The big story making the rounds this morning is the rumored deal Nintendo was planning with Electronic Arts that would have directly incorporated Wii U’s Nintendo Network services with EA’s Origin. Supposedly, when Nintendo decided against the move, the “groundbreaking” partnership they were planning with EA was shattered. While the juicy details of the supposed collaboration that went sour can all be found in the original Reddit thread that spawned the rumor, it’s important to note a few key things about the story that give it some credence.
First off, this would explain why EA, despite still committing to bringing their key franchises to Wii U in the future, has opted to leave the new “Infinity Physics” engine out of the upcoming release of Madden NFL ’13 on Wii U and why the Mass Effect 3 port to Wii U is being handled by forces outside of Bioware.
This would also explain why more and more third parties are now supporting Wii U. As we saw at E3 this year, Ubisoft (who I’m sure was thrilled that the Origin deal fell through due to their UPlay service) is providing Wii U with strong multi-plat releases like Assassin’s Creed 3, which have Wii U GamePad specific features, and triple-A exclusives like Rayman Legends and ZombiU. It’s now all but certain that Irrational Games is bringing Bioshock Infinite to Wii U too. Activision Blizzard is even looking into bringing Starcraft to Wii U. And, last but not least, the original Reddit post on the Nintendo/EA deal mentions upcoming support from Valve starting with a multi-plat Left 4 Dead prequel in Q1/Q2 2013.
Personally, if all of this turns out to be true, I think Nintendo made the right decision in opting out of a full partnership with Origin but only time will tell if the broken partnership has truly soured relations between EA and the big N for good.