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Comic for: July 14th, 2009
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Gaming News: "That's How it Seems"
Posted: Tuesday July 14th, 2009 by

A year and a half ago [apparently] UFC president Dana White went to EA with the idea of making a UFC-based game. When the suggestion wasn't "taken seriously" White took the idea to THQ. The result, UFC 2009 Undisputed, hit shelves this past May, has received positive reviews, and produced eyebrow raising sales, moving over one million units in the first month alone. Now EA Sports is releasing their own mixed martial arts title and White has threatened that any fighter that appears in the EA Sports MMA game will not be allowed to fight in the UFC. As of the time of this writing the UFC controls 90% of the mixed martial arts industry. EA Sports' MMA title is scheduled for release some time next year.
Source: MMA Junkie [ more info ]

Let's see...
In this corner, the UFC. Threatened with obscurity, due to unmitigated violence, lack of rules, and questionable business practices, it was drug back from the brink by Dana White. Now it's a sporting power house threatening to topple Boxing as the top sports draw in Las Vegas. And in this corner, EA. One of the most powerful game developers in the world, with deep pockets and a penchant for monopolizing sports markets within the game industry.

The UFC is a powerful monster within the world of mixed martial arts. EA is a powerful monster within the world of games. Now they're having a little pissing contest and we get to sit back and giggle.

If Dana White is to be believed [read that exactly as it's written], EA refused to even meet with him because mixed martial arts was disgusting and wasn't a real sport. And yet, after a game based on the UFC proved to be a viable addition to the market we see an EA MMA title pop up.

I'll tell you honestly, I think Dana White is exaggerating a bit. But at the same time, I have zero doubt that EA might pass on a game idea just to jump on the bandwagon later when that idea proves to be a success. Notice I didn't qualify that comment with the word "sports". I choose not to limit their greed. See, it's been a long time since I felt EA was about anything BUT the money. They pursue it aggressively crushing the IP, competing IP, and remotely-similar IP all under the same freakin' boot. They buy up the licenses, secure exclusivity, flood the market, regurgitate the product, and milk the genre dry.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't see a problem with wanting to make money or even with exhibiting a little bit of greed. We play games for fun. They make games for profit. Dana White is in a sports entertainment industry whose target audience heavily overlaps the core gamer demographic. It makes sense that he wants to get his hands into the mix and make some money too. And since he worked so hard to bring MMA out of its own little dark age, you can imagine that he wants to protect it against lingering claims that its disgusting or is not a real sport. So, if he thinks blacklisting fighters that choose to work with a company who seems to hold both of those beliefs will somehow maintain the integrity of his product... that's his decision to make. I'm not about to fault him for it. But, I'm not interested denying EA the right to make a game that capitalizes on a successful market either. Why would I care if they're being hypocrites to their own ideas? I'm not their Jiminy Cricket.

I'd say they should all just shut up and make some damn games. But then I got to make a 'pissing contest' comic based on the eye-rolling drama. So let them keep slapping at each other, I'll be here to heckle them both.

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