How Greed and Origin Killed EA’s Relationship with Wii U (Rumor)

A rumor has been spreading online about EA and Nintendo trying to work out Wii U’s online component. Reportedly, Nintendo was in talks with several third parties to improve the Wii U’s online capabilities, including EA. But all hell broke loose when EA wanted all of Wii U’s online network, even Nintendo Network, to be run through their own Origin. Nintendo gave up on negotiations after such ridiculous demands. The deal EA wanted was that Nintendo’s online services and net code be run through Origin, which is infamous for being the most unstable online service out there. It runs just like Valve’s Steam, but less reliable.

Here’s a direct feed statement from our source Geno about this as he cites some trusted friends who work at EA:

While I marked this as a rumor, I put this up because I heard about this from trusted friends of mine who work at EA and thus I hope someone reposts this as news. I’m not going to list all five of their names so that way they can feed their kids so I ask of you do the same, if you repost this, please leave my name out of this. I just want this info out in the public to see if we can get the pure truth from EA even if it’s a “no comment”.


Ok, remember last year when the President of EA came onto Nintendo’s E3 Stage and announced their “very close partnership” with Nintendo like double rainbows just happen and we were going to get a ton of high quality games for Wii U?


What happened to that?


Well supposedly, eight months before E3 and many months after this is what it was like between EA and Nintendo. Nintendo noticed that many people commended EA’s online system and netcode they did for their Wii games (Madden, Medal of Honor, ect) so they asked them if they could work on contract to help build the core online ecosystem for their next gen console. EA provide a ton of consoling to Nintendo, such as how to make low-latency net code, username account systems, social networks and more. While other companies did provide input as well, EA made sure to provide the most input and support for the Wii U’s R&D.


As an reward, EA received development kits even before Ubisoft, Valve or Tecmo Koei. Many of EA’s studios were interested, especially Bioware who have been wanting to put their own games on a Nintendo system for ages and finally had the technical ability to do it with a Mass Effect Trilogy port and Dragon Age 3 on slate for the system.


Here comes the problem. At a meeting in Kyoto, a month or so after Peter Moore visited them, Nintendo of Japan showed EA their new Nintendo Network and Miiverse online system for Wii U. They wanted to congradulate them helping them with the support and paid them for their consoling.


This is where reportedly EA according to my friends who were at the meeting the core executives at EA got greedy. They then offered this deal to Nintendo where EA could go further with the online system adding smartphone/tablet functionality, communities, Facebook and Twitter interactions and more. Better netcode and something that would truly rival Xbox Live and PSN.


The catch? Nintendo would have to make the Nintendo Network for Wii U officially part of Origin and run Origin’s interface and netcode. Ergo, Nintendo Network would be and Origin exclusive network.


Nintendo actually did debate for a minute if they should accept EA’s deal, but they quickly decided (and put their foot down) that there was WAY more harm than good doing this. Even though Nintendo Network can link to Origin and it’s servers, having the core network running on Origin would provide quality control issues. For example, if EA wanted to sell some low end DLC for $50 each when realistically consumers would buy it only for $5, EA could do this without Nintendo having any say since it was their network and not Nintendo’s. Also, if a rival company let’s say Activision wanted to put Modern Warfare 4 on Wii U, EA could give Activison the WORST netcode and support resources while putting all their back into Battlefield 4, thus making a rival look worse than EA”s products.


These unfair business possibilities and consumer complains on Origin for PC made Nintendo reject EA’s offering for Origin and instead opted to keep the platform open to it’s own internal network and able to link/patch in other networks such as Steam and uPlay.


This, like the PSN VS Capcom incident that caused MH4 to jump ship, destroyed any momentum that Nintendo had with EA for Wii U. While EA still likes Wii U and will support it, from what I understand unless the launch titles or future titles sell way beyond expectations, EA will simply “throw Wii U bones” by putting some multiplat games without giving them any real budgets. This means we are going to get low quality in terms of budget and manpower ports of various EA games with no soul behind them and thus the original agreement of ME3, FIFA and Madden are gimped and the developers have only that small budget to work with.


Ironically, the good thing that came out of this is that other 3rd Parties praised Nintendo. This especially please Ubisoft, who was head over heals with the system to begin with and this move further solidified their partnership with the Big N. In a way, Nintendo lost EA and gained the entire good side of Ubisoft instead. This also gave props to Valve, who also loves the system and since they are hard at work for 5 games in the next three years next year they will show off games for Wii U, starting with a multiplat Left 4 Dead prequel announcement for Q1/Q2 2013.


That is what I was told. Please spread the word.

We are going to reach out for a statement from EA ourselves regarding this rumor.


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Alexander Maier

Alexander Maier

My name is Alexander and I am a News Editor, Opinion Writer, and Nintendo/Sony Analyst here at Dual Pixels. When I write news articles, I write the news and nothing more. When I write opinion pieces, I share my opinion and try to make you, the reader, think. I have an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, PC, and PlayStation Vita. My favourite genres are RTS, RPG, and Adventure.