While the Nintendo Switch has been in such high demand since its March 3 launch that retailers haven’t been able to keep it in stock, the console’s biggest has remained the same one that’s plagued Nintendo for decades. The Switch is building up a library of excellent first-party Nintendo games, but it’s lacking in third-party software.
For instance, Electronic Arts, the world’s second-largest third-party games publisher, has given Nintendo’s home/portable hybrid console little in the way of support, with FIFA 2018 being the only announced EA game heading to Switch. But it sounds like EA has taken notice of the Switch’s success and is now considering bringing additional titles to the platform.
“We feel really good about it,” EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in response to an analyst’s question about the company’s Switch support on a recent earnings call. Wilson then added that FIFA is EA’s biggest title, which may be true, but it’s also true that as the biggest EA franchise, FIFA tends to get released on virtually every platform under the sun. Still, the CEO indicated more Switch games could be forthcoming from EA.
“We have a tremendous relationship with Nintendo and have done for many, many years and are excited by the fact that they have come out very strong and are bringing in a whole new player base into the ecosystem. We continue to be bullish on it and are looking at other titles that we might bring to the Switch.”
This would be a marked difference from EA’s Switch support to date. Back in November, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen stated that the company only planned to bring “a game or two” to the Switch. That game, which he said would be one of EA’s biggest, turned out to be FIFA 2018. And although many gamers were hoping for a Switch port of sci-fi RPG Mass Effect: Andromeda, EA has not announced one. And developer BioWare admitted in October 2016 that no plans to bring Andromeda to the Switch existed.
EA’s cautious approach to the Switch out of the gate is likely a result of the company being burned after giving Nintendo’s last console strong support from day one. Hoping for another success like the 100 million unit-selling Wii, EA brought four games to the Wii U in its first year only to pull back on support when the console was dead on arrival.
But with Nintendo having already sold almost three million Switch units as of last month and forecasting sales of 10 million more during this fiscal year — which would eclipse the Wii U’s entire lifetime sales — EA seems to be coming around on the Switch. Now the only question is, when will this new attitude produce actual game announcements? E3 2017 is just over a month away, and the number of new Switch games EA does or does not announce then will be a good indicator of just how much more “bullish” the company has become on Nintendo’s console.