EA Regrets Not Supporting Wii Earlier

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Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello took questions at the company’s annual meeting of stockholders yesterday. He admitted that “we bet a little bit on the wrong horse in focusing so much on the PS3 and Xbox 360.” Despite not being with the company last year, he says that EA got it wrong, “and we’re dealing with that now with strong investments on the Wii.”

“One of the biggest challenges, of course, was that not a lot of people anticipated the success of Nintendo that they’ve shown with their wand controller and their Wii,” he said. “That got ahead of us a little more than our expectations.” With the investment of a studio dedicated to Wii development in Salt Lake City, the company hopes to turn things around just as news broke that Activision was the #1 third party publisher for the first half of 2007.

As for what keeps EA up at night, “I think about companies like Ubisoft, that made a quicker and more forceful move against the Wii and Nintendo DS,” Riccitiello said. “When you’ve got a competitor like Take-Two on the sports side and they launch a football title using some of the industry legends, you want to make sure that ends up being a blip and is not repeatable, because we like to defend our franchises aggressively. With Activision you worry about Guitar Hero against Rock Band, or Call of Duty against Medal of Honor.”