We all know that EA Sports MMA has had some pretty pathetic sales figures and has been proclaimed "DOA at retail." Coupled with the cancellation of NBA Elite 11, this has so far been a rough fall for video game juggernaut EA Sports.
Here's video game website Kotaku with their thoughts on the future of EA Sports MMA:
EA Sports MMA and UFC Undisputed are a rare pairing, being directly competing licensed sports titles with different ship dates. So you had to figure EA's coming-out party meant open season to its nemesis. And the announcement fit the character of the rivalry well; Dana White, the voluble president of the UFC, has chosen to publicly nurse a grudge with EA Sports, going back to a slight he says the publisher gave the emerging fight promotion when it sought to do a video game earlier in the decade.
So there was EA Sports MMA on stage, smiling and waving to the prom, with that exclusive UFC pact up in the rafters like the bucket of pig's blood in Carrie.
In the two weeks since, some have been quick to bury EA Sports MMA as a one-and-done experiment. The UFC is the top-of-mind brand in mixed martial arts, and where EA Sports MMA's combat and career system was praised, it brought in fewer real-world fighters (60) than UFC Undisputed 2010 (99), many of them much less visible.
But I hope EA Sports MMA hangs in for another round, and I think it will. The general mood, one I endorse, is that its grappling system is more simplified and intuitive than UFC Undisputed - though for some UFC has a stronger strike mechanic. That's fine, but the clinch and ground game - especially submissions - are what separate mixed martial arts from boxing. The consensus also seems to be EA Sports MMA's submission gameplay is better than Undisputed's, which this year ditched button-mashing for a "shine system," that didn't appeal to many.
A competitor in the mix has already pushed UFC Undisputed to a two-year development cycle. Its next set of improvements will no doubt answer what EA Sports MMA did well. Sports gamers need alternatives. But they are especially important to an emerging sport with a young console history. It's ironic that EA Sports - whose exclusive license agreements have long made it cartoonishly portrayed as a brake on innovation - is in the role of providing it here.
Here's a comment following the article that discusses the concept of "sunk costs":
The last thing that should be on EA's mind when they make this decision is how much they spent to make this game. That money is spent no matter what. The question is, should they spend more? Releasing an EA MMA 2011 or 2012 isn't free. Running ads aren't free. That money could be spent elsewhere in the company.
It's true that MMA is fledgling but I feel like you are understating UFC's position here. UFC is pretty dominant, it's fighters command the most attention, it's a brand and it's a culture. The rest of MMA is chasing it every step of the way, right down to the knock-off TV shirt designs. I don't see UFC becoming less dominant anytime soon.
When I played the EA Sports MMA demo, I didn't really care for it. However, after reading the mostly positive reviews for the final product I decided that I'll pick up the game once it comes down from its $60 price tag. It's a shame that the game has done so poorly at retail because word is that there's a ton of potential with the franchise.