15 year deal with ESPN too [details]
> EA gave the NFL hundreds of millions (read from 300 to 500) to be the exclusive
> NFL game provider for the next five years.
Doesn't really affect me since I don't play these games. But in my opinion, any exclusive just gives a developer an excuse to be lazy as it eliminates competition, and you're stuck with the only alternative.
On the other hand, it makes other developers even more competitive as they have to overcome the "shortcoming" of not having the NFL license. If you ask me, they will concentrate on college teams and drive the popularity of college football. They will also do the street football thing. College football games will be the next big thing, I think (they probably would have been with or without this deal anyway, it's been gaining traction as the NFL is getting over-commercialized). By granting exclusivity to EA, the NFL are risking the quality of their license, it was a bad decision for them, because there is no doubt that other companies will compete just as hard if not harder now that they don't have the license.
> I don't know if you guys are into sports games, but basically it was Madden and
> ESPN going toe to toe for best football game, with Madden winning the sales war
> but ESPN getting better reviews. ESPN even had a brand new $19.99 price point
> this year to try and take over, maybe that's what prompted this?
Sports games SHOULD be $19.99 because every year you're buying a new game just to get a stats increase and a slightly tweaked engine and updated playbook. That is not worth an extra $50, and there is no reason they shouldn't be offering downloads to the memory card for these updates. You can't turn around and sell last year's football game for more than $5 because nobody wants an outdated game so wtf is the point?
When SEGA released VF4, they did so at the normal price, and when they released VF4 Evo with two new characters and tweaked graphics, it was at $20, because VF4 had already sold so much and they wanted to thank customers. The game was just an upgrade of VF4, and next year's football game is just an upgrade of this year's.
The license grab also seems like a move by EA to keep their stock moving. EA says they want to dominate the video game software industry, and they need to keep up the momentum of that announcement by backing it up with extravagant moves that will grab them a lot of publicity. What EA wants to do now is stay in the news and make people percieve them as a company that will do exactly what they say, take over the market. This will drum up money from investors who think they're going somewhere, which will cause even more momentum, etc. What EA are hoping is that all of this hype gains them more publicity and this all snowballs into exactly what they want. Of course now they will be scrutinized more than ever so they had better be prepared to back this up if something stupid happens.