It looks like the people from THQ have grown some balls since hanging out with Dana White. The company was literally on death’s door this time last year, but with UFC 2009 going platinum and UFC 2010 looking to continue the good times, THQ seems like they’re feeling pretty good. Here’s their VP Don Gold shit talking video game juggernaut EA’s MMA offering:
EA, which is a very well known company and who makes big sports games, they couldn’t get our license. They were not fans of the UFC, they were not fans of mixed-martial arts–and they decided to change their business plan and became a “me-too” company and create a “me too” fighter. They couldn’t get what they really wanted, so they tried to create a game that would compete with us. We have a lot of respect for them, but there’s nothing in that game that would entice me or anyone I know that’s an MMA fan to buy it. If you want stars, the best organization, the best graphics, you’re going to stick with what you bought last year because this year’s game is even better. And the fact that we didn’t cheat or cut corners in 2010, I think our fans are going to be very happy.
This makes me wonder: is he right that MMA fans really won’t be all that interested in EA’s game? We’ve already seen that the UFC owns the market on event pay per views. Where they regularly break the 500k buyrate number, other companies blow a load in their pants if they hit six figures. While we like to think MMA fans are a hardcore bunch that will buy everything that comes out, perhaps it’s a lot more accurate to say that hardcore MMA fans will buy everything because they’re hardcore, but how many of those are there out there?
I’m really interested in knowing what the casual fan’s opinion on this game is. Do they see it on par with those old non-licensed sports games had fake teams and players? Or are people going to see it more as a college league version? Or will gamers let the thing stand on it’s merits as a fighting game on it’s own, regardless of it’s affiliations and fighters?
Everyone in the MMA scene seems pretty hyper focused on the upcoming battle, but the big question will be how hard EA pushes it to the rest of the world and how they respond. If the game ends up only catering to the hardcores, the title is going to fail because as many other promotions out there have already learned, there’s a world of difference between MMA’s popularity and the UFC’s.