Wednesday, May 09, 2007

EA to favour Nintendo in 2007 / 2008

Electronic Arts has clearly refocussed its resources on both Nintendo platforms, the company´s Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call (PDF document) revealed (also available as an audio webcast).

The first of the three collaborations between Electronic Arts and Hollywood director Steven Spielberg will be a Wii exclusive. And there are more titles to come. In fact, the first console mentioned in the earnings call by the new CEO John Riccitiello - by a long run - was the Wii. It was the only console mentioned in the highlights of the call.

We shipped four Wii titles in March – Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, SSX, Medal of Honor Vanguard and Godfather Blackhand Edition. While we still have a way to go – we now have six Wii titles at retail – in North America we were the number one third party publisher for the month of March and we estimate number two in Europe.

CFO Warren Jenson then detailed EA´s plans of launching at least as many titles for the Wii and DS each as they are for Xbox360 and PS3.

We expect to launch over 15 wholly owned titles – five of which are franchise debuts – Army of Two, SKATE, Playground, Boogie and a Wii Spielberg title. In addition – our blockbusters Need for Speed and Sims will be back. We continue to have enormous confidence in SPORE as a franchise – but have made the call not to include this title in our fiscal year financial plan. (...)

For fiscal 2008 – you can expect us to ship between 20 and 23 SKUs on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. On the Wii and on the NDS we expect to launch 10 to 13 SKUs for each platform including –

• Originals like – My Sims (both platforms), Playground (both platforms), Boogie (Wii), and a new title (Wii) that is being co-developed with Steven Spielberg.

• For the NDS – we expect to launch Sim City. And for the Japanese market – we plan to release a beverage series – Sommelier, Sake (Sakashou) and Bartender.

• In sports – Madden 08 (both platforms), FIFA 08 (both platforms), Tiger Woods PGA TOUR (Wii) and NBA Live (Wii) and

• In entertainment – Harry Potter (both platforms) and The Simpsons (both platforms).

In short – we are on it – and more to come.

In the open questions session in the audio webcast, Riccitiello answers to a Merrill Lynch analyst that he believes EA to now "be in a better position on Nintendo DS and Wii, which we initially underforecast by a bit."

The earnings call is clearly focussing on the Nintendo platforms, because EA development seems to show the same focus. At the very least, Wii will be as important a platform for EA as PS3 and Xbox360.

We should be picking up on two sentences regarding Wii and DS platforms in particular: "We are on it – and more to come" and "We still have a way to go". Clearly, in view of the phenomenal economic success of both of the Nintendo platforms, EA is concerned with catching up.

The most recent indicator of that success is Nintendo occupying the top sixteen spots of the current weekly Japanese software sales. Also, Nintendo sold seven times as many Wii units as PlayStation3 consoles were sold and almost six times as many DS Lite consoles as PSP units, according to the latest weekly Japanese hardware sales.

Source: EA Earnings Conference Call (PDF)
Thanks to: GoNintendo, TVG


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