Sign the Petition and Save Football Gaming

As some of you may have heard by now EA sports spent over 300 million dollars to buy exclusive rights to the NFL players, teams and stadiums for the next five years of gaming. This essentially kills ESPN Football and any other brand looking to make a competing product. Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality posted some excellent thoughts on the issue, I suggest you have a look if you're interested. As a community we can help try to turn this around or at least show EA and the NFL our displeasure. Click here to sign the petition asking the NFL to reverse the deal for the sake of the gaming industry and their own organization.

Another thing you can do is quit buying EA games new. If there is a title you simply must play buy it used, don't give them a cent. There may not be much we can do about this but you just never know what can happen.

Comments

I signed the petition. I don't think there is really anything that we can do, so I am just going to pout for the next five years. That and I am sure as hell not going to buy EA products during that period.

I signed too. Maybe other leagues will realize what a poor decision something like this is. The NBA, MLB, and NHL is hopefully watching this carefully. Variety is great, and competition always produces better games. It can't possibly be a bad thing to get your name out in as many ways as possible.

Ah, for a moment there I thought it was the one with the round ball.
Good luck with your strange Team Tactics simulator thingey.

I signed.

I don't even bother with football games but maybe one every 3 or 4 years, but this is still a very bad thing for the industry as a whole.

I hate football video games but I signed anyway... I'd hate to see this be the norm for all the people who do like them. Anyone wanna play some real back yard football...of course we'd have to go *gasp* Outside!?

I signed too. I hope this comes back to bite them in the ass.

Allah as my witness, I'll go without football next season before I'll play EA's offering.

The same goes for any of their other sports games. People crap on MS all of the time for stuff like this, but look was EA forced them to do to XSN sports (Including my beloved Links) in exchange for LIVE support! And their LIVE support for Madden '05 was a shadow of ESPN's.

NO DOUBT the other sports leagues are next. Nothing like having the world's second most annoying sports caster (I reserve first seat in my pantheon of annoying dickweeds for Dick Vitale) shoved down your gob.

Well, that makes my decision on whether to buy MoH: Pacific Assault easy for me. THANKS EA!

Petition signed, this is absolutely unacceptable. I'm going to drive over to EA Canada at lunch and punch someone in the face.

You better believe I signed.

I'm not sure I understand why this is such a big deal. I don't play sports games and am only a casual sports fan to begin with, so maybe it's below my "giva a s**t" threshold.

Help me out if you can. Is everyone upset because of the monopolistic act itself, or because EA's games suck?

If this NFL deal spells inevitable doom for all of the football games... Then listen, can EA while they are at it (or maybe some other behemoth of a corporation -- doesn't matter) buy up the exclusive rights from all of the "professional wresting" associations, and drive them all dumb 'rassling games out of existense as well? Please?

Fletch -- you should read the post over at Dubious Quality - it does a pretty good job of explaining why this could be bad for the game industry in general.

It's horrible for the games industry, it's like saying that the creators of Killzone can be the only ones to make FPS games.

EA is buying everyone outright, I don't want more than half of my games to be from them in the future. I like knowing that there is healthy competition.

I don't like EA playing Mafia and low-balling the Xbox because of Live. I don't like the way they treat their employees and I'm glad they got burned from that.

EA Bashed Over NFL Licensing Deal

Last year, there were at least a half-dozen NFL-themed video games on the market. Next year, expect there to be just a couple.

Days after video-game maker Electronic Arts signed a five-year deal with the National Football League that gives it exclusive access to the league's brands, stadiums and players, backlash against the arrangement has swelled, with the California-based company taking a beating in Internet newsgroups and the video-game press.

What the deal means is that beginning next season, only EA will be able to produce mass-market video games bearing the NFL's trademarks and players. Although the company produces the best-selling Madden NFL series, critics are concerned that with no competition, there will be no innovation, and EA essentially could put out the same football game every year with minor tweaks and updated rosters, and then sell it for full price.

EA has said it will continue to innovate, as it has done with its NASCAR, PGA Golf and FIFA soccer series, all of which it holds exclusive deals with. But the NFL arrangement has raised eyebrows, particularly because NFL-themed games are so popular. While other companies still will be free to produce pro football video games, gamers prefer realism and usually reject games that don't emulate the NFL.

"I'm really curious to see how EA will defend this, but at the end of the day, the consumer has fewer choices, and that's bad," said Michael Pachter, a video game industry analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles.

The deal also affects Manhattan-based Take-Two Interactive Software, which this year began distributing the ESPN brand of NFL games. The company's decision to price the game at about $20 - down from the typical cost of about $50 - cut a significant slice out of EA's market share. Moreover, the ESPN series received overwhelmingly favorable reviews. (In November, EA cut the cost of its Madden NFL game to about $30.)

Although Take-Two said that the ESPN game "was not a material contributor to our profitability to date," it said EA's arrangement will do "a tremendous disservice to the consumers and sports fans whose funds ultimately support the NFL."

In its 15-year history, EA said the Madden NFL series has sold more than 42 million copies. This year's version has sold about 2.7 million units through November, compared with about 2.1 million of the ESPN-branded game, according to market researcher the NPD Group in Port Washington.

The analyst Pachter also pointed out that once EA's five-year agreement ends, no other company is likely to bid to produce NFL-themed games because the intensive process of digitizing players' likenesses costs too much money. Also, the next two years will see the introduction of the next-generation game systems, further increasing the costs. "I do not blame EA for doing this," Pachter said. "They're in the business to make money. I blame the NFL. ...Five years from now, who's out there bidding? Nobody. EA's got them [the NFL] over a barrel."

*shug* this is a straight up business deal. The NFL owns the rights EA wanted to buy them... I really don't have a problem with this... ESP would have had the same option and in fact I'm sure they where given a chance to outbid for any of exclusive rights and just coudln't. I don't really get the hubub this is pretty much how things work, pay enough get an exclusive. A petition is going to do what, force them to turn down millions of doollars in revenue and the added bounes of only needing to work with one vendore for a few cycles? Seems iffy.

Well the NFL is basically a mafia-like organization anyway. They rule their kingdom with a harder fist than Disney. They've got to have their reasons for doing this. My guess is that there's something in it for them that we can't see between the headlines yet.

I think EA should just release the "SportsBox" Console, exclusively license every sport down to curling, and be done with it once and for all