While Nintendo launched the Wii U last fall, Electronic Arts believes that the next console generation "is yet to come," according to CEO John Riccitiello.
Earlier today, Nintendo announced weaker-than-expected Wii U sales of 3.06 million units worldwide, and revised its guidance downward — the company now expects it will sell 4 million Wii U consoles by the end of March, instead of the 5.5 million sales it predicted in October.
Asked in an investor call to comment about Nintendo and the Wii U launch, Riccitiello said, "You never count Nintendo out." He added, "When their marquee titles show up, that's when you usually see the bounce."
Riccitiello also said EA doesn't "see much correlation" between the Wii U's performance thus far and how the publisher expects the new console will do in 2013. "We see a pretty sharp distinction" between the past and the future for Wii U, Riccitiello continued, before saying that he could not give further details. It's possible that Riccitiello was hinting at an increased investment by EA on Wii U in 2013; the publisher is launching Need for Speed Most Wanted on the platform in March.
In addition, Riccitiello noted that while the Wii U is technically a next-generation console, its launch precedes the true arrival of the next generation — which won't happen until Microsoft and Sony launch their next consoles.
"Ours is an industry where a lot of devices come in and represent the next generation after that," said Riccitiello. "In many ways, we would argue that what we're describing as 'gen four' [the fourth generation of consoles with 3D graphics] is yet to come.
"That's what we're excited about, and that's what we're investing in."