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Entire XSN 2004 game lineup cancelled


Dan B.
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Originally posted by dogbert@Mar 29 2004, 09:19 PM

EA on Live then, or they're buying Visual Concepts from Sega/Sammy.

I could live with either, although I'd miss the ESPN license if the latter happens. Very interesting.

 

I could see any other publisher dumping the line up, but in general MS seems willing to sit on something with long-term visions of trucks full of cash even the marketplace is indifferent. What is MS's philosphy with publishing?

 

-j

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EA on Live then

 

My money is on that. I would hate to see ESPN go bye bye though I would be excited to see what Visual Concepts does if MS is indeed buying.

 

The Good: Possible EA on Live scenario or the addition of VC for 2005/Xbox dev.

 

The Bad: No Top Spin/Links/Amped follow up for a good while :cry: (though Top Spin and Amped are noted as not being "every year" games)

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Wow. This is very interesting. I did not buy NFL2K4, as I have employed an every-other-year attitude with sports games. If NFL2K5 has XSN-like support, I'm likely to be thrilled with this years game. Perhaps Microsoft is buying visual concepts from Sega (not too far fetched since it has underperformed for Sega). Or maybe EA is plugging into Live this year. All of these would be good in my opinion.

 

Exciting news.

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The Bad: No Top Spin/Links/Amped follow up for a good while

 

That was my initial thought. At least RCS2 is unscathed.

 

EA Sports coming to Live, that sounds nice to me, especially if they bring the "Big" games too, SSX4 on Xbox Live sounds like a treat. I hope this happens.

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What's the story behind EA not making games Live-enabled? Some bad-blood with Microsoft? Seems quite odd.

Assuming you don't know, EA's ideal online business model is not compatible with Microsoft's model.

 

MS Model

Microsoft subsidizes online platform free for all developers, but not free for customers. Developers can charge additional fees to customers at their discretion

 

EA Model

EA creates private network, exclusive to them, that they wish to use for online gaming, charging customers at their discretion.

 

Microsoft's model is ideal for a developer who can't or don't want to develop their own network. Developers are compelled to develop online features as it gives their games a competitive feature (e.g. Return to Castle Wolfenstein sold relatively well on XBox likely because of its online features).

 

This model is not ideal for EA since they have invested in an expensive online network which they want to leverage to make back their investment, and they see Microsoft's model as less than ideal for turning their online features into a new profit machine... the holy grail of monthly services charges like the cable and telephone industry have succeeded in doing.

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Developers can charge additional fees to customers at their discretion

 

I think this still has to be approved by Microsoft on a per-case basis. That they will approve fees for large persistent-world games (as an example), but not for a simple basketball game or first-person shooter.

 

I could be wrong, though.

 

This model is not ideal for EA since they have invested in an expensive online network which they want to leverage to make back their investment

 

I think it has less to do with their previous investment than the fact that they want to make a profit from online gameplay (as opposed to just game sales), period. Even their PS2 games come with disclaimers that they can start charging at any time. I think they also want the ability to restrict/eliminate online play of 'obsolete' titles (Madden 2003 right now would be an example), and I think they also want all of the subscriber information (like your home address) for marketing purposes.

 

I could be wrong on some/all of these points as well.

 

However, all models in such a new niche are going to be subject to constant re-evaluation by all parties.

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I don't see how someone takes this news and assumes that EA is going to be online and/or MS is going to buy Sega's sports line up. I'm quite sure it simply IS to do with the fact that, with the exception of Top Spin and Links, the games were simply not up to par with the competition in terms of quality and sales.

 

In the Sports arena where the development cycles are so short to begin with, playing catch up is not where you want to be, and skipping a year so that you can get caught up is pretty much the only way to do it, unless you're going to have multiple teams working on the same game.

 

This is not completely unprecedented. EA scrapped many of their first generation of 32-bit titles (the '96 year) because it was not up to snuff (most notably Madden). Sony has done the same thing recently with NHL Faceoff, and I think they did it with MLB also.

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Guest Bryan

Wow. I am really disappointed for Links more than any other XSN title. I hope this means they will continue to produce DLC for the rest of the year. I'd like to see at least three or four more courses for the current game.

I agree that they need to scrap some of the other sports titles and reinvent them. I hope MS has an agreement in place with EA to Live'n up this year's titles. I also hope the ESPN franchise has legs for at least another year.

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I think people suspect that it'd take a mighty big sweetener to get EA to support Live with their sports range, a sweetener like Microsoft pulling out of the market for a while.

 

There were similiar rumours about the PS2 launch where Sony's in house games all got delayed/cancelled.

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The project manager of Links, TS, and Amped:

 

With the announcement yesterday I have to be especially careful in what I say. I can say we are working very hard on the next version of Links, Top Spin and Amped. There are no plans at all in place to stop the work on these titles. We just passed a big milestone review for Links and some of the work that is in game and playable is really exciting but I can't say what that is yet (sorry) but I can say a lot of our focus in on multiplayer.

 

I'm super confident that when we launch the next version of Links it will be a much bigger hit then it was this time. I just can't talk about availability at this time (again sorry).

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Originally posted by iainl@Mar 30 2004, 10:19 AM

Speculation: XSN as a brand seems to have failed, and those matching (but terminally dull) box designs stayed on the shelf. Could this be XSN itself getting pulled, and individual titles going back to a release or not on a case-by-case basis?

This is pretty much what I thought when I read the article. It is entirely possible that the EA or VC scenarios are not going to happen and that all MS is doing is going in a different direction in terms of marketing some of their in-house titles. The quote from the PM seems to further that theory.

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Speculation: XSN as a brand seems to have failed, and those matching (but terminally dull) box designs stayed on the shelf. Could this be XSN itself getting pulled, and individual titles going back to a release or not on a case-by-case basis?

I think that making a brand like XSN for a sports franchise is a good idea (EAsports anyone?). I think though that online features like tournament/season play using a web interface was too closely integrated with the brand. This type of functionality should be available for all games, including Halo 2 and other 3rd party games like ESPN football. The whole XSN brand should have been separated from XBlive exclusive features. I think that was mistake.

 

I think that is being corrected though. I bet/hope that games like MechAssault 2, Halo 2, ESPN 2K5, Half-life 2, Rainbox Six 3, etc. will all have XSN-like features.

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