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NBA says no to EA


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December 20, 2004 - Rumors, rumors everywhere, and everyone is talking about one thing, EA's attempt to take over the world...or at least the world of video games.

Last week, Electronic Arts, the NFL, and Players Inc. sent shockwaves throughout the gaming industry as they announced an unprecedented five-year exclusivity partnership. But it looks like Electronic Arts had even bigger plans as they also had talks about an exclusive arrangement with the NBA. Sources have told me, however, that the NBA has rejected EA's initial offer.

One of the reasons is that the NBA Live series simply doesn't have a stranglehold on the market the way Madden has for years, so by signing an exclusive deal with EA, the NBA would actually be losing money. There are simply too many NBA video game properties that sell big units for the deal to make sense, from the ESPN NBA series to NBA Ballers to 989's games that are set to hit both the PS2 and PSP.

Sources aren't quite as clear in terms of potential dealings with Major League Baseball as a few publishers were worried a deal was already in place for EA to step in and take over like they did with the NFL. But after the EA/NFL deal went down, at least one publisher was able to re-up their MLB contract for three more games, so it looks like a false alarm as the only exclusive EA was able to lockup for the time being was the NFL.

In other EA news, they were able to purchase 20% of Ubisoft on Monday. What does that have to do with sports games, you might ask. Well, Ubisoft is developing the And1 street hoops game to compete with NBA Street V3. Whether or not this puts an end to the game's development, we'll have to wait and see.

-- Jon Robinson

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This whole EA trying to get all the major sports organizations has got me to thinking... how much better would WWE games be if THQ wasn't the only company allowed to produce games for them? Imagine if THQ, Sega, and EA all made a WWE game every year?

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