Author Topic: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership  (Read 3163 times)

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Offline Shaymin

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If they are meeting, Nintendo fans should hope for a win-win situation

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/editorial/41984/its-time-for-nintendo-and-ea-to-make-a-new-unprecedented-partnership

NintendoLife posted a rumor recently about a future meeting between Nintendo and Electronic Arts regarding NX publishing. According to occasional Did You Know Gaming/Unseen64 contributor Liam Robertson, the meeting will discuss the support – or lack thereof – for EA Sports titles on the NX.

And if you’re hoping for the NX to be a success, or at least perform better than Wii U, you want to cross your fingers that the meeting goes well. Admittedly, it can’t go any worse than EA’s Nintendo support (or lack thereof) over the past three years, but having EA making games for the NX is going to be a clear signal as to how Nintendo’s new systems will fare outside of Japan.

The Sports Factor

The meeting is largely supposed to be about EA Sports, and given the way sports titles sell in North America this is no big shock. According to the NPD Group, three of the top 10 best-selling games in the United States last year were licensed sports titles: Madden 2016 (#2), NBA 2k16 (#6) and FIFA 16 (#8). None of those games were published on a Nintendo system. It’s even worse in Europe, Nintendo’s weakest market, where FIFA dominates mindshare to the point where it’s been in the top 40 charts since time immemorial and people will explicitly not buy a console that doesn’t have FIFA on it.

Getting players to adopt the Nintendo ecosystem for a sports title may be difficult, though Nintendo’s tradition of strong local play and potentially free online play could be a selling point. EA does have a bigger focus on online connectivity lately, though, as the EA Ultimate Team modes in Madden and FIFA have been gigantic money-makers. Fortunately, Nintendo’s growing digital revenues indicate there could be a market for this mode on Nintendo consoles, but if the next systems and Nintendo Account don’t create a smooth process for buying the cards – they’re in every EA sports game including next month’s UFC title – the base effort of a sports game may not be worth it unless porting from a current console or PC is literally something that can be done by an intern in a day.

EA’s chief concern is marketing to sports fans as live sports are often referred to as the last DVR-proof thing on television. Nintendo has done a lot of advertising on Adult Swim, Nickelodeon, and other channels aimed at the younger audience, but sports is huge in the 18-34 demographic prized by advertisers that see a lot of ads for Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and EA Sports games. The lack of video services on the Wii U – probably a side effect of the stillborn TVii – doesn’t help matters. Nintendo has a share in Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) through their ownership of the Seattle Mariners, but they don’t have the MLB At Bat app on the Wii U nor any of the other services MLBAM supports, such as the WWE Network and HBO Now.

EA Sports wants to create an environment for sports fans to thrive, and Nintendo should be in a position at the turn of a generation to remake their image as far as sports goes. If the NX can win Comeback Player of the Year, it’s going to mean more people buy the next systems, which means more money for everyone. Nintendo hasn’t done an EA Sports game bundle ever, though they’ve done 3rd party system bundles (Just Dance, ZombiU, Skylanders). If the Microsoft marketing deals in the US for EA system bundles end soon, a Godfather offer may not be out of the question – and EA sounds willing to make the deal.

The Other EA Franchises

But it isn’t just sports that should be a concern for Nintendo as far as EA is concerned.

Nintendo has a bit of a Star Wars presence through Disney Infinity games and the upcoming LEGO Star Wars Force Awakens game. But the biggest Star Wars seller of last year, and the game that took best advantage of a record-breaking movie’s coattails, was Star Wars Battlefront. It managed to beat EA’s own expectations, and they expected to sell 12 million copies. Nintendo has a long history of great Star Wars shooters, so Battlefront would have been a great fit for the Wii U – except for the engine.

A super-majority of EA’s games outside of the sports realm run on the DICE-developed Frostbite engine, which is a decision that was made around the time of the Wii U’s release as they moved into full production of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games. This may lend credence to the rumor that EA sent their Wii U devkits aside from the ones for Need for Speed Most Wanted’s Wii U version back before a single Wii U was sold: the Wii U couldn’t handle Frostbite, so why bother keeping the devkits around? If the NX – or at least one of its components – is powerful enough to run Frostbite for the next 3-4 years, that’s a big step in getting non-sport support back. And DICE did at one time want to make Battlefield exclusive to the GameCube, as we revealed on the NWR Telethon a few years ago.

Other EA franchises would be a good fit for a Nintendo console audience as well. Nintendo fans are always down for a quality RPG, and though EA executives screwed Mass Effect 3 on Wii U by releasing the trilogy on PS3/360 two weeks before the Wii U launch, the series is starting a new story with Mass Effect: Andromeda before the end of next March. Should Frostbite run on the next console, it could be interesting to see which releases first; the console, or Andromeda. (Personally, I’m betting on Andromeda being first.)

Another service that would be a benefit for Nintendo fans if it was worth the EA investment is EA Access. For $30 a year, EA games become available for 10 hours of play before wide launch, and they also provide some back catalogue games free for the life of the subscription. It’d provide a point of differentiation from the PS4, and if porting titles was simple enough, Nintendo-only owners may get access to titles such as Dragon Age: Inquisition and see if it was worth winning Game of the Year over Bayonetta 2 at the 2014 Game Awards.

The Knockback Effect

Perhaps the biggest effect EA returning to the NX would have is to prove the system is worth it for Western third parties.

As mentioned earlier, EA is rumored to have sent their devkits for the Wii U back to Nintendo before the Wii U even launched; the ultimate sign of a lack of confidence in the console. Within two years, most mature, high-selling content was gone from the Wii U. But if the biggest publisher in the industry is willing to get back on board with a system, that’s a sign that the ecosystem is at least workable for third parties, and their engines will likely work there. EA is also bringing independent developers to the fore more, such as the recent release of Unravel on PS4/XB1/PC, and the developer wants to bring it to NX but doesn't know enough about the NX to begin development.

If EA is on board and their sports games are performing well, that would be a signal for 2k to bring NBA and WWE games back. Perhaps Mafia III follows, or there’s a late port of Grand Theft Auto V to the next console that keeps it in the NPD top 10 for another two years. A strong performance in Battlefront could mean Call of Duty returns to Nintendo consoles (and maybe shows up on the eShop this time) or The Division and Destiny come to the next console because there’ll be a thriving shooter community. But it’s going to start with EA. Their abandonment of the Dreamcast over the existence of Sega Sports may not have been the direct cause of that system’s death but it sure as hell didn’t help. EA is a kingmaker in the Western gaming sphere.

Is Nintendo in a position where they can see this? Probably. The fact that Kimishima, a former NoA CEO, is running the show now does help in this regard; he’s been exposed to the strength of EA up close. Nintendo can’t give away the farm to EA, but if the console or ecosystem is strong and it’s easy to keep games at a level EA’s accustomed to, we’ll be able to stop making “unprecedented partnership” jokes.

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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 01:26:06 PM »
If the rumour is true then EA is asking a lot from Nintendo, probably more than I would normally consider reasonable.  But Nintendo has no leg to stand on.  If they don't fix third party support then the NX is going to sell like the Wii U.  We know what the sales potential of a Nintendo-only console is and the Wii U is it.  And if Nintendo is stuck in a future of Wii U consoles then they have no console future.  They can't maintain that.

Sadly the time to have really put a strong effort into rebuilding third party relations was on the Cube.  Things first turned to crap on the N64.  The Cube was when they needed to demonstrate that as a fluke and work hard to get things back to the way they were.  Instead they seemed indifferent to the issue and then the Wii and Wii U were so unfriendly to third parties you figure they were trying to turn them away.  Now they need them and they have no leverage whatsoever.  They also have destroyed any brand value with gamers that care about third party support.  Again if they actually tried to fix that 15 years ago they wouldn't be in this hole they're in now.  Third parties will cut them no slack and gamers won't put up with anything less than a steady stream of games comparable to that of the competition.

The situation may be irreversible but is serious enough that Nintendo can't maintain it as the status quo either.  They're going to have be the complete opposite of their usual inflexible selves.  Nintendo tends to carry an attitude that they're king **** and everyone must deal in their terms - regardless of how they're actually doing in the market.  Nope.  They now have to act like someone who needs the help of others and accommodates them accordingly.  The recent change of management is a good time to do an about face without coming across as insincere.

Offline UncleBob

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2016, 01:47:14 PM »
EA games that have came out on competing systems that I would have bought a Wii U/3DS version of if it had been released:
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 01:59:05 PM »
Maybe this time, EA will release 3 games for a Nintendo console! If we're taking unprecedented, why not dream big and go completely off the deep end of expectations?

It's unprecedented, baby!

Offline Adrock

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 02:32:27 PM »
If the rumour is true then EA is asking a lot from Nintendo, probably more than I would normally consider reasonable.  But Nintendo has no leg to stand on.
Honestly, as much as I generally dislike EA, what it's asking of Nintendo according to this rumor isn't that unreasonable. What it comes down to is: What is Nintendo going to do to help EA titles succeed on NX? EA wants Nintendo to advertise during sports games. Nintendo should be doing that anyway. EA wants to hardware bundles. Nintendo has bundled third parties games before. To make it even more enticing, insist on Nintendo exclusive content like Link, Samus, and Peach costumes in Battlefield and other EA titles. That cross-marketing works. I bought NBA Street Vol. 3 just to see Peach dunk on Yao Ming.

I don't think Nintendo should accept a suckers deal like EA apparently wanted regarding Origin on Wii U. However, there are certainly things Nintendo can do to not only help third parties but also increase its own brand awareness. Nintendo likes sitting in its bubble blissfully unaware of its surroundings. That can't happen anymore. Run an ad during the World Series. Pay Steph Curry ALL THE MONEY to appear in an NX commercial. Get those entertainment apps on NX, dammit.

Offline Lucario

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2016, 03:43:32 PM »
Just hope Borderlands 3 comes to the NX...
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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 04:16:44 PM »
If the rumour is true then EA is asking a lot from Nintendo, probably more than I would normally consider reasonable.  But Nintendo has no leg to stand on.
Honestly, as much as I generally dislike EA, what it's asking of Nintendo according to this rumor isn't that unreasonable. What it comes down to is: What is Nintendo going to do to help EA titles succeed on NX? EA wants Nintendo to advertise during sports games. Nintendo should be doing that anyway. EA wants to hardware bundles. Nintendo has bundled third parties games before. To make it even more enticing, insist on Nintendo exclusive content like Link, Samus, and Peach costumes in Battlefield and other EA titles. That cross-marketing works. I bought NBA Street Vol. 3 just to see Peach dunk on Yao Ming.

To me helping a specific third party's games succeed on their console isn't the job of the console maker because when does it end?  Do they do this for every third party?  To me the expectation is just that console maker fosters an environment that allows third parties to succeed - reasonable license fees, development kits with adequate support and documentation for its developers, a reliable infrastructure for online play and the online store and stuff like that.  It isn't their job to advertise someone else's game for them.  Though they should be open to doing so as part of a business relationship it shouldn't be seen as an obligation.  The real requirement is that the third party should be able to come on board and not have their ability to succeed ruined by obstacles the console maker throws in their way.

The problem is that Nintendo has not even been adequate at the expected obligations of a console maker.  For example you don't offer a broadband adapter, refuse to use it yourself and then tell third parties to figure it out themselves like they did on the Cube.  So simply being adequate won't be enough because they've essentially made enemies with everyone.  So they have to go above and beyond to win people over.  This is going to be expensive and will take a lot of time and commitment.  But I fully expect Nintendo to just continue with their usual nonsense and watch the NX crash and die - even if in terms of hardware design it's actually a great console.

Offline the asylum

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 05:28:46 PM »
I cant wait for EA to demand that Nintendo use Origin again

And Nintendo to refuse again

And EA picking up its ball and going home again

And nothing ever coming of this again

Again

Offline Adrock

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 06:00:13 PM »
To me helping a specific third party's games succeed on their console isn't the job of the console maker because when does it end?  Do they do this for every third party?
No. Specific games for specific third parties. Shovel Knight? Nope. Call of Duty? Sure. Madden? Yeah. Given that Nintendo has previously offered and likely will continue to offer bundles and special edition hardware of third party games, it's fair for EA, the largest third party publisher, to want in on that treatment. If Nintendo wants Western third party support in particular, it's going to have to give a little. Nintendo still gets something out of this so it isn't one-sided. It gets third party support and potentially sells more consoles.
Quote
It isn't their job to advertise someone else's game for them.
It's weird that you're saying this now considering how many times you've complained that Nintendo should be doing what Sony and Microsoft do. Both have offered EA bundles (among other third party bundles) and included footage in commercials. Nintendo wouldn't simply be advertising other companies' games. It would be advertising NX as a platform that has a wide selection of games. Nintendo marketed Wii U at Pottery Barn. POTTERY BARN. According to this rumor, EA is asking Nintendo to spend more money during televised sporting events. Why isn't Nintendo doing more that already? That's just common sense even if people use that time to go to the bathroom. A sizzle reel with third party games alongside Mario and Zelda during a sporting event millions of people watch sounds a lot more effective than demos at a furniture/home decor store.

Third party publishers complain that their games don't sell on Nintendo hardware. Unfortunately, the burden is on Nintendo to prove that's untrue. Nintendo can launch the best console with the best everything, but all third parties care about is whether they can make money on it.

Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 06:38:25 PM »
I work for a newspaper and I can tell you this much, no matter what I put on the front page there are people who are going to buy it week after week for the pics of their kids on the sports page. Sports sell, it is asinine that Nintendo doesn't already advertising during sporting events, as the article said its where the damn money is.

Nintendo had EA Support on Game Cube, AND N64 so just getting EA back is not even close to good enough. If things have gotten so bad that getting them back is seen as a victory then they have a lot more work cut out for them. Getting EA back is a start but they also need to focus on getting back franchises from companies that DO work with them too, like Castlevania from Konami, Street Fighter from Capcom, Assassin's Creed from Ubisoft, and Mortal Kombat from Warner. If they can't even get those basic games back in addition to EA it's not going to matter that much.
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Offline Adrock

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 07:01:05 PM »
they also need to focus on getting back franchises from companies that DO work with them too, like Castlevania from Konami...
Good luck with that.

Offline ShyGuy

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 08:47:41 PM »
It's time for EA to sell themselves off to Valve.

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Re: It’s Time For Nintendo And EA To Make A New Unprecedented Partnership
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2016, 03:30:08 PM »
Super Mario Golf crossover with Tiger Woods PGA Golf game

 I'm on board with this one. It's not like Tiger Woods could fall any further but his name still carries weight. How about put him in a Space Jam esque video game that has him team up with Mario and defeat Bowser's minions in a tournament of golf.

 Oh man the possibilities of this...!
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