Electronic Arts (EA) has been the leader in developing sports video games since 1993. They own popular game series such as NBA Live, FIFA, NHL, Madden NFL, and NASCAR. They established themselves as the most dominant sports game developer by focusing their games to portray reality as best as technology would allow. And unlike some other companies, they don’t have any special ties to a single platform, which means that EA can release their games for the best-selling active platform.
Being a sports fan, I’ve rented and played all of their sports games for PS3 and I have nothing but great reviews for each game. The life-like gameplay and graphics are amazing, which points to how remarkable it is that our technology has evolved so quickly and to perfection. It seems like just a while ago I was playing my Super Nintendo. If I were to clean the dust that has settled on that system and play NHL 95 I would be horrified because the graphics are ridiculously bad. I love the fact that I am witnessing such a rapid progression in technology.
Lets focus in on NHL 08 . The game was released on September 13, 2007 in North America and it won Gamespot’s “Best Sports Game of 2007” award.
- Tagline: “No game is ever the same”
- Covers: Eric Staal (Main), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden), Teemu Selanne (Finland), Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic), Mark Streit (Switzerland)
- Released for: Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Windows
- Skill Stick System:The Skill Stick gave you the power to deke the goalie in NHL 07. Now you can more easily control the puck and own the 1-on-1 matchup by dekeing opposing defenseman. You can use your stick to push the puck into space and walk around your defender. Once you’re all alone in front, improved stick handling and shooting accuracy will give you the toolset to embarass the goaltender.
- Improved AI: Dynamic AI adjusts to your every move both on offense and defense, challenging even the most skilled gamers. The intelligent CPU scouts your tendencies like a coach and makes the necessary adjustments to shut down your money plays, forcing you to adjust your style of play and try different strategies.
- Custom Plays: This feature allows you to act as a coach and create any play that you can imagine. You take your team into practice mode and work on creating a custom play. Then watch your team execute it in the game as you decide when to use it.
- Goalie Mode: Here you can control your goalie with a new 3rd person camera and make those crucial saves instead of relying on the CPU.
- Develop AHL Players:For the first time ever, the game features the 29 teams of the American Hockey League. Players are able to develop talent through the AHL and then call up their prospects to play ing the NHL.
- Authentic Presentation: From player likeness, to the signature jersey tucks and sock preferences, each player was developed with a lot of attention to detail to create a truly authentic on-ice experience. Additionally, as the NHL transitioned to the Rbk Edge jerseys, with new color patterns, striping and even new logos for some teams, for the 2007/08 NHL season, EA Sports was able to place all 30 teams new jerseys in the game before the start of the season.
Rbk Edge Jerseys
All of this is great for the game, but I would like the NHL to advertise and take advantage of EA Sports’s established gamer-base. Currently, the game is made solely by EA and the league doesn’t have anything to do with it. But I feel like its a great opportunity to target avid hockey fans who cannot get enough of the NHL. When I play the game I cannot find anything that advertises tickets, the NHL’s website, or any of its online content for that matter. Both entities can mutually benefit from a partnership. The league can advertise the game on national TV and the game can market certain things about the league to a relevant target market. Working together would increase the profits and exposure of both the NHL and EA.
Ads can be placed in tons of places in the game. Right now, EA is advertising new Rbk Edge jerseys, sticks, and skates on the players in the game. But as the game is loading, ads for tickets, NHL.com, and clothing can be thrown in. Additionally, if you take a look at the boards of the rink, you notice the advertisements for Rbk, Upper Deck, and others:
This is a great spot for the NHL to place its website address or other online content and news sources. Another interesting place to include advertisement is when a gamer goes online. Here the NHL can advertise games and tickets, post news articles, links to its Youtube and Myspace sites, and have clips of recent games.
There is so much this game can do for the NHL to increase its fan base and popularity. Just think about it. If a gamer decided to rent NHL 08 and open up to the the world outside of shooter games, there is a chance that he may like hockey because of the game. Then maybe he will watch a game on TV and next thing you know, he is buying tickets for games and inviting friends to come along. There is so much potential here and I am very interested if the NHL will move its advertising efforts into the video game industry.
Hopefully they do!
EA Sports’s NHL Playoff Simulator has the San Jose Sharks defeating the Montreal Canadiens in this year’s Stanley Cup Final. (http://sports.espn.go.com/videogames/news/story?id=3044085)