E3 is going down this week and out of the blue comes the interesting news that Electronic Arts now owns the rights to develop UFC video games. From the press release:
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) announced today a licensing agreement with Zuffa, LLC, to produce and distribute videogames bearing its Ultimate Fighting Championship ® (UFC) brand. The new multi-year, multi-product partnership will provide EA the exclusive rights to develop UFC videogames, which will be developed and marketed under the EA SPORTS™ brand.
“We’re thrilled to begin a long-term partnership that will bring fans incredibly authentic, and deeply connected, UFC videogames,” said Andrew Wilson, EVP and Head of EA SPORTS. “UFC has become a global powerhouse because they have the world’s best fighters, competing in the world’s best mixed martial arts events. We share UFC’s passion for the sport, and we look forward to capturing all of the intensity and excitement of the action with unique new game experiences across a range of platforms.”
Zuffa has licensed to EA the UFC rights previously held by THQ, Inc. (THQI).
“We’d like to thank THQ for creating some of the most critically-acclaimed sports videogames of this console generation, and we’re excited to enter a new relationship with EA that will help us deepen our connection with fighting fans around the world,” said UFC President Dana White. “There’s no one better at creating authentic sports videogames than EA SPORTS, and we’re excited to have a partner who shares our vision of deep, connected and multi-platform global game experiences.”
What’s fun about all this is it wasn’t a case where the UFC’s deal with THQ was up and Dana decided to go with EA for a better deal. Nope! Rather, EA went and bought the rights from a financially shaky THQ for an ‘undisclosed cash payment.’ So now Dana White is now in a position where the people he was ‘at war’ with now own the rights to develop UFC games until 2018. Not like that is going to result in anything other than a few awkward meetings. Dana has buried the hatchet with many people in the past, and EA is more about quarterly profits than dick swinging contests. Ah money, the universal peace maker.