Electronic Arts recently stirred up the game industry with an attempt to buy out the NFL Players Association. The rumored deal had EA putting up $1 billion (yes, one BILLION dollars) to have exclusive rights to the the NFLPA in all of their video games for 4 years. I honestly don't think gamers realize how close we came to the end of football video games as we know them today.
Every year we are bombarded with football games. EA Sports has always some competition, though this era has proved EA is really the dominant force. None of the other franchises has come close to matching the Madden NFL series, not even Sega who's radically improved ESPN series has been beaten solidly on every console. EA obviously didn't think this was enough and tried for the monopoly.
What does the NFLPA liscense mean? Well, play a college football video game and you'll quickly get the idea. No player names, likenesses, or pictures. The NFL logos and team names would not have been included in the deal, but you'd be stuck with a field of players with only numbers on their back. "QB #7" would lead the league.
Does EA think that their not big enough? They finally came to a mega-deal with Microsoft to put their games on the X-Box Live service, though many believe this is only because MS decided to scrap their sports lineup for the year. They have destroyed Sega's excellent sports franchise, arguably more innovative than any of EA's recent products. They threw Sega from the Gamecube due to the abysmal sales, Nintendo won't even try to counter, and Sony has canned their franchises as well (though this was admittedly a quality issue).
What more could they possibly need? Beyond the fact that it's scary to think a game company actually can afford ONE BILLION DOLLARS, they still want more. They want every single gamer to have a copy of Madden in their house. Good buisness? In theory, sure. Good for the industry? Hell no.