2 hours ago
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Madden, EA, and Future of Pro Sports
This story isn't getting much attention, but it represents a seismic shift in sports merchandising. There will be unintended consequences. Will they be for good, or ill?
Posted by Jonathan V. Last at 3:55 PM
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I'm not sure how it's a "seismic shift" -- aren't most sports-related merchandise done via exclusive deals? nike, gatorade, etc?
I don't know, but if I had to guess, the Sega NFL game being introduced at a measly $20 instead of the usual $40-$50 was a big factor -- I suspect that the NFL didn't appreciate the overnight devaluation of their brand in the game market, which is why (a) the NFL was suddenly interested in an exclusive deal, and (b) EA (Madden $50) got the deal and Sega (ESPN $20) didn't.
This is going to be bad, really bad. An absence of competition is always a bad thing (ex. WWF/WWE after it bought ECW and WCW). Also, anyone want to place bets on Madden “the only game in town” 2006’s price tag? I’m guessing $60-$70.
At least, we'll start getting non-NFL licensed football games, like Midway's "Blitz: Playmakers." Although, I want to know why they're basing the game on the failed cable series that was based on the film "Any Given Sunday," instead of just making "Blitz: Any Given Sunday"
Good story, but with one problem: the reporter neglects to tell the reader how much EA Sports is paying. Sort of like a story about a football game that fails to report the final score.
I really doubt that future Madden games will be over $50. There's just too much precedent for that price, that I don't think the market will accept a higher price. Notice that the old Conker game was a massive flop at $70, and the xbox port is going to be the standard $50.
The only reasonably successful game I can think of in the >50 bracket is Steel Battalion, but that comes with a massive custom console. And even that game hasn't exactly been burning up the charts.
This year EA released both regular Madden for $50 and Madden Collector's Edition for $70. I do not have any statistics on how well the Collector's Edition sold (I would love to see some stats on those sales if anyone knows where to find them). The Collector's Edition sold pretty well considering people could have bought Madden for $50 or ESPN NFL for $20.
It will probably end up being good as the football games in competition with EA will have to go over and beyond in terms of gameplay to takeover the familiarity of the NFL product. Back in the day, the best baseball video game out there was Bases Loaded which used such famous baseball luminaries as Paste and Agua.
Appalling. Perfectly legal, but appalling. EA did it with NASCAR, now they're doing it with the NFL. Don't get me wrong; EA makes great games. But I'd like somebody else to get a chance as well...
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