EA “blown away” by Wii U, will provide launch games

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At E3 this year, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello joined Nintendo on stage and pledged support for the new motion and touch-based console. While it was nice that EA plans to support the Wii U, its enthusiasm may be greater than we thought. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, EA’s Frank Gibeau, manager of the EA Games label, showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the upcoming system, even pledging games for the console’s launch.

“We were really blown away by the unique innovation that Nintendo brings with the Wii U controller on a high performance machine,” said Gibeau. “The ability to do HD graphics and access game experiences in a completely novel way and a way that’s never been seen before, it really struck our fancy. We were excited by what Nintendo presented to us, we thought about it and it fits well with what we’re trying to do with our franchises like FIFA and Madden and Battlefield. There’s great horsepower there, great innovation and Nintendo’s got fantastic branding. We’re platform agnostic as a company so if we find something we believe will have success commercially and critically, and has a business model that works for us, we’re in.”

When asked about providing games at a consoles launch and the advantages of being a “first mover,” Gibeau confirmed that there will be EA games available at the Wii U launch: “With the Wii U it’s important for us to get there on day one so we can get in and build as big an audience as possible.”

Later in the interview, Gibeau explained more about EA’s new Origin games service, which will compete with Steam and have an exclusive on Star Wars: The Old Republic. He also commented on the ballooning budgets of console games, commenting that EA is now developing only a half-dozen or so big games each year and that the industry is moving more toward a model not unlike Hollywood’s theatrical blockbusters.

If you’d like to know more about the Wii U, check out our constantly evolving complete guide to the new system.

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