Nintendo, the destroyer of worlds (and EA)

EA divides into 4I’m not about to say Nintendo single-handedly bested the largest video game software company in the world and knocked it on its ass with a waggle wand and the gas-sipping Honda Civic of game consoles — but they played a HUGE part in today’s restructuring news.

Electronic Arts Inc. said it will reorganize the world’s biggest video game publisher into four units, in an efficiency drive by its new chief executive. Under the plan by CEO John Riccitiello, announced on Friday. EA will consist of units that focus on sports, casual games, its “Sims” virtual dollhouse franchise, and other games.

EA was a lumbering behemoth well before Nintendo dropped the DS into gamers’ laps, and to say that the portable or the Wii are the reason for this major move today would be as irresponsible as a company executive claiming people would work second jobs just to afford their system.

All I’m going to say is that EA was on the cliff edge up until 2005 or so, and Nintendo helped them jump off. And by ‘helped’ I mean, “took a vicious you’ve-gone-PRO Wii Tennis forehand and applied it to EA’s backside, thereby knocking them off the precipice and into the dark abyss.”

I would have loved for the Reuters reporter to have asked EA how much of an impact Nintendo specifically had on their business strategy. Sure, they would have responded with some canned PR response about how each console has its pluses, but at least it would have gotten the dialogue started.

Regardless, the landscape for gaming is changing. This news is irrefutable proof of that. Where it’s going I don’t think anyone really knows, especially EA, but at least it’s finally going somewhere new.

All the old charts and diagrams and manuals don’t really apply anymore. Some people think that’s scary, so they attack it and systems that represent change. Others close their eyes and let things progress where they may and just have fun with it. A final group takes the middle road and develops a new strategy that straddles both. It’s good to see that EA, the biggest and most influential of the bunch, has seemingly middled their options. Hopefully these lean, mean divisions can start pumping out some mean fare for Nintendo systems.