Over the last few years, millions upon millions of people have had the chance to experience the numerous games from such companies as Electronic Arts, Sega Sports, 989 Sports, and countless others. The competition between these numerous companies has helped the sports genre achieve the status and magnitude that it is at today. But recently, a few interesting things have happened--causing a lot of people, including myself, to think that a dark cloud is looming over the horizon.
The problem all started when the NFL approached Sega Sports a few years ago offering them exclusive rights to all things NFL and the NFLPA. This includes stadiums, cities, player names and numbers. You name it, it was part of the deal. Apparently, the NFL wanted too much money and Sega Sports said no. EA caught wind of this and now EA holds the exclusive rights for all things football. Not only does EA hold all the cards to the NFL, but College Football and even the mostly unpopular Arena League. Who's to say they won't go after every high school football team in the country just to truly say they have exclusive rights.
But of course it doesn't end there. Since EA now holds all the exclusive rights to all things football, Sega Sports felt it had to latch on to another sport. They proceeded to pair up with another company and lock up the MLB license for a couple years. Thus locking out any 3rd party company from making a baseball game. Yet any 1st party company who wants to make one can.
Now this is a pattern that is causing a load of backlash in the gaming community, and I for one think it's warranted. Every year you wanted to try the differing versions of a particular sport to see which one was the best. But now with these companies locking up exclusive rights, you can't do that. It totally takes all of the competition out of it. If there's nobody to challenge you, you tend to get lazy and not put out as much effort as you used to do in the past, and this is what everyone is concerned about.
EA already has a reputation of just putting out another roster update. Thank god the NBA had enough sense to say they would rather have everyone have the opportunity to make a game for their product than to grant exclusive rights. Why can't everyone be as smart as them?
This article appeared in the July 2005 Issue of CVGames. You can view this Issue by clicking here.