IMHO: EA Sports Needs a Monopoly to Perform
If you don’t care about sports games, maybe you missed the news that EA Sports canceled NBA Live 13, the long-awaited return to the hard court with new graphics and new gameplay. EA Sports’ executive vice president Andrew Wilson stated that the game was not performing as expected, and rather than releasing mid-season, EA Sports will hold off until next year.
This means the third year of 2K’s award-winning basketball franchise releasing with no competition. So what happened to EA Sports? Why does it seem they cannot compete unless they have a monopoly?
A History of Competition
EA Sports does not always run from competition, but it definitely constantly attempts to do the consumer a favor by securing exclusive rights. Unfortunately, it has only been successful with NASCAR and American football, owning NFL, NCAA football and arena football.
But that doesn’t stop EA Sports from dominating hockey and golf. After failing to secure the exclusive rights to the NHL, EA Sports released better and better games until 2K Sports started canceling and running away. And even with sporting’s pariah as the face of its PGA games, who makes a better golf game?
Clearly EA Sports is not a weak publisher, but for some reason, it simply cannot compete on the basketball court.
No Competition, Better Games?
What’s holding EA Sports back from releasing NBA Live? Stiff competition. This almost stopped them from releasing football games several years ago when 2K released better and better football games with each year.
Fortunately, EA Sports secured its monopoly deal and was able to release the only football game for you. And has the Madden franchise gotten better? Sure, by baby steps every year.
And now that we know that there will not be an NBA game from EA Sports, does that mean the 2K Sports is going to put out a sub-par game this year? No, because 2K Sports can’t afford to give its competition an inch.
I played this year’s NFL release from EA Sports with a friend, and I give it a “meh minus” at best. How can EA Sports say they are able to put out the best representation of football with graphics that barely look better than last generation games and stiff controls? Everyone loves cardboard cutout fans and balls that stop spinning right before being caught.
It’s so realistic!
A Healthy Alternative
I’ve been saying for a while now: It would be better for producers and consumers if only one disc was released for a sports game. Then, each year, publishers can put out $20 to $30 DLC that includes new game modes, new graphics and new rosters. Only one disc-based game makes production costs cheaper for the publisher and buying yearly updates is much cheaper for gamers.
When was the last time EA Sports had an update for the NBA title? After canceling NBA Elite 11. Granted, it was a free update, but how many owners of NBA Live 10 would love to still be able to play a current game, even if it’s just a roster update?
The first company that goes with a one-disc/DLC-only model on its sporting titles will win financially.
So, it’s time to have a sit-down with EA Sports. First, competition is a good thing. Give up the NFL monopoly and beat your opponents at retail with strong yearly games. Second, give your customers an update NBA Live 10 in place of NBA Live 13 this year. Last, position yourself to make easy money by no longer pressing discs and relying on strong DLC and roster updates at a higher price than standard DLC.
What changes would you like to see to the sporting genre from all companies? Are you looking forward to NBA Live 14 based on what you saw of the canceled Live 13? Do you think I’m full of shit?
Leave your comments below.