Source: Mostly unknown gaming blog Wii U News.
What we heard: When Nintendo formally unveiled the Wii U at its Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing this year, EA boss John Riccitiello appeared to extol the potential of the new console. Now, a new rumor suggests that collaboration between Nintendo and EA on the Wii U runs deeper than the typical symbiotic software relationship.
Gaming blog Wii U News reported over the weekend that Nintendo is in negotiations with EA to bring its digital distribution platform Origin to the console. Wii U News, which was founded in September 2010, attributed its information to an intern working at EA, who had reportedly been told of the deal by a network engineer.
According to Wii U News' source, Nintendo would be interested in partnering with EA for its online service because it feels "that only a massive western company such as EA understands what is needed to make an online service attractive to Western gamers."
The source also indicated that Nintendo aims to integrate a more "flexible" online platform into the Wii U. This desire, the source indicates, stems from a survey Nintendo conducted in which many publishers said that while they appreciated Microsoft's Xbox Live platform, they felt confined by its restrictions and guidelines.
Further, it appears as if EA's Origin platform isn't the only one that Nintendo is considering for the Wii U. Nintendo is also apparently in discussion with Valve to bring Steam to the new console, but EA is "aggressively persuading" the company to use Origin exclusively. Notably, Valve cofounder Gabe Newell said in late June that the Wii U "fits better" with its technology.
Launched in June, Origin is a replacement for the EA Store, and it serves as a hub and infrastructure for downloading and playing PC games, as well as ordering boxed products for other platforms. More than 6 million gamers have signed up for the platform, and EA has just begun to offer games from other third-party publishers, such as Warner Bros., THQ, and Capcom.
The official story: EA declined to comment on the rumor. Nintendo had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: One of the most requested features for Nintendo's new console is an online service that exceeds that of the Wii and the 3DS. And with both Microsoft and Sony finding significant success with their superior online platforms, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will make the mistake of not providing an adequate online platform for its latest console. From that perspective, this looks not bogus.
That said, the source of this information is about as unreliable as it comes and should be taken as such. Further, as the report notes, even if this deal is being considered, it is anything but signed, sealed, and delivered.