Well, Electronic Arts just bought exclusive rights to represent the NFL in sports games: http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/12/13/news_6114977.html
Well that's peachy. So let's see if I can trace back what this means; instead of spending money on making their games good, EA has spent a large amount of money to acquire a license to choke out its competitors. EA's usually a lazy company with sports games, but it's about to get a lot better (read, worse) now that they don't have to worry about competitors. Want to play an NFL game? You'll need EA.
Now, you might say that some people don't care about licenses and would rather buy the game with the highest quality. Well, those people probably don't play football games much in the first place (except maybe arcade games like NFL Blitz and NFL Street, the only type that don't let realism get in the way of a fun game. And I guess Midway will just have to call it Blitz now).
So, as long as EA doesn't lag far
behind its competitors, people will tend to buy their games. When fewer people buy other company's football games (and I reiterate, licensing is more important in the sports genre than in any other genre), EA can really start to goof off, just add a couple a little features and an updated roster each time... yeah, you think it's like that now, but it's not all that bad because competition keeps them moving.
The worst thing is when you consider the cash flows here. It used to be people paid money into games, that money makes its way to video game companies, some money for NFL licensing. Say that the world spent 100 million on football games last year, this would be a highly simplified hypothetical case:
- EA: 40 million
- Sega: 30 million
- NFL: 30 million
and now it's more like this
- EA: 50 million
- NFL: 50 million
Those are totally fake numbers, but this is what I say it has come down to. EA makes more, but the video game industry as a whole is weaker and the already bloated NFL gets tons of profits for it. Basically, it's closer to people paying NFL to make games. Smart for EA to do, bad for football games as a whole (there's just no doubt about that), and really monopolistic.
Honestly, given the allegations from workers that EA treats them like slaves, a company that more often waits to see what competitors are doing and ripping off their ideas, and now this monopolistic stuff that ends up hurting the gamers in the name of the bottom line... EA is really taking from the Microsoft school of thought.
How does everyone else feel about this? Post here or in your own journal..