EA pulls Take Two's hair, calls MLB deal 'stupid money'

EA calls kettle black

Could EA worsen its public image any further?

Well, they’re right. Baseball games don’t sell enough to justify making any sort of deal like Take Two did.

Just curious why does everyone bash EA for the NFL deal?

Wasn’t it the NFL that decided it was going to sell exclusive rights and simply asked for the highest bids from all the game publishers interested? Correct me if im wrong about that. If it was the case than EA didn’t really have a choice but to be the highest bidder because losing a cash cow like Madden isn’t an option.

Still, the NFL games don’t sell well enough to justify the type of money EA put out, and even they are going to be hurting financially for awhile because of it. The next Madden had better be one of the best selling games ever, or EA is going to take a very big, ugly bath.

Stormcloud Creations

As EA profits go up they lay off more developers. Wow, what a great company EA is. So they’re goign to raise all our game prices due to monopolizing certain sectors of the games industry. I guarentee if there was Sega NFL football, EA’s football price would not be MSRP $60


I wonder how many DICE employees will jump ship first chance they have?

Didn’t Madden 2004 sell an insane number of copies, I forget but it was like 6-8 million… and despite NFL 2K5, Madden 2005 made big numbers. And now Madden 2006 won’t have to worry about the millions(?) it will lose to NFL 2K6, so… in conclusion, I think EA’s NFL money was worth it.

EA stole Visual Concepts’ best selling franchise. Take-Two stole EA’s least-performing sports franchise. See:

Downplaying the deal, Brown contextualized, placing sports in EA’s larger strategy. “Let’s start with the fact that baseball is a very small part of our business,” he said, adding that it is, “smaller than football, basketball, and soccer. It is also smaller than NASCAR, PGA Tour, and typically would be smaller than hockey. It is not a big piece of our business.”


Maybe if EA didn’t make garbage baseball games, they would sell more of them.

EA isn’t looking to make money off the NFL license in the short run.

They’re looking long-term. And I do mean long-term.

They eliminate their only competition. Games are getting more complex and costly to develop. When the NFL exclusive license expires, who’s going to make a game as good as Madden even if EA simply sits on its ass for the next half decade? You’re not just going to bring a team together to get it right the first time, and it’s not as if people are going to be making serious no-license football games for shits and giggles.

That’s a very good point, Jakub.

So, essentially they have created a de facto monopoly for football games.

The NFL? If EA screws around too much with the license the NFL will raise the price or take it to another bidder when the license expires. This is valuable to them too, EA needs to live up to that. I think it might be more cost effective, in the long run, for EA to innovate rather than sit back and count the cash.

Yeah, but Madden doesn’t get it right every year, either. Not even close.

And devs have come out of nowhere with great sports games in the past. The first NFL Fever, for instance, was quite good, even though it was Microsoft’s first football game. Same with WizBang!'s Microsoft Baseball 3D. If this exclusive deal is allowed to expire, someone will have a surprisingly good NFL game ready to go almost immediately. You can bet on it. All you have to do is poach a few devs from EA to get started.

I don’t think EA went into this deal willingly at all. Nor do I think there is any plan to make a profit here, long- or short-term. I think the NFL said it wanted an exclusive deal, possibly out of concern the price war initiated by Take Two this year with the 2K5 games would somehow diminish the value of the franchise name when it came to gaming. EA had to pay whatever price was asked, in order to maintain the credibility of the EA Sports brand. Or maybe EA heard about Take Two sniffing around about exclusivity, after the $19.99 idea didn’t result in as many sales as hoped, and jumped in with a deal that couldn’t be matched.

I dunno. It’s just hard to imagine EA would go after a deal like this, especially after ESPN NFL 2K5 didn’t seem to put much of a dent in Madden 2005 sales. Why spend the cash if you don’t need to?

One thing you can say for sure, though – Madden 2006 is going to be a good $10 more than its predecessor.

Download content will likely be at a premium, too. Remember when they were talking about charging PC players for playing online? Now that the competition isn’t there anymore, what’ll stop them from doing this?

ESPN NFL 2K5 didn’t seem to put much of a dent in Madden 2005 sales.
That isn’t exactly true. Didnt Madden 2004 sell much better than Madden 2005?

It is stupid money. EA has a very lucrative franchise in football games. Who the hell gives a frig about baseball, real or otherwise?

Also, EA sucks.

I’ve heard this line of thinking a couple of times, and while there’s merit to the idea that a budget-priced licensed game could tarnish the image of the license itself, I doubt that that’s the motivating factor here. The NFL was shopping for an exclusive license before 2k5 was announced at a budget price. Rather, the NFL could have seen their licensees drop from 5+ to 2 in one year (3 if you include 989’s PS1 game), and decided that it had better get the money for an exclusive deal while an “exclusive” deal still meant something. Why would EA drop the coin for an exclusive license after it had already driven all of its competition out of the market?

Ask that of Boston. :)

Well, Take Two already has competition other than EA.

Nintendo Pennant Chase Baseball, from the makers of World Series Baseball 2K3. Gamecube only of course.


How can anything gamecube only be considered competition for anything not?

People are likely to buy only one baseball game in a year. Many folks have more than one console at home. Nintendo is obviously competing with any released baseball game, whether it’s on their system or not.