Source: A series of reports stemming from a survey on market-research site Utalkback.com.
What we heard: In 2004, consumers reaped the benefits of a bruising sports game price war. After Take-Two Interactive and Sega slashed the prices of their copublished line of ESPN games to $19.99, Electronic Arts reciprocated by lopping $10-$20 off four top EA Sports titles. The frugal era didn't last long, however. Before the year was over, EA had locked down exclusive NFL rights, and secured the ESPN game license in January 2005.
Now, though, several online sources indicate that EA Sports may be readying another mass discounting program. According to a scan obtained by Gamer 2.0, Utalkback.com asked its users--who are compensated to take surveys--if they would be interested in a free "Season Pass" that would discount all EA Sports games by 33 percent. Another version of the same ad posted on Flickr lowers the discount to 22 percent. Both ads, however, list the same games--most of which have not been formally announced--as being part of the program: Madden NFL 2010, NCAA 2010, FIFA 2010, NBA Live 2010, Fight Night Round 4, NHL 2010, Skate 3, UEFA Euro, NFL Head Coach 10, NFL Tour, and FaceBreaker 2.
The official story: GameStop had not returned request for comment as of press time. However, EA Sports issued the following statement: "We believe in the future that there are unique opportunities to launch a subscription-based program, however we have no announcements to make at this time. There is no credibility to the image being referenced."
Bogus or not bogus?: Officially, this particular piece of art is bogus. However, by EA's own account, it is considering some sort of discount program. Whether it is enacted, what the program would be, and how it might be offered remains to be seen.