The chief executive officer of Electronic Arts, one of the world’s largest game publishers, said that he expects next-generation Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation to drive sales of video games up and be popular among end-users. At the same time, the boss of EA is not too enthusiastic about the just launched Nintendo Wii U as it is going to be considerably behind the rivals in terms of performance.
“As you might well expect, we know more about the roadmap, and more about what's coming in consumer electronics, in terms of the specifics of devices that will play games, than you might otherwise be exposed to. […] I would not say that we see much correlation between the results that Nintendo has just shown with their console debut of the Wii U, and what we see coming. We see a pretty sharp distinction, unfortunately, I am unable to go any further than that,” said John Riccitiello, chief executive officer of Electronic Arts, during a conference call with financial analysts this week.
Based on what we do know already about Nintendo Wii U as well as Microsoft Xbox Next and Sony PlayStation 4 “Orbis”, it is obvious that the Wii U is a way behind its rivals in terms of hardware performance. For example, Wii U features custom triple-core IBM Power 750 processor and a custom AMD Radeon HD graphics chip based on Evergreen architecture [first launched in 2009]; by contrast, both Xbox “Durango” and PlayStation 4 “Orbis” are reportedly based on processors with eight AMD Jaguar x86 cores as well as custom AMD Radeon HD graphics solutions based on GCN [graphics core next, first launched in 2013] architecture.
In fact, Mr. Richitello does not even consider Nintendo Wii U as a next-generation game console.
“Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent themselves as the next generation, or the next generation after that. In many ways we would argue that what we are describing as ‘gen 4’ is yet to come. It is that that we are excited about, and that is what we are investing in. [...] We have signaled that we're working on the next editions of our two biggest franchises, in Battlefield and FIFA,” explained Mr. Riccitiello.
Even though the head of Electronic Arts believes in Nintendo’s platform and shows a great deal of respect for the company, which has brilliant IP and franchises, it looks like he does not really believe in Wii U’s ability to actually be a strong platform for third-party games. By contrast, fiscal year 2014 (which begins on March 1, 2013) is expected to be primarily driven the powerful new-gen consoles, which will ignite the new era of gaming.
“We believe that fiscal 2014 the point of departure, the starting point for a new era of gaming and a growth period for the best game companies. We are confident that EA's brand, platform and talent will separate us from our competition and allow us to lead in this new era,” stressed the chief exec of EA.