Games by EA versus Nintendo

After trading a quick “Tweet” with Dan Frommer last night I realized folks may not know this: Electronic Arts, one of the largest video game developers, has not only created dozens of original game titles for iOS but also ported “old” brands over to the Apple platform.

Plenty of games from before the App Store days have been re-created for the iPhone and iPad including The Sims, Mortal Kombat, and SimCity. Plus, EA has worked with other title owners to develop traditional board games like Risk, Connect 4, Monopoly, Battleship and more.

This all in stark contrast to Nintendo who has (regrettably) held tight onto their blockbuster game franchises (Mario, Zelda) and maintained (so far) that they will only live on the Nintendo platform. While this is understandably one of the decisions you get to make as both a platform and content producer (I would never expect to see Apple create a GarageBand app for Android) I think the mediocre performance of the Wii U and the immense profitability of iOS games shows Nintendo could be more successful by licensing their titles and creating more compelling games. They could easily become the Pixar of games.

That is, to say, they will never release hardware as innovative, performant or compelling as their competitors (which I’d argue has been the case since the original Wii). The problem, as described by John Siracusa, is that the technology companies like Apple and Microsoft “continue to embarrass the far weaker offerings from Sony and Nintendo”. The App Store launched in 2008 (almost three and a half years ago) and I’m afraid it’s too late for Nintendo to play catch-up.