations breaking out all over the net defending EA a bit because Frostbite 2 didn’t have very good initial tests and as such, Frostbite 3 “can’t” support the platform. EA has gotten a lot of flak over SimCity, but people are starting to actually give them a pass for the lack of support to Nintendo consoles. Hey, it’s the Wii U – it’s not as powerful as PS4 so it’s really not a Next-Generation console anyways!
Well, EA said it indeed was a next generation console:
"It is the first next-generation platform coming out so we're really supporting it.” – Frank Gibeau, EA Game’s Label President
Well, they must have said that in 2011… right? Wrong – this was said in June of last year. Then, former EA CEO Mr. Riccitiello pointed out rather clearly that the Wii U is not considered a Next-Generation platform for them in January, 2013:
“Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that what we’re describing as ‘Gen 4′ is yet to come. It’s that we’re excited about, and that’s what we’re investing in.”
In referencing the whole “Gen 4” situation, it’s completely ignoring Nintendo, who is well past “4” generation of hardware. That means they consider their gens to be starting when the PlayStation was released, and they don’t consider Nintendo relevant anymore.
However, let’s swing full circle back to the initial points being made to defend EA. Some people might be able to point out why, on a technical level, the Wii U’s CPU could in fact be getting outperformed by the 360’s CPU. This may or may not be true (I was always under the impression the Wii CPU actually was only 20% less efficient than the 360’s… so times it by 3 alone should already outperform the 360), but the only thing we can truly quantify the Wii U’s capabilities by are the games that are running on it.
Setting aside architecture differences between other Gen 7 consoles (The Wii U literally runs games differently than the other two consoles currently on the market), the Wii U itself has already proven it is a more capable console. Need for Speed: Most Wanted, was able to run PC level graphical assets. Now, it’s true the number of racers was cut from 8 to 6, which could have been CPU related… but no definitive evidence was shown to prove that was the cause.
Let’s set aside the trivial games that have already come out, however, because this is about the future. This is about exposing the EA lies. Frostbite 2 supposedly didn’t run well on the Wii U… but Cry engine 3, which produced arguably the most graphically intensive experience to date for consoles with Crysis 3… was running on the Wii U… and running very well. But hey, that Frostbite 2… it can’t do it!
What about some Next Gen stuff then? Well, after all the disputes over Unreal 4, it turns out that yes, the Wii U can run it… only Epic won’t support it themselves. Oh, and Watch Dogs? It’s running on a next gen engine called Disrupt, yet the Wii U, 360, and PS3 can also run that. However, the Wii U can’t run Frostbite 2? Really?
Reality is, the Wii U can run Frostbite 2 just fine – EA just doesn’t want to tweak it (like you have to tweak every engine for every platform it’s on) because they aren’t going to support the platform. They, essentially, don’t care if the Wii U can play their engines or not. They aren’t going to support the Wii U anyways. It’s bad enough that EA doesn’t even want to “try” with the platform, but it’s only worse when you start having your studios spew out a bunch of bullshit as a “sleazy” way to justify your decisions publicly. The simple fact is this: You do not like Nintendo, and as such, you will not support them. Is it so hard to say? No one cares about your shitty justifications.
We are in day and age where all the next gen engines are being made scalable. Not just so they can fit on mobile platforms and/or tablets, but because it’s more cost effective to do so. People who use Unreal Engine 4 don’t have to downscale it on the PS4 if they don’t want, but they could to make it cheaper to create a game that isn’t going to use the engine to its full potential.
Fact is, if Frostbite 3 isn’t even remotely scalable, EA is actually just making things more expensive for themselves. We may never understand or have the full details of why EA and Nintendo don’t get along. Why EA considered the Wii U next generation, but a mere 6 months later it wasn’t even in the conversation anymore (and don’t blame low sales – sales of the Wii U were actually high in November and December, and they said that in January).
Okay, so let’s say EA is justified. Madden 2013 only moved 30,000 units on the Wii U. Mass Effect 3 only sold 50,000 units. Fifa 2013 only sold 70,000 units. Doesn’t seem like a very profitable venture. However, Madden 2013 was missing the physics engine (which was the main reason to get it), Mass Effect 3 was sold at $60 without future DLC despite the fact the entire trilogy was released at the same time on the other consoles for the same price (which made more sense for the Wii U, since Nintendo had zero of the games on their platform), and Fifa 2013 was already proven to be Fifa 2012 with a roster update. So, not only did the games sell poorly, they were actually piss poor efforts to begin with. Who knew that when you released inferior and unfinished products… people don’t buy them?
Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed III moved roughly 140,000 copies. While not a stellar number, the series had never appeared on a Nintendo console… but it was supported not only with DLC, but with being the exact full version game the other consoles got. It’s a great launching pad – one that will probably lead to increased sales of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. I fully expect 200,000+ for that game this fall on the Wii U. A number that is well worth porting a game for.
But of course, this is the difference between Ubisoft and EA. Ubisoft never over promised and never slandered Nintendo. They continue to support the platform because they are seeing solid numbers that could grow. ZombiU has sold 430,000+ copies. Even Just Dance 4 moved 180,000 units despite having an equally good version on the Wii move several million.
This may not be the success that leads to massive profits right away, but it’s a solid base that, should the Wii U gain some steam with Nintendo’s own releases, is going to lead to future million sellers for them because they are maintaining a constant presence with the Nintendo faithful, and by giving them quality experiences – not dumbed down arcade versions of Madden or overcharging for a year old game when at the same price everyone else can get all three.
Ubisoft isn’t a model citizen, they make mistakes and certainly are greedy like everyone else, but they at least are not biased in how they choose to support platforms. The Wii literally couldn’t run well made ports of their games – the Wii U can, so they are going to support it as long as the sales trending continues to grow. EA isn’t even willing to put in the effort to port ONE GAME properly and see the results.
Oh, well I supposed Need for Speed was done well, but it was still a late port of a 2012 game – while Ubisoft kept their “ports” released at least within 30 days of the other versions of the game. I appreciate the effort, but since future Need for Speed games are running on frostbite… you might as well count the Wii U out of that equation.
In the end EA has done this publicly:
- Announce an unprecedented partnership with Nintendo
- Call the Wii U a Next Generation gaming platform that they have many releases in the works for
- Stated Frostbite 2 didn’t run well on the console
- Tried to diminish the Wii U’s capabilities, only for Crytek to say that Crysis 3 was fully running on the platform before “business decisions” ended its release
- Release 3 “usually popular” games, that were under supported, extremely poor ports, or overpriced thanks to other bundles they released that contained the same game at that time.
- State in 2013 that they are focused on Gen 4 consoles, completely leaving out the Wii U from the equation
Whatever beef is going on, we can only look at the public facts. EA has not only been openly lying about things, they have been skirting around the issue. EA may or may not be a company you like (I do like some of their games), but it’s time they stop bullshitting and playing a really poor PR game. Just be honest: You do not WANT to support Nintendo, despite Ubisoft proving it can be successful and lead to solid sales.
It’s really that simple. Okay, that’s enough about EA. I’m growing tired of the excuses.