It’s rare to see video game giant Electronic Arts playing it safe.
Yesterday, the publisher held its annual holiday showcase in New York City, inviting press from various outlets to catch a peak of its upcoming titles, a list that includes NHL 12, Burnout Crash and Battlefield 3.
That said, the company devoted a large portion of the room to mobile, where representatives from both EA and Chillingo showcased a promising list of games, including Need for Speed SHIFT 2: Unleashed, Madden NFL 12, Rope Rescue and Dream Track Nation.
In fact, there were 10 mobile games on display.
3DS? One. The impressive FIFA Soccer 2012.
PlayStation Vita? None, though that’s no surprise, since Sony has yet to reveal the system’s launch date and lineup.
Regardless, it appears the publisher has reservations about throwing considerable amounts of cash and man hours towards portable systems, even ones that boast glasses free 3D and rear touch pads.
EA’s 3DS lineup, for example, has thus far included ports of proven franchises like The Sims and Madden, with Need for Speed: The Run set for a fall release.
PlayStation Vita support, meanwhile, remains shrouded in mystery. This is in stark contrast to the 2005 PSP launch, where EA released (on day one and within the launch window) FIFA 2005, MVP Baseball, NBA Street Showdown, Need for Speed Rivals, NFL Street 2 Unleashed and Tiger Woods PGA Tour.
For all we know, the company has one or several Vita titles in development that’ll appear sometime this fall, most likely at another press event, but we don’t expect the same level of support seen in 05.
At the same time, the publisher has been anything but stingy in regards to mobile, acquiring Chillingo, Firemint and most recently, PopCap Games, all of which develop games for mobile and/or social platforms.
The message is clear. Expect big things on smart phones and Facebook moving forward, and less risk taking on the unproven handhelds.
Whether or not this will cripple 3DS and Vita down the road, of course, remains to be seen.