EA took to the stage before anyone else at this year’s E3. In fact, they showed up a full three days before the show floor opens up to the press. As such, there’s a certain amount of excitement that goes along with the commencing conference.
EA said out of the gate that they would “go deep” into eight new experiences during their conference. They kept this promise, showing off, in order:
- Madden NFL 18
- In the Name of the Tsar (Battlefield 1 expansion)
- FIFA 18
- Need for Speed: Payback
- A Way Out
- Anthem (new IP from Bioware)
- NBA Live 18
- Star Wars Battlefront II
Not a half-bad line-up, right? There’s two shooters, a racer, two new IP’s, and three sports games. It’s those three sports games that make a lot of gamers tune out during the conference. But maybe we should pay more attention. Here’s why we shouldn’t mind that EA Sports will always be a focus at E3.
Why EA Sports Matters
First and foremost: people play sports games. Madden is typically the best selling game the month it’s released. FIFA is one of the best selling series of all time, selling over an estimated 100 million copies worldwide. NBA Live 16 didn’t receive the best reception, but they’ve gone back the the drawing board and are pushing forward with the series.
Madden NFL 18
Madden NFL 18 is sure to be a big hit, regardless of if they show it off during E3. Still, there’s new information they dug into at the conference. They focused on Madden‘s story mode, “Long Shot”. In this, it appears that you begin as a single character in childhood, slowly making your way to pro status. Even if we know Madden NFL 18 is going to be at E3, even if we know it will have a story mode, it’s important for EA to get that new information out there. Especially to gamers watching that might not already play Madden.
FIFA is a known quantity. Knowing this, EA focused less on new gameplay features and focused more on the esport and social aspects surrounding the it. They took time to bring out “Men in Blazers,” a British duo comprised of Roger Bennett and Michael Davies. They do a weekly podcast about soccer, specifically tailored towards an American audience, have celebrities on their show, and have done a lot of work towards expanding soccer’s audience in the States. EA also showed off an updated version of “The Journey,” FIFA‘s story mode, and spoke about how soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo, like many other players, did motion capture work to make the game as authentic as possible.
NBA Live 18
NBA Live has been struggling. After a disappointing performance from NBA Live 16, EA decided to skip last year’s installment. Showing off NBA Live 18 on stage shows that they have confidence in the series, and want to get it out to the public once more. They focused on “The One,” NBA Live 18‘s story mode that’s centered on the journey your character makes (a reoccurring theme through EA Sports story modes, as of late). It’s important that they show their confidence in the series after its brief respite.
EA Showed Restraint
EA Sports games sell, people care about them, and they can be released regularly without starting from scratch with each game. As such, it’s totally expected for sports games to show up at EA’s press conference. Sure, we KNOW they’ll be there, but EA actually showed a bit of restraint with their sports games this year.
They intentionally didn’t show off NHL 18 or Rory Mcllory PGA Tour 18 because they’re aware most gamers get sports fatigue. Both titles are big sellers for them, but instead of allowing sports games to dominate half of their conference, they pulled back and mixed in other genres to keep audiences attention.
In past years, they’ve lumped all of their sports games together into a single, massive segment. Though it makes sense to do so, many gamers completely tuned out during these segments. By interjecting three EA Sports titles throughout the conference, they didn’t fatigue gamers who aren’t interested in the genre.
EA Sports will always matter to EA. Their sports titles generate too much revenue for it not to. Even if they do slow down the conference for some, it’s time we just accept their presence and pay attention to the changes they’re bringing to their franchises. For more E3 2017 news, stay tuned to The Game Fanatics.