It’s a new year with the titles of new games slated for each platform already starting to make the rounds. No surprise that there is nothing but silence from EA in regards to releasing Madden on the Switch. When asked about porting EA titles to switch in August of 2019 their CEO Andrew Wilson had this to say:
“We have a lot of data that would suggest a great many Switch owners also on a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One or a PC and very often choose to play the games that we make on those platforms even though they have a Switch and they enjoy a lot of great content on the Switch.”
Heres a link to the entire transcript. They were primarily talking about The Sims. However it seems to be their universal approach when it comes to The Big N. To me their arguments don’t make sense and heres why:
I would argue there is more of a concern that Switch owners would take away from other platforms as the portability is luring costumers in waves. In fact over the holidays the Nintendo Switch was still selling in droves. During Thanksgiving week alone they sold over 830,000 units. That brings their tally to over 17.5 million consoles in the US and 41.67 million globally. This puts them just behind Xbox One’s 50 million units.
To put these figures in perspective Xbox One was released 4 years earlier than the Switch. Nintendo’s Hybrid console even beats the Playstation 4 at this point in its history. Nintendo was at one time seen as the industry dinosaur. Slow to adapt. Yet in recent years they have shown the opposite. Offering cross console play with XBONE for Minecraft even utilizing a limited form of Xbox Live. Nintendo is finally learning from its competitors and it has paid off in console sales.
Power vs Portability
The age old argument has been that players prefer power over portability. Those same voices argue portability is ruled by smart phones and cheap shovel-ware games. They argued that Nintendo needed to give up the portable gaming, some going as far to say the console industry all together. Instead Nintendo turned the gaming world on its head and has come surging back into the market. Video game players are increasingly on the move, and their thirst for games is not being satiated by quick phone play sessions. In particular being able to play games that tug the heart strings of nostalgia has been a huge boost for the Big N. Games like Final Fantasy 10 and Resident Evil are among some of the stand outs. Fans love the idea of playing iconic games on the go. Now is the time to strike. Where are you at EA?
Low Effort Low Results
EA’s answer seems to be low effort ports. To be fair any game ported to the switch will feature downgrades. The system isn’t designed to be as powerful so to expect mirror copies of a game is unreasonable. However with games like Skyrim, Doom, and Divinity: Original Sin 2 we see what a good port can be. EA consistently has done minimal effort to provide content quality to Nintendo. If you look at the FIFA 2020 Legacy Edition for the Switch it is essentially FIFA 2019 with a roster update and contains none of the major updated modes featured on the PS4 or XBONE version. The argument is hardware limitations, however if games like Witcher 3 or Wolfenstein 2 can be brought to the system and be respectable I’m sure we would find the same is possible with EA titles.
EA blames low revenue in Switch sales on lack of interest however todays buyers are intelligent. They know substandard products when they see it. Their business model has been routinely cited as greedy, they even won a pair of “Worst Company” awards and was even listed as one of “America’s Most Hated Companies” in 2017. Though I would like to solely blame EA we all know Nintendo can be very up and down. Until recently they didn’t play well with others, and let’s be honest they haven’t had a real console since the Game Cube.
Even though the balance of video game power has shifted towards Nintendo in recent years, EA is not convinced. I believe they will wait out Nintendo particularly with the PS5 and the Xbox Series X just on the horizon. Their possible assumption being that the Switch will lose its momentum once the newer consoles arrive. EA is a business and until Nintendo shows it can consistently hold market share they will keep the Switch at arms length. However what they are failing to capture is the shift in player interests. The younger generation is always on the move and rarely find themselves parked in front of a tv set. The Switch has capitalized on this and served notice to the video game industry in doing so. Perhaps when EA sees that the Switch sales haven’t slowed despite the new console releases they will change their strategy.
What do you Think?
So tell me what you think. Does EA not porting Madden make business sense? Do you think the Switch’s momentum will ever convince them otherwise? Let me know in the comments down below or message me directly on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook