You can choose any football video game you like as long as it’s from EA.

Perhaps I’m reading a bit into
this press release
from the NFL and EA, but it sounds like EA managed to lock up the rights to anything related to the NFL effectively putting the competition on the sidelines for at least the next five years:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Dec. 13, 2004—Electronic Arts today announced exclusive licensing relationships with the National Football League and PLAYERS INC to develop, publish and distribute interactive football games. These five-year agreements—which EA negotiated separately—give EA the exclusive rights to the NFL teams, stadiums and players for use in its football video games. Both agreements also include exclusive rights for console online features. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

I suppose the makers of competing football video games can still produce their titles as long as they don’t mind the teams, players, and stadiums all being fictional, but somehow I don’t think the fans are going to think that’s a great idea. It’s certainly one way to put a screeching halt on Sega’s decision to sell their titles for $20.

11 thoughts on “You can choose any football video game you like as long as it’s from EA.

  1. I won’t be buying EA’s craptacularly made games for the next five years. Hell, I never really liked EA in the first place. They make some really shitty games anyway.

    I guess I’ll be playing NFL 2K5 for the next five years…Fuck EA! They make the worst fucking games albeit licensed or in-house, and I hope they rot in hell!

    Bitches!

  2. EA has put out quality games in the past but their Madden series, although a good all-round game and very fun, was bested this year by NFL2K5(sega). Not only were NFL2K5’s graphics and game play better than EA’s offering the $19.99 price tag was unbelievable for such a quality product. It’s a shame that Sega will be sidelined for the next 5 years considering how good this years offering was, who knows maybe Sega can land a deal with the NCAA and corner the college football game market. By limiting the competition EA can simply rehash the same version each year with no threat of competition. Genius… I guess.

  3. First, I could give fuck all about any of the sports games, EA or otherwise.

    Second, as a slight digression, has everyone seen the infamous easpouse letter that’s been floating around the blogosphere?

    Turns out that EA is a programming sweatshop.

    EASpouse Journal Entry

    And as an aspiring programmer with an interest in the creative side of gaming, I’m a bit concerned.  But I also realize that programming is a very time consuming task.

    Just another reason to not buy EA.

  4. An article on ESPN.com
    verifies that EA has definitely monopolized the professional football gaming industry.

    In a statement, Take-Two spokesman Ed Nebb disagreed.

    “We believe that the decisions of the National Football League and Players Inc. to grant an exclusive license for videogames do a tremendous disservice to the consumers and sports fans whose funds ultimately support the NFL, by limiting their choices, curbing creativity and almost certainly leading to higher game prices,” Nebb said. The game was “not a material contributor” to the company’s profitability, “nor was it expected to be,” Nebb said.

    An ESPN spokesman said the company will evaluate the impact that the deal has on the company’s licensing business.

    The EA deal continues an unprecedented business year for the league. In January, the NFL signed Visa to a six-year deal worth $400 million. In February, Gatorade ponied up $500 million for the right to be called the official sports drink of the league for the next eight years. And PepsiCo signed a contract worth $560 million to use the NFL shield on its Pepsi, Frito Lay and Tropicana products in March.

    I concur with Mr. Nebb, where will the incentive to continually produce a better game come from and what’s to stop the prices from increasing? Sega already proved that EA had an inferior product with the release of NFL2K5 and that the current price of EA games,$49.99, is excessive.

  5. This continues a trend in the NFL to increase revenues at every turn.  My wife and I are great Football fans of both Canadian and American football.  We have noted the tendancy to make every aspect of being an NFL fan cost money.  Will there be a fee to log in to NFL.com in the near future?  It wouldn’t surprise me.

  6. This would seem like a good opportunity for one of the big studios to turn to the Canadian Football game.  There’s one out there in development, but I can’t find it now.  Put a major studio on it and I’d probably cough up for it (I gave up on the repeated cycle of football updates years ago).

    It’s a better style of game anyway smile

    http://www.maximum-football.com/ handles it, but that wasn’t the one I was thinking of.

  7. Yeah,EA sucks arse.My main concern has always been thier pussy policy of no blood or gore.Hire Rouge Agent for a laugh sometime(DONT BUY) – The fuckers totally D.B.C :Design By Committee.Worst thing that ever happened with Command & Conquer;usurped by EA..

  8. Does EA’s deal only cover the NFL? How about the CFL? That could be a way for a cash-strapped innovator to possibily compete with EA with a real ‘league’ football game. Just an idea. If it took off maybe it would inspire/force EA to improve its product. Competition keeps you sharp!

  9. As much as I’d like to see a CFL game, I don’t imagine it will sell that well on the south side of the 49th parallel.  People want the NFL, not some weird, “bastardized” version of the game.

    But if someone made a half-assed CFL video game I’d snap it up, so to speak.

  10. I assume Sega can keep selling its NFL2K5.  Could they also re-release it as an anniversary/gold/(insert catchy meaningless descriptor) edition of the same game?  If so, could they also tweak the code to fix “bugs” so that it is an upgraded version of the original?  Also, again if so, could they add in/create a team editor and allow players to modify/create teams based on whatever they like and develope a way of allowing players to share said creations?  What if players create teams that just happen to have the names of current FB players and equivalent stats?

    I don’t pretend to know the legalities, but I bet it might work.  It would also be a nice “in your face” to EA.

  11. I’m not up on the legalities as well, but I’d bet that more than a few of those possibilities would cross a line or two. Some of them could be pulled off on the PC version perhaps, but probably not on the console version.

    But, as you said yourself, it’s purely speculation on our part as we’ve not seen the original contract for NFL2K5.

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