EA Sports to Return to PC

I read this article on shacknews this morning.  If you don’t want to read the article — it basically states that Electonic Arts (EA) is going to make sports games for Windows again in 2009 after taking a year off.

I am generally happy to hear this, but I hope they have really rethought their marketing strategy for the PC.  I really like playing games via the interenet on PC because there is so much more you can do than in a locked down environment like XBOX Live or PSN.  The other thing which is far superior on a Windows PC is the freedom to choose your controller.  I can use the great xbox 360 wired or wireless controllers perfectly on XP or Vista OR I can choose to play with a keyboard and mouse.  This is really where it is at for me and its why I spend more money on my PC.

I have to wonder what EA is thinking at this point.  Cancel the series…Bring it back….  I don’t get it.

In the past EA has half-assed their Windows versions of Madden.  They have left out control schemes, they have NEVER implemented force feedback, even though they natively support the XBOX 360 controllers, and they have used copy protection schemes that have rendered some of the games I have paid for unplayable in the past.  I think these reasons are enough to indicate why people may shy away from buying the PC version of Madden.

I hope they do a good job with the game and I hope people buy it, but I dont think people will and here is why.  We dont need to buy a whole new game every year.  It is just too expensive and after a new version every year since 1992, there isnt that much more to add.

I do have some suggestions for EA regarding Madden:

  1. Make a new engine every 5 years for the game instead of every year.  Use the model of First Person Shooters.  Build a really good engine that is tweakable year to year to take advantage of lessons learned.  This will lower some costs.
  2. Since you are now not reprogramming the game from scratch every year, dont sell a game every year.  Instead, make money from microtransactions.  ROSTER UPDATES are clearly something people will pay for.  I think EA could STILL sell up-to-date rosters for Madden 92 and some people would buy them.  I have never understood why this isnt supported and I really question the marketing people at EA for it.  You can sell other things too via live, psn, or even steam — skins for stadiums,  weather packs (fog, snow, hurrricanes, etc), new uniforms and many, many others.
  3. Here is another idea I have been toying with for Madden in particular.  I think it might make sense to not even sell the game (still DO sell microtransactions, of course), but rather give it away for free and support it via advertising.  The game is already riddled with adds.  Why not add internet conenctivity to these adds and deliver personalized or local adds during game play.  For example, say you are playing online and your opponent calls a time-out.  A commerical for Taco Bell could run full screen while players choose their play again.  At first people might find it invasive, but if the game was free, I dont think they would care, I for one would gladly trade some of my attention for a free game.

These are just a few of my ideas.  I certainly hope that EA reads this and thinks my ideas are good.  If not, well, I hope someone else does and uses the ideas first.  Compeition usually helps out the consumer.  If you are reading this, and you represent a game company or marketing company, please feel free to contact me.  I have alot more ideas as to how to make money using networking and video games.  I might jsut do some free lance work for you.