EA Sports Almost gets Bigger

Electronic Arts recently stirred up the game industry with an attempt to buy out the NFL Players Association. The rumored deal had EA putting up $1 billion (yes, one BILLION dollars) to have exclusive rights to the the NFLPA in all of their video games for 4 years. I honestly don't think gamers realize how close we came to the end of football video games as we know them today. Every year we are bombarded with football games. EA Sports has always some competition, though this era has proved EA is really the dominant force. None of the other franchises has come close to matching the Madden NFL series, not even Sega who's radically improved ESPN series has been beaten solidly on every console. EA obviously didn't think this was enough and tried for the monopoly. What does the NFLPA liscense mean? Well, play a college football video game and you'll quickly get the idea. No player names, likenesses, or pictures. The NFL logos and team names would not have been included in the deal, but you'd be stuck with a field of players with only numbers on their back. "QB #7" would lead the league. Does EA think that their not big enough? They finally came to a mega-deal with Microsoft to put their games on the X-Box Live service, though many believe this is only because MS decided to scrap their sports lineup for the year. They have destroyed Sega's excellent sports franchise, arguably more innovative than any of EA's recent products. They threw Sega from the Gamecube due to the abysmal sales, Nintendo won't even try to counter, and Sony has canned their franchises as well (though this was admittedly a quality issue). What more could they possibly need? Beyond the fact that it's scary to think a game company actually can afford ONE BILLION DOLLARS, they still want more. They want every single gamer to have a copy of Madden in their house. Good buisness? In theory, sure. Good for the industry? Hell no. I don't like Madden. EA has hardly evolved their franchise this entire generation while Sega is fighting tooth and nail yet no one cares. EA's grip is just that big. Had this deal had gone through, what choice would gamers have had? Like playing games like NFL Blitz, ESPN Football, NFL Fever, or NFL Gameday with the real NFL players? EA didn't care. At this point, two of those fanchises won't even exist this year, mostly due to EA Sports. Don't think it would make a difference to the majority? Think again. EA actually felt the brunt of their own tactics a few years back with the first N64 release of Madden. They failed to secure the NFL liscense (not the NFLPA, but the NFL itself: again, no logos, team names, etc.) while Acclaim and their lackluster Quarterback Club franchise did. Sales were nearly 2 to 1 in favor of Acclaim. Let us all be thankful the NFL was smart enough to see it in the proper light. The monopoly attempt has been crushed and gamers WILL have a choice this year. The choices are few since 2 of the first party titles will not be produced, but the battle lines will be drawn while EA and Sega battle it out practically one-on-one. This will be a superb sales battle, though the pressure is still obviously in Segas court.

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