Nuclear Holocaust Video Game Style: EA Buys NFL

There were rumors abound earlier in the year that Electronic Arts was buying out the NFL for exclusive video game rights. In all of its absurdity, it was a very real and scary situation. Like some bad dreams, it all just came true.

For five long years, EA has a firm grip around the nation's most popular sport. No other company can produce a football video game with the real NFL players, logos, stadiums, or team names. This move shuts out any and all competition on the pro football front.

This move is also cowardly. After Sega moved into to EA territory with a budget priced, brilliantly produced ESPN NFL 2K5, they simply used their pocket books and shut them out. Instead of crafting an even better football game, one that could blow away the competition, they took the easy way out. Not a cheap one, but an easy one.

Repercussions are surely to follow. First and foremost, without competition, EA can become lackadaisical and just release a game with a full price tag (if not higher) with lesser additions than they do now. Competition fuels the fire and that no longer exists.

It couldn't have happened at a worse time either. With a new console generation looming, even those companies that have forfeited this generation could have possibly re-launched with the new set of consoles. Not anymore. Yes, Madden is an excellent franchise, but some gamers just prefer the ESPN series (or NFL Blitz, Gameday, etc.). Now EA can do anything and people will buy it. They have no other options.

Ok, sure. Any company can release a football game. The simple fact is without that license, your game WILL NOT sell. It was proven early on in the Nintendo 64's shelf life when this plot backfired on them and their Madden franchise lost the license. Acclaim's lesser Quarterback Club squashed the mighty football title in sales. Even the NCAA game is almost entirely owned by EA including most of the rights to the bowls and season end awards.

But all is not to blame on EA either. Why the NFL would ever pull something like this is baffling. It's obvious they have no concept of the industries that use their license. Yes, money talks, but unless the dollar amount (which is unspecified) is incomprehensible, they could have made more with five or six companies pumping in the cash.

This is a dark day for gamers, one that firmly shows corporate might has completely stifled any and all creativity in their industry. Football fans, you have only one option. Buy Madden? No, it's NOT to buy Madden. Show EA what they have done is wrong. It's about all we have left to do.

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