By: Colby Martin
This year is a strange year for sports gamers since both Madden and MLB 2k have their exclusive deals expiring. Most people believe that exclusive games have only hurt the consumer. However, some have argued that it hurts the companies. 2k has very openly said that the exclusive deal was bad for them, that they want to get out of that practice as soon as they can. However, EA has largely been in favor of it and continues that practice. Look at their recent deals with Porsche, Wimbledon (Grand Slam Tennis 2), and their 1 year extension of the NFL license. Some of these deals aren’t that big, but with the loss of Porsche in Forza 4 it punished the consumer, the loss of the 4 Grand Slams in any other Tennis Simulation is only punishing the consumer, and lastly, the NFL license killed what many sports gamers call the greatest simulation franchise ever in NFL 2k. While two of these license aren’t really killing other titles since most titles survive without them, the NFL franchises have hurt from it. Take a look at Madden’s continual decline the past 5 years (this is my opinion, and admittedly the last 2 entries in the series have definitely been improvements). While there are some areas that have gotten better, the overall package has been hurt. Go play Madden 05 on PS2 or XBOX, then play Madden 12 on 360 or PS3. Tell me which one plays better, which has a deeper franchise, and which overall is the better sim package. For most sports gamers, the little things stand out. These little things are blocking schemes, wideout/defensive back interactions, zone coverages, quarterback motions, and so on. All of these areas feel like they have declined since the exclusive deal was inked. Could this just be new technology, or does the deal make developers lazy since they know they own the market?
This wasn’t intended to be a griping and complaining post, it is more of a survey. I’d like to see more open competition in sport video games. I’d like to see more companies enter the arena and the consumer support the one they prefer, not the one the league likes more.
Tell me what you think, are exclusive deals going away this year, or will we see some return?