The Wii: Great For Nintendo, Not For Game Publishers (ERTS)

The Wii is the bestselling video game machine of the last year, so the companies that sell video game titles must love the Wii, right?

Not so much. Electronic Arts (ERTS), which released its earnings yesterday, breaks down how much of its Q4 revenue came from games for each of the major consoles:

Playstation 3 (SNE): 15%
Xbox 360 (MSFT): 14%
Wii: 7%
PlayStation 2: 5%

Those numbers aren’t aberrations, either: With one exception, the Wii has been the least lucrative next-gen console for EA since its debut.

It’s also not a surprise. Part of it is by design: Nintendo publishes almost all of the best-selling Wii games (Wii Play, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Wii Fit, Super Mario Galaxy, MarioKart Wii) itself — its one of the things that distinguishes it from rivals Microsoft and Sony. Part of it is that third-party publishers like EA were caught off guard by the Wii’s success a couple of years ago, and are still scrambling to create titles for the platform. And part of it is that many blockbuster games, like Halo 3 or GTA IV, don’t have Wii versions, for varying reasons.

But EA isn’t giving up on the WII: Earlier this month it released BoomBlox, which was designed with the help of Steven Spielberg. But we have a feeling it won’t be Spielberg’s most popular release this summer.

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