EA Exec on Switch -- "Never Discount Nintendo"

"Nintendo has always been and will always be an important part of this industry."


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Speaking at a conference today, EA chief competition officer Peter Moore discussed the Nintendo Switch console and Titanfall 2. On the subject of Nintendo's next console, Moore reiterated that EA is bringing a "major" game to the console, though he didn't say which one. Like Take-Two, it sounds like EA is taking a "wait and see" approach to supporting Switch. At the same time, Moore said you shouldn't bet against Nintendo.

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"Nintendo has always been and will always be an important part of this industry," the former EA COO said during the Credit Suisse Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. "They have some of the best first-party development studios in the world and some of the most valuable intellectual property in the world."

"We're huge fans [of Nintendo]," he added. "We've had a relationship that goes many decades back. They've had some difficult times recently, obviously, but [you should] never ever, ever discount Nintendo in this marketplace, and their ability to leverage their superb game development opportunities [and] their intellectual properties."

Moore mentioned Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Pokemon by name when discussing some of Nintendo's standout brands.

"We're going to watch with interest," Moore said about EA's plans for Switch. "You can rest assured that EA, as with every major publisher, is in regular conversations with Nintendo."

Earlier this month, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said the Switch is an "interesting device," though he expressed some doubts about whether or not it can appeal to a wide audience.

EA supported the Wii U with four games, including Mass Effect 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Madden NFL 13, and FIFA 13. Less than a year after the console launched in 2012, EA confirmed that it had no further games in the works for the Wii U. The original Wii saw steady support from EA, as the publisher launched more than 65 titles for the platform. That console was of course a far bigger success than the Wii U, selling more than 101 million systems compared to 13 million for Wii U.

EA is one of the dozens of publishers announced as third-party partners for the Switch. Some of the other big-name companies partnering with Nintendo include Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Warner Bros., among others. See the full list here.

For its part, Capcom has said it's looking into porting some its PS4/Xbox One games to Switch. Speaking at the same conference as Moore today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said his company is "intrigued and excited" by Switch.

Nintendo's Switch console is slated to go on sale in March 2017. It was recently reported that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won't be launch title, though a new Mario could be. The Switch's price, specs, and launch lineup will be revealed during a video presentation slated for January 2017.

Also during the speaking event today, Moore responded to a question about Titanfall 2 sales and whether or not launching the game so close to Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare might have negatively impacted it. Echoing what Jorgensen said earlier, Moore said EA is not overly concerned with sales figures for launch because the company is taking a long-term approach to the game and the Titanfall franchise overall.

Moore said there is a "huge opportunity" for Titanfall 2 to continue to sell well, in part because of its high quality (see a roundup of reviews here), as well as developer Respawn's free DLC campaign.

"One thing we do incredibly well is take a great title like this and leverage it for many years to come. We're going to be selling Titanfall 2, on a global basis, for many, many years," he said.

"I don't worry about sell-through in a particular week," he added. "I think long-term across fiscal years. I think about what marketshare shifts do for us; and I think about being able to engage a customer and retain a customer."

Moore acknowledged that Titanfall 2 launched during a "crowded time," but said Titanfall 2 will still enjoy strong sales because "quality always shines through."

On the day that Titanfall 2 was released, a research firm put out an analysis that claimed Titanfall 2's sales would be "substantially disappointing" due to its release being sandwiched between Battlefield 1 and Infinite Warfare.

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