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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

EA Obtains Exclusive NFL Licensing Rights 597

Posted by timothy
from the theory-of-lucrativity dept.
Grub writes "EA has signed a 5-year agreement with the NFL that gives them exclusive rights to use NFL players, teams, and stadiums in their products. CEO Larry Probst, 'The five-year agreement will usher NFL fans through the console technology transition with new ideas and innovative game play experiences.' This is a crushing blow to competitors and an enormous victory for EA, who will undoubtably make sure everyone knows that only they have NFL players and teams come next year's football game advertising bonanza."
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EA Obtains Exclusive NFL Licensing Rights

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  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:00AM (#11078726)
    I thought if there was one site I could escape sports talk, it would be Slashdot. Now I get to read endless posts about football being soccer, etc.
    • I feel your pain. Would be nice to hear some about pro video game players though - 'course there would then be countless posts about quake v unreal and starcraft v warcraft v that farming sim game

      OK maybe not the farming sim game...

    • Re:Damn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iocat (572367) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:28AM (#11078884) Homepage Journal
      It get's worse: Have you seen Sportsdot [sportsdot.org]?

      Anyway this is more a videogame monopoly story than a strict sports story...

  • by Cecil (37810) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#11078732) Homepage
    I've been waiting for a CFL game to come along.
    • It would certainly take less time to play a CFL based game. There are what, 8 teams? How long can a season take?
    • by gatesh8r (182908) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:21AM (#11078843)
      Wait! We're talking a CANADIAN Football League!? What next -- hockey in the United States?
      • Uh, actually, no [go.com]. :)

        -fren
        • Re:It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:07AM (#11079504) Journal
          Actually, this is a good opportunity to discuss what EA does once they corner a market. From about 1991 - 1997 EA NHL was ~THE~ sports franchise for any platform. High intensity action, good graphics, and marked improvement in gameplay year after year.

          However, once EA finished dominating this sport, it branched out into others, gradually trying to recreate the success of the NHL games. As EA diverted its focus, this meant that the franchise began a gradual decline...alot of gimmicks were added in to justify new versions from year to year. PC Gamer discusses the decline of EA NHL in this month's issue.

          I'd argue "Success" = "jumped the shark" for EA Sports games. There's no reason to believe that NFL Football under EA will not be the same. EA got the rights to the NFL based on the solid 2005 offering of Madden, and will probably futher improve the game for the first year or two in the deal. But I guarantee that the 2009/2010 Madden will be derivative garbage, EA maximising profits before the license comes due.



          • EA pulled off an exclusive licensing deal like this with Porsche. That's why you can't drive cars named "Porsche" in Gran Turismo. They have some imaginary model that matches them in specs, but they don't look much like a real 911.

            The only video games with Porsches are the EA Need for Speed and Porsche Unleashed series. All of which suck ass compared to the Gran Turismo series. I'm sure the engineers at Porshe must be pretty disappointed that the marketing folks crippled them from playing Porsches in Gr
            • Well...

              In Project Gotham Racing you can race several Porsches (Porsche Boxster S, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Porsche 550 Spyder, Porsche 911 RS 2.7, Porsche Carrera Coupe, Porsche 911 Turbo, Porsche 911 GT3, Porsche 959, Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche 911 GT1). Did Bizarre Creations/MS pay money that Sony did not have?

              The Grand Turismo series (at least in GT3) at least makes up for the no-Porsches rule by having Ruf [ruf-automobile.de] models (I believe the CTR2 [rim.or.jp] is the "ultimate" car you can get). It's not an "imaginary" model at a
          • Hockey, there's no competition because it's not that popular. Look at TV coverage. Even ESPN would rather put college basketball up against pro hockey. The reason no one competed against EA was because no one wanted to for such a small market.

            The truth is, at $20, ESPN was putting the hurt on EA. EA's entire business model depends on $50 a game. With the reviews given to ESPN, the average teenager with $20 in his pocket is going to buy ESPN and tell EA to go ____ themselves, especially when EA stays
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @02:33AM (#11079369) Homepage Journal
        CANADIAN Football League!? What next -- hockey in the United States?

        You know, everytime I read about the hockey teams of Florida or California, I die a little inside.
    • Re:It's about time (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      " I've been waiting for a CFL game to come along."

      Well, you know Bob Young, one of the founders of Red Hat, is a CFL fan. He'd have to be, being the owner of the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. [ticats.ca] Perhaps we could contact him about seeing what he could do about getting a CFL game out there. :)

  • Madden 64... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlueCodeWarrior (638065) <steevk@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#11078737) Homepage
    ...was vastly better than NFL Quarterback Club '98 on the N64, and it didn't have the team license. I wonder if Sega (NFL2k) or Midway(NFLBlitz!) will be able to pull the same trick off.
    • Re:Madden 64... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by D'Arque Bishop (84624) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:14AM (#11078802) Homepage
      I wonder if Sega (NFL2k) or Midway(NFLBlitz!) will be able to pull the same

      It wouldn't be the first time Midway pulled off a football game without an NFL license. Back in 1990 or thereabouts (I forget the exact year), they released an arcade game called High Impact Football which used nonexistent teams. Apparently it did well enough to rate a sequel called Super High Impact Football. (Now, if they'd just include either in Midway Arcade Treasures 3...)

      Just my $.02...
      • I'd have to agree -- game was better than all the others, and most people chose to play it (in my home town anyways). I definately was one of them...I think I spent more on renting the silly game, than the actual cost to purchase...
      • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:47AM (#11078989) Homepage Journal

        Apparently it did well enough to rate a sequel called Super High Impact Football.

        I'm waiting for Super High Impact Tennis. A game like that would be the shit.

      • Re:Madden 64... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by prockcore (543967)
        It wouldn't be the first time Midway pulled off a football game without an NFL license. Back in 1990 or thereabouts (I forget the exact year), they released an arcade game called High Impact Football which used nonexistent teams.

        Hell, even EA used to use fake names. NHL92 was an awesome game, but didn't use real teams nor real player names.. that came in NHL93 and was a huge deal at the time.

        But I'm rather suprised no one has yet mentioned the definitive pre-license football game. Tecmo Bowl. Damn th
      • Re:Madden 64... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172)
        And any number of racing sims eschew any sort of official license and have "the blue car" and "the red car."

        I honestly don't understand all the branding crap, even in sports sims. All I care about is if the game is worth a crap.

        Make the damned thing "skinable" and the community will make the silly graphics and such in short order, if it's worth playing in the first place.

        KFG
    • Re:Madden 64... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Squareball (523165)
      I am a devout Madden player. I tried NFL2k5 from Sega on my xbox but didn't like it so I got madden as well. However, I am so outraged by this that I will NOT be buying another EA Sports game until there is competition. EA has been screwing Madden players over and over again and I am over it. They remove features from the PC game and introduce new "features" that are meaningless and they want to charge another $40? Then there is this year's Quicksand bug that they had no fix for other than "turn off fatigue
    • Yay! Drugs! (Score:3, Informative)

      by The-Bus (138060)
      Midway actually dropped out earlier this year.

      Midway has hired the writer of the show "Playmakers" to develop a new title, Blitz: Playmakers. The game will feature everything the NFL hated about the TV show, including drug use, and off-the-field habits the NFL likes to pretend never happens.

      According to an interview earlier this year with Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, an NFL spokesperson confirmed that they were through working with Midway: "Midway has been quietly dropped in a 'mutual d

  • Lovely. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spleener12 (587422) * on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#11078740)
    As if EA wasn't enough of an evil, soul-sucking monstrosity.

    Well, football fans, I hope you liked Madden 2005, because you're going to get that same game shoved down your throats with updated rosters for the next five years.

    EA needs to die.

    • Re:Lovely. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sqrt(2) (786011)
      But this one says 2006!

      Unfortunately, people will still buy them. Too bad more people don't realize that it's the same game!
    • Re:Lovely. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Necrobruiser (611198) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:08AM (#11078778)
      As if EA wasn't enough of an evil, soul-sucking monstrosity.

      Can we save some time and just repost all of the "M$ is Evil" posts from the last 5 years and just replace Microsoft with EA in each? It really doesn't take much to bring out the knee-jerk reactions here on /. does it?
      • Re:Lovely. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by happyemoticon (543015)

        I really like some of the games that EA produces. I'm not too into their sports division, never have been, but they have a track record of making some badass software. As for the hours, that's the games industry; love it or get out.

        And you know, regarding EA Wife, I've never known a worker who got taken advantage of who didn't consent to it, either by their silence or their signiture. The manager who won't let you take a few days off because you're suffering from a nervous breakdown or your marriage is fa

      • Can we save some time and just repost all of the "M$ is Evil" posts from the last 5 years and just replace Microsoft with EA in each?

        Actually, M$ should be replaced by €A.
        • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @01:37AM (#11079169) Homepage Journal

          The $ in M$ doesn't just signify childish accusations of greed. Microsoft started out as a developer of BASIC interpreters for home computers. Notably, Microsoft developed the "Applesoft" BASIC interpreter in the Apple II Plus through IIGS computers. In that early line-numbered era of BASIC, the name of every string variable ended in a dollar sign. Thus, M$ was a valid name for a string variable, and 10 LET M$ = "Microsoft" was perfectly valid BASIC code. Sometimes people have to make such abbreviations to fit things into Slashdot's short comment subject lines.

      • Re:Lovely. (Score:2, Interesting)

        It really doesn't take much to bring out the knee-jerk reactions here on /. does it?

        I get what your saying, groupthink is annoying.

        But this case is a little different. Actually a whole lot different. Now there is no competition. Competition, if you remember (or are you just trolling?) is what gave us freakin 20 DOLLAR VIDEO GAMES [slashdot.org] in the first place, for God's sake. That's a real, tangible difference in the weight of my wallet.

        Now that's gone. So, yeah, I think the gamers who hang here have every r

    • Re:Lovely. (Score:5, Informative)

      by MEGAMAID (791988) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:15AM (#11078813)
      you're going to get that same game shoved down your throats

      Not quite, how is selling a video game shoving it down people's throats? You do realise you don't HAVE to buy it right?
      Anyways, the same type of people who buy this re-hashed crap are the same type of people I don't care much for when they are ripped off.
    • Re:Lovely. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sladelink (536962)
      If EA gets their way, the NFL won't be the only sports license that they have exclusive rights to; they're also trying to get their hands on exclusive rights to the NBA and MLB (baseball). I think we can rationally guess that EA's attempt to buy up all the rights to ESPN (Visual Concepts) extremely strong sales this year due to the $19.99 price tag and excellent reviews on their games.

      So basically, what's EA's response to a better product being produced for less money? Force their competition out by bu
    • Well, football fans, I hope you liked Madden 2005, because you're going to get that same game shoved down your throats with updated rosters for the next five years.

      EA used to be like this with the FIFA Football (soccer to you Americans) licence - I'm pretty sure every FIFA game from 1996 to 2001 was the same damn game with just the rosters updated - they've got better since, though, and have been genuinely adding new features to every release since 2002 (mostly because a large section of the market began
  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#11078742) Homepage Journal
    "The five-year agreement will usher NFL fans through the console technology transition with new ideas and innovative game play experiences."

    Because monopolies (this is a monopoly of sorts) always lead to innovation.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Oh who cares, when was the last time you played a truly innovative sports game? By their very nature they can't go beyond the rules of the game they're based on.
      • by tepples (727027)

        By [sport simulations'] very nature they can't go beyond the rules of the game they're based on.

        That sentence makes me believe that you never played NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, or any EA Sports BIG title.

      • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @02:16AM (#11079310)
        Oh who cares, when was the last time you played a truly innovative sports game? By their very nature they can't go beyond the rules of the game they're based on.

        Ah, but if you know anything about football you would know it is a very deep and complex game. Football reminds me of a chess game with real people where each side can choose their opening positions every play. It really is a facinating mixture of head knowledge and physical ability and requires years to fully appreciate.

        And football games are getting more and more realistic every year. And not just in graphics. There is every bit or more strategy in a game like Madden 2005 as any Real Time Strategy game---with surprising less "twitching". Don't let the fact that it is a "sports game" fool you into thinking its a dumb mindless fast-twich fest. There is alot more to the game than picking a 4-3 in running situations and a Dime in passing ones.
        You can't win without using your brain.

        Brian Ellenberger
      • when was the last time you played a truly innovative sports game?

        I don't know when exactly anymore, but the game was Caveman Uglympics!
      • By their very nature they can't go beyond the rules of the game they're based on.

        Yeah you can. Morpheus says so.

        The game will never be as smart or as fast as you.
    • The point of copyright is that monopoly in expression creates diversity in expression.

      NFL doesn't have a monopoly on football, just on its team nicknames and logos. Imagine the possibilities if NFL licenses exclusively to one developer and NFL Players Inc [nflplayers.com] licenses exclusively to another: you'd get situations like the early 1990s where one company's game would have real players and fake team logos, while the other had fake players and real team logos. So we have one NFL game, one NFL Players Inc game, on

  • College? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:02AM (#11078744)
    I predict a huge upswing in the popularity of NCAA-based games. Or maybe arena league ;)
    • Re:College? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by prockcore (543967) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:24AM (#11078860)
      I predict a huge upswing in the popularity of NCAA-based games.

      Are you kidding? College is even worse. We at least can display the NFL logo on our *news* site. Not so with college.

      The worst offender is college basketball. They've trademarked "Sweet 16" and "Final Four", and you aren't allowed to use those terms as section headings without paying licensing fees. Same goes for team logos.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and play six days per week.
  • Whatever (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:03AM (#11078754)
    Oh well, I will just be the SF 48ers the computer can be the GB Hackers. Oh Bred Feasly you SOB run!
  • by rinks (641298) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:04AM (#11078756)
    I'm sure this has nothing to do with Sega's almost superior (and 30 dollars cheaper) ESPN football debuting this year... I see someone's posted that since Madden's the best game anyway, it doesn't matter. Well, it does matter, since being the only game in town doesn't exactly provide incentive to improve- or do anything but offer gamers the same thing every year with barely cosmetic changes.
    • Almost superior? ESPN football is superior in just about every way.

    • Yeh, seriously. They should have just stopped at Madden 94 [consoleclassix.com], when football on a console was perfected. That is the only football game I ever play, and you know what? It looks amazing projected onto a 100" screen, you wouldn't believe the graphics they had back in 1994. I don't even know why anyone else tries, they should just bow down to Madden 94 and give up.
    • Don't blame EA. (Score:3, Informative)

      by boodaman (791877)
      It never ceases to amaze me when people blame someone who buys something for being able to buy it.

      As many concerns I have with EA, you can't blame them for buying something someone was willing to sell.

      They didn't force the NFL into this agreement. The NFL sold it to them. If you're going to rant about anyone, rant about the NFL, because if the NFL was thinking long-term, they wouldn't issue long term exclusives to game companies.

      Without seeing the contract, there's no way to judge, but if it had been m
  • Perfect (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kizzle (555439) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:05AM (#11078765)
    This would be a perfect time for the XFL to come back! Yaaay!!
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Football, with porn?
      Sweet.
    • Re:Perfect (Score:3, Insightful)

      by killjoe (766577)
      On a somewhat serious note perhaps this will give competitors the opportunity to base games on less popular but more fun to watch sports.

      rugby, australian rules football, and arena football come immediately to mind.

      Perhaps even made up sports. Calvinball anyone?
  • They just killed all the competition. Good for them, bad for us. Sega's football this year was $30 cheaper and as good or better. It was nice to finally see some real competition in that market. Just shows what competition will do. I'm sure they paid a LOT for this deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:11AM (#11078792)
    first they refused to put out any sports games on the dreamcast, now they're threatened by the very franchise born out of that refusal... so what do they do? grab a monopoly.

    i guess i won't be buying any more ea games until the day i die, same with microsoft products.

    bastards.
  • ...because we didn't had enough awful EA sport games!

    I need my new football game to replace last years', i hate the cover on that one.
  • by stubear (130454) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:12AM (#11078798)
    Does the monopoly status of the NFL allow it to exclusively grant rights to its brand like that?
    • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:35AM (#11078919)
      The NFL does not have anti-trust exemption like Baseball. From ESPN.COM article [go.com]
      Q: Why don't other sports have the antitrust exemption?
      A: For 18 years after Toolson, in case after case, judges admitted that the baseball exemption was flawed, but it was never overruled. Exemptions for boxing, football and basketball were denied in the higher courts, while hockey and golf antitrust exemptions were also denied in the lower courts

      In fact baseball's anti trust exemption keeps being dwindled away by congress
      In 1972, Curt Flood's case -- which also challenged baseball's reserve system -- reached the Supreme Court and although it was again acknowledged that baseball's antitrust exemption was "an anomaly," the Court ruled that it is up to Congress to change baseball's antitrust exemption.
      Further reduction of the anti-trust exemption could be coming up soon with the issue of steroids becoming an item on political agendas. Congress will look to pass regulations and possibly remove the exemption if baseball does not police itself steroid use.
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:14AM (#11078808) Homepage
    Back in the 80s I taught myself a new programming language by creating a football game. This was still in the DOS era, so it was very simple graphics of a football field and a football icon that moved forward or back depending on the outcome of the play. It had a scoreboard, running clock, the usual stuff. It was just for fun. But guys at work (where I was doing this -- hey, remember, I was learning a new language for work's sake) saw my program and wanted to play it. So I let them.

    I had no intention of sharing it beyond that, but something about using actual NFL teams made me wonder about licensing rights. So I wrote to the NFL and asked them if I wanted to create a private, not-for-profit, not to be spread around game, could I use actual NFL team names? I figured it was a silly question, for why would they object. Probably you are thinking I was an idiot for writing under the universal principle of it's better to be ask forgiveness than to ask permission. Well, I was, but there you are. Anyway, I got a nice letter from NFL headquarters saying, "Thank you for asking, but no, you may not use actual NFL team names since we have entered into exclusive licensing arrangements with game companies." I have no idea which game company (probably early Atari stuff or some nonsense), but the idea of exclusive licensing of NFL names is hardly new. They've been raking in free money on that concept for at least twenty years now.

    And no, I didn't change my program. Oh, I tried to make up names like the Comets and the Tigers, but it sounded too hokey, so I left in the real names anyway. NFL lawyers, you may arrest me now.

  • I think there's room for online sports that doesn't require the consent of Pro Sports Orgs... there are pleny of concepts out there for doing innovative sport games and some of them include using traditional rules from popular sports... some of them don't.

    I'd like to see football with fireballs and sleeping spells or baseball with alternative physics at play... why limit sports games to what you can see on TV?

  • ...that they will now be required to work 90 hours a week without overtime pay on game systems all over the country?
  • by Vaystrem (761) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:20AM (#11078839)
    Sega and other football game makers have a unique opportunity at this time to make really amazing College Football Games. There have been a few on the market but they don't generally have the features or support that the NFL games do.

    There is a large playerbase that is actively followed. Gamers will still go where the best game implementation is.

    Can you imagine how rich the online play would be with leagues composed of every college team would be? It would be fantastic!

    Even if they don't go with colleges they could setup entire virtual leagues. Track stats of a 'fake' league online have a team for every state so that you can have large online leagues. Have web based fantasy games setup for when your at work. It could work and be compelling.

    They could even stream nightly gaming updates to your xbox (ala machinma) using the ingame engine.

    Maybe people will continue to buy EA's games but if Sega does it right, most football gamers will end up buying both, and perhaps spend more time theirs.

    • Sega and other football game makers have a unique opportunity at this time to make really amazing College Football Games.

      ...There is a large playerbase that is actively followed.


      Umm... I don't really follow US college sports, but can they actually use the names of college athletes? I thought that that wasn't allowed (although I could be thinking of college basketball or something).
    • by MrWa (144753) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @02:17AM (#11079316) Homepage
      Can a computer simulate the complete idiocy of the BCS? The computer component, sure, but what about the fickle voters?
  • At least the cost of licenses that would have gone to the other games in addition to EA's seems like the most sensible answer.
  • Sad considering this year was one of the most competitive years in football video games with Sega/Take-two releasing ESPN NFL 2K-series at $19.99.

    Guess EA would rather spend the extra cash in getting an exclusive license (which I'm sure they paid an arm and a leg for) rather than spending all that money improving Madden in a competive market, or reducing the price of the Madden series to fend off well-made-$20 football games.
  • by schnitzi (243781) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:23AM (#11078855) Homepage
    Competitors should design their products to accept any properly formatted database file of players and stats.

    This would allow you to enter in your child's own Pop Warner teams to play against each other.

    Of course, there's always a chance that some naughty person might start spreading around a database listing all the real NFL players.

    That would certainly be tragic. But it's a risk we might have to take.
    • Competitors should design their products to accept any properly formatted database file of players and stats.

      Microsoft Word 97 can accept any propeRTFly formatted word processing DOCument. Because Word 97 and later will read .doc and .rtf files saved by newer versions, just skipping over new features that it doesn't recognize, the existing Office 97 and 2000 install base competes with Microsoft's effort to sell copies of Office 2003. Likewise, supporting XML databases of players in one year's tackle foo

    • Yeah, and then when someone spreads the list of NFL players, you get a situation like with City of Heroes, where the NFL sues EA for letting people use their names.

  • So that's where the overtime budget went!
  • by Moustache N Tits (828608) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:28AM (#11078885)
    you know.. so far there are about 30 (level 1+) comments and I don't see anyone bad mouthing the NFL for this. I can't say I blame EA for going after this agreement. It's in their best interest and will give them a huge edge come next season. Who wants to play an NFL football game where you can't be Michael Vick and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons (or whoever). But what about the NFL for even LETTING this agreement happen?! If you are going to blast EA for going after a monopoly why not blast the NFL for supporting it?! I'd think it would be in their best interest to let more companies get licenses. How many people out there own both NFL 2k5 and Madden 2005?! I know my friend does... I know many people who did. So the NFL got double license fees from one customer. That's GOOD for the NFL. Also, what about all those people who are anti-Madden, either out of principle (for EA's employer practices) or because they just don't like the gameplay as much as NFL 2k5 (or others) like myself. I own 2k5 because I don't like Madden.. the graphics aren't as good, the gameplay is weak. If this deal had been in place last year the NFL wouldn't have gotten ANY of my money, whereas this year they got some from me purchasing NFL 2k5. This just seems like a bad choice for the NFL. It's a shame too because I get some serious football feaver in Aug and Sept and now next year I'll be back playing my old 2k5. Next year the NFL won't be getting any of my money from licensing deals.
  • Stupid me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joeldixon66 (808412) * <joel&jd53,com> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:34AM (#11078912) Homepage
    I actually thought that the fact that ESPN (Visual Concepts) dropped their prices to $19.95 would cause the competitors (EA) to follow suit. "Pretty good for the consumers - what could go wrong?" I asked.

    I guess I've just been answered...

    Now we have only once game with the offical licence - which will probably retain the same selling price to make up for the licensing fees.
  • Wall Street (Score:5, Informative)

    by jnguy (683993) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:39AM (#11078943) Homepage
    Electronic Arts (ERTS) traded up 3.38 during regular hours trading and went up an additional 3.07 during after hours trading. This is a 6.24% and 5.33% change in a single day. I guess wallstreet really cares who gets to hold on to the francise name.
    • Re:Wall Street (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xenocide2 (231786)
      Actually, I was equally curious about that. It turns out the press release wasn't available during initial trading hours. It turns out one of the major brokers just upgraded their outlook on EA. Cramer, that amusing media baron on MSNBC, wrote an article stating that something is up; usually brokerage firms are behind the curve, so to speak. Cramer speculated that it was an acquisition, being woefully behind the rumors. Ironically, if I'm reading his marketese correctly, he suggested buying shorts in the st
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:40AM (#11078949) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps I can live to see Cyberball 2072 come to the PC (& Mac).

    Cyberball 2072 was the only football-type game I ever found to be fun.

    C'mon! Giant robots? Playing football? My pals and I spent many a quarter on that, beating each other senseless.

    Screw EA and the NFL. No giant robots, no care.

  • Tecmo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nic barajas (750051)
    It's time for a remake of Tecmo Super Bowl. Really, that was the greatest football game ever made.
  • Barry Bonds struck a deal with Topps baseball cards where they're the only company that can print a card with him on it. He wasn't in any company's cards this year, though Topps can now post-print a 2004 under the terms of the "deal". The price for Barry? Estimates say 1-2 million.

    source [sportsfanmagazine.com]
  • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:48AM (#11078993)
    Hats off to EA, they made a nice business maneuver out of nowhere.
    Does it mean any other football game is dead? No, you could see a small studio come out with a football game that makes use of connected technology to let people create and download their own rosters.
    Many independent baseball sims release their game without a licensed roster, but allow people to download 3rd party rosters where people add actual player/team names and stats.
    There's always the possibility that it leads to the first baby steps of console game modding. Where there are roadblocks and money to made there is also innovation.
  • Double-take (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @12:59AM (#11079021) Homepage
    I read this PR twice, convinced that I had read this wrong or that it was some kind of a hoax, thinking "can this mean what I think it means?".

    This is bad. So very bad. If this is true (see above), this will essentially kill the football franchises of Sony/989 Studios [989sports.com], Sega [espnvideogames.com], and Midway [midway.com]. It doesn't matter how good a game is -- without the license to use the official teams and players, you are toast.

    The immediate effect of this will be price. When Sega slashed it's sports line to $20, EA followed suit by dropping it's sports titles to $30. Think that will happen when EA has no competition? Quality will be the next to go -- what will be EA's motivation to innovate? When SCEA first released NFL Gameday for the Playstation, EA cancelled it's Madden because of its inferrior quality. They came back the next year with a much-improved offering. Without compeition, what will stop EA from shoveling out complete garbage? There wasn't a lot of year-on-year innovation in the first place, but now I'll be surprised if they do little more update the team rosters.

    Oh, and doesn't easpouse's [livejournal.com] husband work for EA Tiburon [tiburon.com]? I guess that situation isn't going to improve. "Where else are you going to work? Sega? Bwah hah hah hah!". Guess I better figure out how the BCS works... damn you EA!!!
  • EA could actually BUY out the NHL for exclusive rights! The sport would exist only to sell video games. What a future.
  • by superultra (670002) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @01:06AM (#11079048) Homepage
    Translation from EASpeak (TM):

    "Hi. Sega? Remember that $19.99 price undercut? Yeah. F*** you."
  • by jeif1k (809151) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @01:16AM (#11079090)
    This seems wrong to me. Do we really want a world in which every aspect of human activity is licensed or paid for? Sports is culture and community; we shouldn't commercialize that space.

    I mean, what's left to commercialize after this? Is the next frontier to commercialize transactions within families? Honey, a roll in the hay will be $500, and do take note of the Coca Cola logo (a licensing exclusive) on the bra before your remove it. If you want a hug from your kids, that will be $5 a hug. (Well, sadly, we may be pretty far along down that road already.)
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @01:23AM (#11079122) Homepage
    You could probably buy the rights to the XFL [xfl-football.com] really, really cheap.
  • by Blaede (266638) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @01:59AM (#11079248)
    Starting with last year, EA grabbed exclusive rights to NASCAR on all consoles up to 2008. Sierra had wanted to expand their NASCAR Racing series to more platforms than just PC, but with them being locked out of the NASCAR console market, they chose to not renew their PC license. This of course led to the shutdown of Papyrus, who's bread and butter was NASCAR simulations.

    Despite EA's inability to put out a quality NASCAR sim title on PC since their first effort in 1998, there still is hope for a quality Papyrus styled racing sim platform to build NASCAR mods on. The main co-founder of Papyrus, Dave Kaemmer, has teamed up with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry (a rabid NASCAR Racing player) and created FIRST-Racing.net [first-racing.net]. This company will put out a game using the source code base from NASCAR Racing 2003, which they bought from Sierra. Hopefully this new game will provide fans of the renown NASCAR Racing series a base to continue racing NASCAR with a platform they have grown accustomed to.
  • by Alban (86010) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:49AM (#11079615)
    If Sega/ESPN had been offered the same deal, do you think they would have hesitated even one second?

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