EA forms Wii-centric studio

Monolithic publisher transforming PC Tiger Woods developer Headgate into internal shop focused on Nintendo's new console.

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In a recent interview with Newsweek, Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst talked about his company's increasing support for the Wii. Besides mentioning the Wii-specific Sims title, the executive also said that the publisher has "some things in the pipeline" that will be exclusive to the platform.

Today, EA threw more of its considerable weight behind Nintendo's new console. The company announced that it has bought Headgate Studios, the developer of the last six PC installments in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise and Madden NFL 07. Now the shop, redubbed EA Salt Lake, will "focus on development for the Nintendo Wii."

As is often the case when it buys independent developers, EA did not disclose the financial terms of the Headgate acquisition. As its new name implies, EA Salt Lake will remain in its Bountiful, Utah, locale, coordinating its efforts with EA's California development teams and the Madden makers at EA Tiburon in Florida. Headgate founder and CEO Vance Cook will continue to oversee EA Salt Lake as executive producer, reporting to Nick Earl, the general manager of EA Redwood Shores and Sims studio Maxis.

No specific titles were mentioned in the EA Salt Lake announcement. Given its resume, though, the shop is presumably working on the Wii edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, due out next March. The only EA Wii game currently on the market, Madden NFL 07 was developed by a Wii-dedicated division of EA Canada's Burnaby, British Columbia, studio. EA is also bringing Need for Speed Carbon, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, SSX, The Godfather, and the aforementioned Sims to the platform.

Discussion

156 comments
Jebril
Jebril

EA it isn't the console that's going to get you money it's your games......Tecmo makes money on any console it launches a game on, whether it be Ninja Gaiden Sigma for PS3, Dead or Alive 4 for 360, or Super Pangya Golf for Wii. It's all in the games......make good games and people will buy them.

Iggywade
Iggywade

This is what Nintendo has been lacking for too long. Even if your not a fan, EA has atleast 1 or 2 titles that appeal to everyone which is going to add to the longevity of the Wii!Revolution!!

jazilla
jazilla

nice to see a company that has the resources to dedicate to such an innovative and fun to play console like the wii. I hope to see good things out of this accquisition.

wikkedclown17
wikkedclown17

i think this is gonna start happening a lot more if you ask me. studios will want to have branched off divisions just for the wii

WiiendWarrior
WiiendWarrior

About time the Wii and Nintendo gets "top billing". For so many years it seemed like MS aqnd PS has gotten the brunt of attention...."Change is Here".

kornbeaner415
kornbeaner415

If this is the first of many, PS3 and 360 better watchout. Nintendo could very well be this gens comeback kid.

Superion74
Superion74

This is a great news. By forming that Wii-centric division, I hope that EA will be able to produce more games for Wii, including all its signature sports games. The key to Wii's long-term success will be third-party support, and more games is always better than less, even if not all of them are good.

MoldOnHold
MoldOnHold

meh I'm not that much of an EA fan anyway, perhaps need for speed and medal of honor, but that's it.

Jerian
Jerian

I agree with pikadeth. Makes you wonder what playing DefJam is like with the Wiimote...could be fun party game

pikadeth
pikadeth

I don't care much for EA, but having the world's largest 3rd party publisher giving your console exclusive games is a good thing.

CidStormwind
CidStormwind

There's nothing wrong with EA nowadays, they used to not care much about anything else than money, but they're getting better and better.

Mirren
Mirren

I can't really see how this'd be "bad". Games like those mentioned generally sell very well with the casual market, and more sports games could do a lot of good for the Wii. And, honestly, I have more faith in EA now after their impressive showing with Madden Wii. SSX should hopefully be a fine exclusive, as well. I just hope they don't make the same mistake Ubisoft did and push out all of these titles in a rush and all at once, because that'll probably just result in another plague of mediocre games.

metalclay128
metalclay128

zomg! tiger woods wii! this might be the first time i buy a golf game :O also waiting for a fight night!

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

I sure hope that the WII will live long and prosper :P for real though, I do wanna get one and hope that it kicks ass as I think it will

NextGenAdam
NextGenAdam

yey Third party support. The thing whose lack thereof killed 'cube.

bobreturns
bobreturns

guess this means they like it i mean the wii

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

Hopefully EA's Wii studio can produce quality games.

Janpieterzun
Janpieterzun

Your bioligical and technological distinctiveness shall be added to our own.

MrPuzzlez
MrPuzzlez

Also, a thought just occurred to me... Why didn't they do something like this for the DS? They coulda kept King Kong...

MrPuzzlez
MrPuzzlez

I can't wait to see Order of the Phoenix. THAT will be awesome!

StrikerGold
StrikerGold

As long as they develop a good SSX-style game, I'll be happy. I just hope their craptacular reputation and quality doesn't spill over into that studio

edd678
edd678

Oh great , ea =\ wonder what crap there going to make this time

LordBraz
LordBraz

the only ea game i play is burnout and although i do consider myself a nintendo fanboy, i'd rather see those crashes on a 360

Bill-Rizer
Bill-Rizer

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY ANY DAY!!! I have no problem waiting games, just make sure they are 90%+ bug free when I buy them and longer than 5 hours!

Merl57
Merl57

ssx is the only interesting sounding tile there. EA kills the compitition thus making games more sour.

Dualmask
Dualmask

And, MegaJynx "Before anyone considers this a good thing for Nintendo, let me ask you all one simple question: is it better to have more quantity of games, or to have more quality?" Obviously, quality is better than quantity but quantity doesn't hurt either. PS2 was hugely successful not because it had the best games but because it had the biggest library of games (and in turn had the biggest good/crap ratio). Keep in mind that many game buyers are folks who don't read reviews or websites about games; they're just folks who walk into the store and see things like "Scarface: The World is Yours" and think "Hey, a Scarface game! I gotta buy that!"

Dualmask
Dualmask

EA itself isn't a bad company, maybe a greedy one, but not bad as far as games development goes. EA Sports sucks; but not totally because I'm a big SSX fan. However, EA has churned out some really good games too, like the Sims series. The world's largest game publisher creating a studio solely for Wii game development has to be great news for Nintendo and Wii owners. It means that a big 3rd party developer is willing to put considerable resources behind Nintendo's new console. Hopefully more companies will follow suit.

dragonsama
dragonsama

Keep that EA crap off my Wii thank you!!

Chadius
Chadius

*Agrees with chrisdojo* At any rate, this means the Wii will have sports titles, which is a big seller among casual gamers. The Gamecube had no sports games, and suffered as a result.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

ok, now make some ORIGINAL games that are FUN.

jpcorb
jpcorb

I wish they had made the studio that made Madden 07 on the Wii the Wii-exclusive team. Madden 07 completely nails the controls on their first try and is the most fun I've had playing Madden in a while. It was definitely not a rushed port with Wii controls shoehorned in. I know it's the cool and fashionable thing these days to hate EA, but I can't bring myself to hate the company that publishes the TimeSplitters games and the brilliant stuff from Maxis. This is great news for the Wii!

creativeminded
creativeminded

I hope they plan to put extra effort into taking advantage of the controller instead of a quick buck. A tiger woods game which lets us actually swing would be fantastic

Cloud737
Cloud737

This means that they`ll allocate more resources towards the wii. That`s pretty good, seeing as the wii isn`t a happy-porting platform. You really need to make the game use the controller, or else the port was useless. Looking forward to seeing great games.

CLeRKSfan4life
CLeRKSfan4life

This is awesome! The EA ports on Gamecube were terrible for the most part but if they've set up a studio for Wii games only, we should be seeing a lot of great games. True, most of them will be sports games but Madden seemed to have worked well so it could work really well. I'm hoping for NHL on the Wii!!

coltACP
coltACP

I think overall this is a positive thing, EA is dedicating a studio to the Wii, but when you think-hang on? didn't they pretty much do that with every other console anyways? them beign a multiplatform Publisher they had development teams who 'Ported' code from other developers to specific machines-and lets be honest some of the ports were ok, and some(the gamecube) where below par for the system. While it's nice that they have a studio dedicated to coming up with Wii specific games i cannot help but think EA won't put alot of money in and gamers will end up with the same kind of sub par games that EA are apparently good for.

Septimus
Septimus

Yay, lots of sub-standard games specifically for the Wii.

Dolacide
Dolacide

3rd party support keeps looking better for the big N.

caybeirwouleyfe
caybeirwouleyfe

Come on EA give us Figth nigth, and FIFA ( a very good one that is ) on The Wii !!!

MarkVega
MarkVega

This is good. After all, if it's about computer and videogames, EA existed for a LOOOOONG time. You can say they suck and stuff, but they didn't stay this long in gaming by being morons. They're great in business, and it must say something when they are pushing lots of support for the Nintendo Wii, seeing a little goldmine. Yeah..seems to be a good era for publishers and devs. Now let's hope the gamers get something too!

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

It looks like the Wii may well follow the PS2 down success street.