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ESPN And Electronic Arts Sign 15-Year Deal 332

acxr is wasted writes "Electronic Arts has dealt another blow to rival Sega by signing a 15-year agreement with ESPN, giving the publisher exclusive video game rights to ESPN branded material. EA has recently faced pressure from popular ESPN-branded Sega titles released at discount prices, prompting their recent deal with the NFL, and failed bid for the NBA."
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ESPN And Electronic Arts Sign 15-Year Deal

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  • 15 years?!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This sort of thing shouldn't be legal.
    • A 15-year contract should be illegal? Shame that would outlaw most mortgages.
      • Hate to use the stupid "apples to oranges" cliche but flawed analogy. Plus you can always re-finance your loan through someone else for a better deal!!! /anyway (but yeah, it shouldn't be illegal, but the whole exclusive licensing of something that if you think about it, should REALLY be public domain for that kind of thing)

        I mean you shouldn't be able to use their "logo" and say it's official but you should be able to include the names and stats of the NFL teams and whatnot.
        • but you should be able to include the names and stats of the NFL teams and whatnot.

          The names of the NFL teams are valuable registered trademarks. Part of the revenue stream for an NFL franchise is the right to sell merchandise with the name of the team on it (i.e. hats, jerseys, video games, etc.).

          • Re:15 years?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

            by MBraynard ( 653724 )
            Don't bother explaining. Typical slashdot user - I suppose it's easy to dismiss claims of trademarks and IP when you produce nothing.

            Hell yeah - straight to -1 flame bait for me baby!

          • Re:15 years?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by swv3752 ( 187722 )
            And these teams have strong armed local, state and federal goverment into funding thier stadiums and enforcing thier trademarks. There is definately an argument that the public should get something back.

            • Re:15 years?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:47PM (#11391204) Journal
              No, the public should tell the NFL where to go. If people are stupid enoug to vote for tax subsidies for billionaires, then they are stupid enough to vote for tax breaks for billionaires without any compensation for themselves.
              • OMG this is fucking crazy. Is like Microsoft finally losing to linux. And then Bill Gates paid Linus himself 6 billion dollars to rename Windows to Linux.

                So is EA Madden football now ESPN 2k6? WTF is going on. I say again, WTF is going on with the gaming industry. Someone start another petition! Please, this is monopoly to the extreme getting way out of hand.

          • Re:15 years?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jrockway ( 229604 ) *
            And this is the problem with America's legal system. EA bought the rights to the players' names. What? You can buy and sell NAMES now? Is the phone book committing trademark infringement by daring to list NFL players?

            Rights to the stadiums? Can I take a picture of a football field and make money, or is that illegal now? No more pictures of skylines... we will have to blur out all non-public property. (Like they do on TV. Every time I watch TV now I feel like I need new glasses because everything re
            • What? You can buy and sell NAMES now?

              Of course you can. Somebody can buy the rights to make "Sid Meier's Civilization". Somebody can buy the rights to manufacture "Nike Air Jordans". Somebody can buy the rights to "NFL Football '06 Featuring Brett Favre".

              Anyway, this is illegal on the part of the NFL.

              Perhaps you could state your basis for this assertion.
      • Re:15 years?!? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tuxter ( 809927 )
        And Marriages.... Actually, maybe he's right.....
    • Re:15 years?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 )
      heheh.. well. the REAL problem here is that will the contract be in effect if ea goes bankrupt or into a hiatus?

      besides.. it doesn't really affect the games quality if it's branded something or not.

      15 year deal is just STUUUUUUPID for espn.
      • Re:15 years?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the-banker ( 169258 )
        Actually that situation is easy to resolve. If EA ever went bankrupt, their rights to use ESPN, NFL etc... would be sold once approved by the bankruptcy court. Rights contracts are an asset just like computers and inventory in this way.

        Honestly, I don't see the issue here - someone can't make a product that says it officially endorsed by me without my permission. If I choose to only give that to one entity, then that is my decision.

        If people don't like it, they should buy other games. It doesn't preve
    • I guess EA really is planning ahead.
      ESPN locked up until the year 2020 ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seems like a match made in heaven to me. Nothing like some good ol' fashioned monopolising.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:49PM (#11390766)
    Release a smallpox infected Madden 2006 and call it manifest destiny?
  • Ehh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damicatz ( 711271 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:50PM (#11390773)
    Sounds like they are using Microsoft-esque tatics now. How long will it be before the DOJ gets on their case? Oh well, this doesn't change my stance on EA. They haven't produced a decent game in over 5 years.
    • Re:Ehh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:09PM (#11390921)
      Oh well, this doesn't change my stance on EA. They haven't produced a decent game in over 5 years.

      If you mean published a decent game, you're wrong. In fact, I'm playing Burnout 3 right now, and loving it.

      If you mean developed a decent game.. well that's another story.
    • How long will it be before the DOJ gets on their case?

      Based upon how the MS thing went, could be 2009 before that happens. Of course it depends on who puts up enough cash for the elections in 2008.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DrKyle ( 818035 )
    Okay, I'm not a sports fan, but why can't they just make games that don't have actual player names or teams and just make a "fantasy league" and bypass any need for licencing? Is it really that much better of a game when it has the ESPN name on it?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by demosthenes247 ( 805399 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:54PM (#11390805)
      sports fans usually have favorite players and teams, and love the fact that they are able to play as their own specific team/player. the espn games aren't simply branded as ESPN. they have the look and feel of ESPN telecasts as well as ESPN announcers and commentators. this just adds to the overall experience of the game which is supposed to be a recreation of the NBA or NHL or whatever. the fantasy league game would be utterly boring.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by odano ( 735445 )
      The only response to this I have is: It just isn't the same. If I am playing an NFL game, I want the actual players are teams.

      I understand it really seems stupid, but it makes the game more fun if you know the players and the teams, and who to give the ball to; to run the actual plays the team runs. It adds an extra level of excitement to playing the game.

      I did like Sega branded ESPN Sports games, but I must admit, I doubt I am going to buy a football game that doesn't use the NFL player names and team
      • Gutless (Score:5, Informative)

        by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @01:18AM (#11392411)
        There is nothing wrong with a fantasy league other then that people want to use the real thing. Now people are terrified that EA has a monopoly on that name that everyone wants so badly. To this I say, who gives a fuck? Get a grip. This isn't an OS by stretch of the imagination where at least crying monopoly makes sense. This is a sport. A piece of recreation. EA and ESPN hold absolutely no monopoly over the things I can do to recreate. Don't like the way NFL or ESPN is doing business, DON'T WATCH. People have the power to make every stupid corporation under the sun vanish over night, they just are too lazy to do it.

        A good friend of mine is a sociologist. She will preach endlessly about how evil Wal-Mart and globalization is - then go to Wal-Mart to buy stuff instead of a mom and pop shop because they offer the largest selection at the lowest price. For fuck's sake. You don't need government action to take these companies down, just a week or two of not giving them your money.

        ESPN, the NFL, and EA are perfect examples of this. So ESPN enters into an agreement with EA that any right thinking person should immediately recognize as stifling innovation in sports games. The real question is not when EA is going to get nailed for being a monopoly, but when are YOU going to stop giving ESPN and EA your money. This is football for fuck's sake. Grow a pair of balls, suck it up, and don't watch the shit if you think their practices stink. This is a luxury we are talking about it. It is something that doesn't require loss of life or limb to boycott.

        People are whiny and obnoxious these days. I bet easily 95% of the people here that complain about this move on Slashdot are going to bitch up a three page essay on why EA is evil, then fork over a couple of twenties for their NFL 2005. Bah. The whiney masses are so gutless and spineless they deserve to have corporations like EA and ESPN walk all over them.
        • Re:Gutless (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Rhone ( 220519 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @08:14AM (#11393839) Homepage
          I've been boycotting CDs (no, I don't use Kazaa either) because of the ridiculous prices for many years now, and the prices haven't gone down. Actually, CDs are MORE expensive now than before I started boycotting.

          I avoided paying to see movies in the theatres for years too, but that doesn't seem to have changed anything either.

          Likewise, I can boycott Madden football games, ESPN, and the NFL. I completely agree with you that we have the choice to do this.

          However, any support I could conceivably get for my boycott would just be a drop in the bucket, so let's be honest about the result: Me, or any other Slashdotter (most Slashdotters hate sports games anyway, so this is kinda moot) boycotting EA, the NFL, and ESPN doesn't mean that those companies are going to change their policies. It just means that I'll never be watching football or playing football video games again.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:21PM (#11391006) Homepage
      You're talking about the kids who buy Abercrombie & Fitch when you can get better quality from K-Mart and buy Starbucks when you could get it for $5.50 less from the gas station. The same kids who will listen to the latest shit put out by $RIAA_CASH_COW but scoff at anything independent, no matter how much better it is.

      Of course it matters what name is on the front.

  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:51PM (#11390778) Homepage Journal
    These sports games are getting really stale anyway. These deals actually free Sega up to do something creative with the genre, ala Mutant League Football/Hockey.

    RPGs are the most important thing on any console anyway.

    • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:06PM (#11390904) Journal
      RPGs are the most important thing on any console anyway.

      Hm... a hockey game where you can use Rocket Propelled Grenades... I think you've got a great idea there!
    • Really matters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:12PM (#11390944) Homepage
      These sports games are getting really stale anyway. These deals actually free Sega up to do something creative with the genre...

      It matters. The reason why EA did this is because last year ESPN came out with a pretty damned good football game and priced it at $19.99. EA priced theirs at $49.99, figuring that their brand recognition would allow them to charge double. They were wrong. EA had to drop their price, and evidently didn't like it because they got pissed enough to shell out for an exclusive license.

      Result is they have a monopoly on NFL-licensed games for a long time. For sports fans - clearly not you, but there is some gamer/sports overlap - this sucks because we only have one choice, and it's guaranteed to be overpriced.

      More than likely, no other significant NFL games will be made. Even creative games like NFL blitz etc typically need licenses to survive.

      RPGs are the most important thing on any console anyway.

      You are kidding right? Console sales of RPGs are almost negligible.

      • You are kidding right? Console sales of RPGs are almost negligible.

        For values of "consoles" limited to "In the US" and RPGs approaching "Not Final Fantasy" you're right.

        Japan is a different story. There's a reason that Dragon Quest games can only be released on weekends over there.
    • As a sports fan myself, I can attest to the once-great sports genre that has become terribly stale. Why is it that folks complain about 3D First-Person Shooters being generic, but don't bat an eye when it comes to Yet Another Generic Football video game?

      Other than updated players and some minor improvements in the engine from year to year, are there any justifications for spending another $50?

      I still enjoy Sega Genesis Tecmo Bowl and the early NCAA games for the PS2.
    • Back when I was a good ol' Nintendo player... I never really liked sports games. They were all the had over twenty baseball games alone to choose from for the NES, they all got stale rather quickly...let's see here, there was "Baseball", "RBI Baseball", "RBI Baseball II", "Bases Loaded", "Bases Loaded II", "Bases Loaded III", "Bases Loaded IV"...

      Then I found a friend who rented Baseball Simulator 1000. Baseball was unreal to the point where it was fun. Bunt on a "tornado pitch" that goes ove
  • Idiot (Score:3, Funny)

    by kaedemichi255 ( 834073 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:51PM (#11390782)

    "We don't anticipating changing anything significantly from what we are currently doing," Larry Probst, chairman and chief executive of EA, said in an interview.

    Not only is EA's CEO an evil monopolist, he's not very good at grammar either...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:52PM (#11390785)
    I personally feel that this will only help consumers and the industry. Now we won't have to worry about which title will be the better, because there will only be one. Also, the programmers at EA won't have to work extra long hours any more, because they won't have to make any changes to the games other than adding new seasonal data. Everyone's a winner!
  • by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:52PM (#11390792)
    On one hand the evil alliance is getting more powerful by the day. On the other hand, ESPN pretty much only covers boring invented-for-tv/radio sports. I guess since I don't play sports games or EA games this doesn't really bother me, although the day they try to buy out the Nethack [] dev team I'll be outside corporate headquarters with my torch and pitchfork.
    • Re:Mixed Feelings (Score:4, Insightful)

      by phriedom ( 561200 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:19PM (#11390990)
      I agree. By itself this isn't a big deal. The ESPN name adds a little bit of credibility, and the ESPN announcer voices add a bit of professionalism to the image, but there is no real substance lost. However, the NFL's decision to sell exclusive rights is a much bigger deal, and when you combine that with ESPN's decision, its a pretty nasty one-two punch to Sega.

      It might be the right decision for ESPN, but I really think it was a bad move by the NFL. Yes, it is money in the bank now for the NFL, but I think in the long term it works against them. A vibrant, competitive video game market for NFL licensed games is a HUGE promotion/marketing tool for the NFL. People playing the games get a lot more involved in the players and teams that people who just watch it on TV sometimes. I'll admit I never watched any football until I played Madden on the playstation and learned about the teams and the players and how the play calling influenced the game. I think that video games and fantasy leagues provide the kind of interaction that makes watching football exciting in a way that NO amount of regular advertising and promotion can do at any price. Plus, video games reach teens when they are impressionable and can make them NFL fans for life. Putting all their eggs in the EA basket might be a decision they come to regret.

      I guess some of that applies to ESPN too. By taking the deal from EA they are cutting them selves off from Sega and other companies that might be willing to pay for the priviledge of promoting ESPN.
      • I guess some of that applies to ESPN too. By taking the deal from EA they are cutting them selves off from Sega and other companies that might be willing to pay for the priviledge of promoting ESPN.

        Hiow do you know that the amount that "Sega and other companies" would be willing to pay is larger than that of what EA *has* offered to pay?

        1) Do you know how much EA paid? No.
        2) Do you have financial models taking into account a number of factors to try to predict what the most beneficial outcome is for ESP
    • On one hand the evil alliance is getting more powerful by the day

      EA is "evil" how?
  • by BitwiseX ( 300405 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#11390795)
    If you look ahead 15 years, this deal is going to expire. This deal is going to last 5475 days, and we all know that is a long time. This could be a very good deal for EA, but if it turns out to be a bad move, then it's not going to be good for EA.
    • I was for this deal before I was against it /sorry
    • This deal is going to last 5475 days

      Hello? Have you ever heard of leap years?

      Some geek you are.
  • by yuriismaster ( 776296 ) <> on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:57PM (#11390829) Homepage
    FTA: "'We don't anticipating changing anything significantly from what we are currently doing'... they will potentially include ESPN data, graphics and sportscasters" [Emphasis mine]

    Now cmon, if you plan to contract one of the largest names in sports news, then at least integrate it into the game. The only reason EA is buying the ESPN license apparently to use "ESPN properties as potential video games, including the "X Games" extreme athletics competitions, poker and even bass fishing."

    Wow, cause I want to spend 50 dollars on ESPN World Poker Tour $year.
    • You might not, but poker is the latest fad - they might get a year or two of good sales out of making an officially licensed game.
    • I think it's time for sega to seriously consider luring Madden away from EA with gobbs of cash. Who wouldn't want to play Madden Football 2k6?

    • by Warskull ( 846730 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:25PM (#11391039)
      I don't think EA actually bought the ESPN license for the "X Games" this time. I think the real reason they bough the ESPN license is because they haven't secured exclusive deals the the NBA and NHL. So if you can't prevent your competition from making games, steal their license and name. Sega was releasing ESPN hockey, football, and basketball games that were easily 3 times better than EA game for half the price (at release.) EA knows their business model can't come up with a game to match their quality and matching the price would defeat the whole purpose of their business model (sacrifice quality and your employees welfare for highest possible profits.) Thus they steal Sega's license.
    • EA wants the market share. ESPN-branded games were released for $20, while EA's were listed at $50. They want to use the ESPN properties, but they really want to stop Sega from competing via the ESPN brand.
    • ESPN has some rights to the Wold Series of Poker, but the one WSOP computer game I could find didn't seem to have anything to do with ESPN. The World Poker Tour is not affiliated with the WSOP and the WPT has their own video game.

      The WPT game is one of those "console in the controller" type things where you don't need any other hardware except a TV.

      Perhaps ESPN has since aquired the video game rights for the WSOP?
  • by Zeromous ( 668365 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @08:57PM (#11390833) Homepage
    Despite what many have said, this may not be such a bad thing.

    I mean now with Blitz free to do what they want, and a niche market opening up- I'm excited about sports games for once!

    It's really too bad there will likely be no 30$ ESPN Football or hockey again, but for each on of those, there will be an outlaw golf, or baseball stars.

    These unlicensed games have been missing from 'popular' libraries for years. I see this as only opening up a market for the smaller, savvy developer/publisher.
  • "We don't anticipating changing anything significantly from what we are currently doing," Larry Probst, chairman and chief executive of EA, said in an interview.

    And there is EA's CEO admitting as much. This is horrible for the industry. EA has cranked out some crap this year, but the pressure from Sega has been keeping the Sports line programmers on their toes. Now with no competition, they're free to churn out crappy sports games, too. Sigh.

  • EA announces purchase of Skynet.

    Challenge Everything (Exept our corporate empire.)
  • by Solr_Flare ( 844465 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:11PM (#11390938)
    What is dangerous is that EA is definitely trying to consolidate the industry. They are doing sports games right now, but how long till they start moving in on your company of choice? They already made an initial attempt at Ubisoft, and they are buying licenses from Nintendo. Who is going to be next on the list?

    If EA gets enough control over the gaming industry, even if you never play their games they'll still be able to have an impact. How about, for example, increasing the price on their games to $60 a pop? If EA has enough marketshare in the industry, you don't think every other publisher wouldn't follow suit?

    That's just one example. EA is out to win big. Check out this article here:

    EA's stated long term goal is to become the largest Entertainment Firm in the world. They want to take on the big names in the movie industry via games. They cite Disney as one of their targets to beat in future years.

    EA isn't going to stop this, it is just going to keep getting worse until they are either:

    A) Forced to stop B) The well dries up on them and they die from bloat.

    Either way, this is bad for the consumer. This is most definitely *not* a healthy monolopy they are trying to form.
    • Sorry, but I'm not buying this.

      They are doing sports games right now, but how long till they start moving in on your company of choice? They already made an initial attempt at Ubisoft, and they are buying licenses from Nintendo. Who is going to be next on the list?

      OK, they went after Ubisoft and that was stopped. And how dare they buy licenses from Nintendo!! That obviously means EA will soon be buying Nintendo. Watch out Sony, you're next. Or so the implication goes. I mean somehow a company with a
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:23PM (#11391021) Homepage Journal
    ESPN gave someone an exclusive license for FIFTEEN YEARS?!

    The industry could radically change in fifteen years. EA could shoot itself in the foot in five years, becoming an also-ran. Fifteen years in the video game industry is like 45 years in the world of broadcasting.

    It might be three years from now, or five, or 10 years from now, but ESPN will live to regret this deal.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      *current* ESPN management is laughing all the way to the bank. In a few years they are all cashed out on hawaii and then what do they care ?

      Its all about short term profits.
      • Its all about short term profits.

        No argument there. Directors have become mere rubber stamping tools for management teams. Why? Because the boards are all composed of O-level guys from other public companies, all of whom seem to observe a tacit agreement not to screw with each other's executive decisions.

  • Here is an idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yorkpaddy ( 830859 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:24PM (#11391023)
    If I were sega, I would design a football game that lets users plug in team data. Make everything like the NFL except for uniforms, logos, and names. Then have some anonymous person on the internet post a mod pack that exactly replicates the protected NFL data. Make it very easy for consumers to plug in this data pack.
  • new slashdot icon (Score:2, Informative)

    by syrinx ( 106469 ) *
    So who runs EA? (Wasn't it started by Trip Hawkins?) Currently it seems to be Larry Probst... can we get a Larry Probst Borg icon here for EA stories?
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @09:31PM (#11391084) Homepage Journal
    Well now that EA has essentially bought up everything that a competitor like Sega might want to use to brand their football games, I wonder if Madden 2006 will be the last game with the Madden branding. Madden himself is getting old and given the way EA puts out a new football game every year, perhaps less relevant. Soon many of the fans playing the game won't even know who Madden is, many probably don't now. So the Madden name itself may not be worth as much as it used to be. Another question I would have is just how much longer does the current deal to use Madden's name last? If that deal expires soon, then what many of us know as Madden may eventually be known as EA ESPN NFL Football 2007.

    So maybe EA isn't an evil monopolist after all, they're just planning for the future!
  • Sad Day (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dr.banes ( 823348 )
    EA has been making crap lately. The fact that ESPN 2k4 and 5 has been kicking Madden's ass for the past 2 years is not news,the same goes for their hockey and basketball lines. ESPN continued to tweak gameplay and graphics to the point that it looks and feels like a real game--not to forget that videogame magazines,websites and tv shows have noticed and gave more favorable reviews to ESPN despite pressure from the mega publisher. So I may not buy console football for another 5 years f---it. I
  • by einer ( 459199 )
    Now Sega can go back to making real games.
  • Boycott (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pieisgood ( 841871 )
    I swear to god I am never buying another EA game. These guys are ruining the face of the video game developement industry. There are a few proud companies out there though, id, Oddworld inhabitants, Valve (I don't like them or how they work, but they are still better than EA), and Atari. I really want to see more small game dev. companies poping up. I am sorta really at a loss when I hear people say "Need for speed underground 2 is so awesome!", if EA can pump out a game with so many ads and then start putt
  • Meet the new Microsoft of Entertainment.

    I am pretty sure such a huge monopoly won't do gamers and the products any good.
  • <Bitter Canadian Hockey Fan Rant>
    Any word yet as to whether or not Bettman has sold out or is looking to sell out the NHL yet to these asshats at EA? It's only a matter of time I suppose; the commish fscks over everything else with his league.
    <Bitter Canadian Hockey Fan Rant>

  • by superultra ( 670002 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @01:16AM (#11392394) Homepage
    This is actually good news. I think it's the beginning of the end for EA.

    First, my bet is that Sony, MS, and Nintendo are as worried as anyone about EA's rise to power. The could quite nearly already ruin a console (cf. Dreamcast). But now, if a console maker isn't doling out favors and money to EA, they will find themselves in a very difficult position. I wonder if we won't begin to see some interesting powerplays behind the scenes, with MS/Sony/Nintendo running some subvert rescue operations to somehow curb EA from gobling all the power dots on the board.

    The other positives in this is that we will probably start to see all the things that come with being in a near-monopoly level of control. Lawsuits against EA will inevitably ensue.

    Finally, I don't care what EA says - a vaccum of competition makes teams lazy. What does Tiberon, the studio behind Madden, have to worry about if they have a few bad features in the game? Why bother paying for focus groups, or worrying about review scores or message board feedback, if your game is the only NFL game on the market for the next X years? Mark my words: the progression we've seen in the quality of EA's sports titles will begin to diminish.

    You don't use an ICBM to kill an ant hill. EA was obviously worried about Sega. They wouldn't have gone to all this trouble for the hell of it. You don't see them suddenly making exclusive Curling League contracts. They were starting to hurt after last year's $20 high quality sports titles.

    If EA can bleed, they can be killed.
  • Blatant revenge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rkischuk ( 463111 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @01:25AM (#11392447)
    If it wasn't obvious before, it should be fairly evident now. Sega pissed EA off like never before when it dropped all its game prices to $19.99. Not only did it threaten their market share, it threatened to change the paradigm for sports game pricing.

    EA would take a MASSIVE hit if customers began to EXPECT to only pay $19.99 for each year's incremental update to the prior year's sports games. It would not only hurt them in the games where Sega provides direct competition (NFL, NBA, NHL, etc), it would force them to shift the price of their unopposed games. Why would gamers pay $50 for Tiger Woods or NASCAR after paying just $20 for Madden?

    Rest assured, somewhere in the upper levels of EA, the bosses are paying a premium for these deals because they're factoring in the extra cash they'll make once Sega is crushed. The NFL was the opening salvo, the failed NBA bid an attempted backbreaker (especially since Sega's NBA game has been generally better in recent years). The Arena Football League deal attempts to seal off Sega's escape route (Sega could have design an AFL game to keep their football engine primed for the expiration of the NFL deal). But this is the heavy artillery. While Sega had begun establishing itself as a credible creator of sports games, the added ESPN name gave immediate credibility to the series in the eyes of consumers. Sega is some company that made a console they used to play Sonic on, ESPN almost defines sports to many Americans. Taking ESPN out of their hands puts them back to trying to build the Sega Sports name, but without a licensed NFL game as their flagship. EA is out for blood.

  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @08:00AM (#11393786)
    The biggest football league, the UEFA Champions League, witnessed by billions around the globe, is the single most important event in the world of football each year. SEGA can easily grab that licence, and release a football game based on that. If coupled with Virtua Striker graphics, it could not be anything else than a winner.

    And along with the UEFA CL, goes the FIFA World Cup.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein