Saturday, August 12, 2006

EA to prioritize DS over PSP while PS3 support remains stronger

Electronic Arts executive and former head of EA Europe David Gardner has announced the company will start to prioritize DS over PSP, citing overall hardware sales and pricing as the main issues. Gardner told UK trade magazine MCV in an interview:

I don’t think Sony can afford to sit back. (...) I think they still have things they can do with the price and performance of the machine – things that they need to address. (...)

There’s no doubt that EA has historically bet more on PSP. I think we were excited by the technology, but the consumers have proven that actually what they want is fun. We must never forget that what we need to focus on is fun and so EA is putting more effort behind DS games – and creative ones that really take advantage of the hardware.

According to MCV, the DS has only recently started to outsell the PSP (not specifying if they are talking about UK or worldwide sales). Ironically, the PSP only just broke a number of sales records in Japan. Hardware sales have been rising consistently over the past few weeks and have reached a weekly sales record this year (49,352 units sold, while the DS remains constant at 164,731 units sold). Also, for the very first time a UMD is at the top of the Japanese software charts, as Gamasutra reports. The game in question is the newest iteration of Gundam. Electronic Arts, however, have made up their mind, it seems.

On the home console front, the company´s support is more complex. EA seems to have more Wii titles in development than PS3 games. The seven confirmed Wii titles are:

* Medal of Honor: Airborne
* Madden NFL 07
* Need for Speed: Carbon
* The Godfather
* Tiger Woods PGA TOUR
* SSX - no further details
* Harry Potter - no further details

Also, Spore appears to be coming to Wii, which would push the count to eight.

It is unknown just how many PS3 titles are currently in development. There may be as few as five. But they are expected to be released earlier, as CVG reported.

EA has said it expects to have four to five games out for PS3 between the console's launch and the end of the year, confirming at this stage three of the titles: Need for Speed Carbon; Madden NFL 07; and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. (...)

The publisher went on to say, however, that it only expects to have a couple of titles out for Wii's launch period - Need for Speed Carbon and Madden NFL 07 - and a total of five released by the end of the company's fiscal year - March 2007.
So it seems that EA initially planned on supporting the PS3 much stronger than Wii and, due to the long development cycles, this is the status quo that will be mirrored by their launch line-ups. But the company has shifted more resources towards Wii, which should become evident on store shelves sometime late next year.

In their latest financial report EA CEO Larry Probst was quoted thus:
We are on schedule with strong support for the launch of PlayStation 3 and we have increased our development efforts for the Nintendo DS and Wii.

So while this is good news for Nintendo on the portable front, EA will be supporting the PS3 launch much more than the Wii´s. There will only be two Wii titles by the end of the year and a total of five by March. Compare this to the four to five PS3 titles EA expects to have out by the end of the year. Though resources are shifting towards Wii (by how much we do not know), this change will not materialize until late next year.

EDIT Here´s what EA must have been basing their decision on, perhaps having early access to those numbers: NPD´s July sales figures show a clear winner in the hardware arena.

* DS: 377,000
* PS2: 241,000
* 360: 206,000
* GBA: 163,000
* PSP: 161,000
* GCN: 44,000
* Xbox: 12,000

Gamespot analayzes:
A heavily hyped platform (...) took a dive. Game sales for the PlayStation Portable slid 40 percent during the month, thanks to a dearth of compelling titles. By stark contrast, DS game sales rose 354 percent during the same period, boosted by still-strong sales of Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and New Super Mario Bros.

But it wasn´t all bad news for Sony. The PS2 beating the Xbox360 by a clear margin must make a few SCEA exec´s faces light up.

Sources: MCV, Gamasutra, CVG, EA Germany press server, 1UP Wii, Gamespot
Thanks to: Consolewars (German)


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

looks like ea learned its lesson. and i think the ds really helped nintendo to get developers to make games for wii, because ds has proven that innovation can beat pure hardware power...


to the pic above: looks like french language on this banner. if so, this could mean that wii comes to europa november 27th. so no world wide launch if this turns out to be true... and a few days to late if you aks me...

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree, I don’t think EA learned any lesson nor did they have a lesson to learn. They are simply gearing towards a larger market share. The same as they did when they cut GameCube support and prioritized PS2 support. Remember the games industry is a business first and foremost. They don’t care about brand rivalries.

With that said it is great to see Nintendo opening up to many third party developers, this is something we would not have seen in the N64 days. A large portfolio of titles at launch will be key to a successful console.

Now if only we had an official launch date and price.

SUPRAMAN84 said...

Definitely a possibility.