EA Sports cancells FIFA Manager series

“One game has practically dominated the market in recent years”

FIFA Manager

EA Sports has cancelled its FIFA Manager series, with the franchise founder citing competition and technology as major factors.

“The football manager genre at this level of sophistication is highly specialised and primarily played in two countries (England and Germany), in which – on top of everything – one game has practically dominated the market in recent years,” explained Gerald Köhler.

“The niche market and general trend toward online and mobile games were also contributing factors. Moreover, FM had reached a crossroads at which a new engine and/or corresponding online technology would be the only way to give the series a boost. When all these factors were evaluated, it led us to the decision to blow the final whistle.”

The series Köhler refers to in the statement is almost certainly Football Manager from Sports Interactive.

FIFA Manager started out as Total Club Manager 2003, released in 2002, but 2005 brought a change of name with FIFA Manager 06.



League of Legends aims for more big corporate sponsors

Riot hopes to pave the way for companies to sponsor eSports just as much as regular sporting events.


The third season of The League of Legends World Championship recently concluded, and the online game remains as popular as ever. In fact, it’s now the number one game in China, and the growth of the title is clearly helping to fuel the maturation of eSports as a whole. Riot Games has managed to attract significant corporate sponsors like American Express, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Nissan and others, and it’s a trend that Riot execs have every intention of continuing.

“I think over time the eSports ecosystem is going to evolve its economics. Part of the reason we’ve been focused on bringing some giant sponsors into the mix, such as the recent Coke announcement and American Express, is to help pave the way for a broader ecosystem of companies to get involved in eSports the same way they do in other sports,” Brandon Beck, Riot CEO, told the [a]list daily.

The eSports phenomenon is fairly new to those in advertising, but big companies are learning fast and they want to get a piece of the gaming audience. “The Coke sponsorship is really cool,” Beck continued. “They came to us and they said ‘We’re interested in contributing to the ecosystem, and we don’t want to do a typical media buy or anything like that. How can we put our dollars to work to help the sport and the community around the sport?’ And we said ‘We’ve got this Challenger league that we’re working.’ They contributed their own set of ideas. They talked about an Olympic-style training facility and the teams brainstormed and Coke contributed a bunch of really great ideas. We also think that their involvement is going to help convince other sponsors.”



First Xbox One TV ad features no games

Half-minute spot for North American market focused on NFL fantasy football, Skype functionality

Microsoft has added the first North American Xbox One television ad to its official YouTube channel, and surprisingly, it doesn’t feature any games. Instead, the 30-second spot is focused on the NFL on Xbox One initiative, which lets users watch games while receiving personalized fantasy football updates on the edge of the screen, or while using Skype video chat.

The system’s first TV ad is risking a similar reaction to its first media briefing. When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One in May, it received criticism for, among other things, focusing its event on sports and TV functionality rather than games. The company responded at the time by promising that Xbox One’s E3 showing would be “all about the games.” As of this writing, the YouTube ad has more than 5,000 likes and dislikes, with the latter outnumbering the former by nearly 2:1.

First Xbox One TV ad features no games

The ad was revealed just before the NFL regular season kicked off with a Denver Broncos-Baltimore Ravens game last night. The Xbox One is set to launch in North America on November 22, which means football fans will have limited time to enjoy those features during the regular season, which concludes December 29.

The NFL on Xbox One partnership is reportedly costing Microsoft $400 million over five years. Beyond the Xbox One integration, it will also see Microsoft’s brands receiving placement during NFL broadcasts, with logos on or around the field, and possibly coaches calling players using Surface tablets.



American Express: “League Of Legends” offers real sports opportunities

As important a partnership as the “US Open or LA Kings,” says first blue chip company to enter the eSports arena.

American Express: League Of Legends

Electronic Sports, or eSports, has been riding the success of Riot Games’ League of Legends over the past few years. Thanks in part to the explosion of livestreaming through Twitch and the global appetite to watch pro gamers compete, and even practice, playing the world’s number one game; Riot has attracted its first blue chip sponsor with American Express. And more are sure to follow as the company has over 32 million active players.

“From an engagement perspective, Riot Games is a great partner because League of Legends isn’t just about these huge live events, it’s also about the time spent playing the game and watching others playing the game for research and strategies,” said Ian Swanson, vice president of Enterprise Growth at American Express. “We want to reach the male millennial audience on a consistent basis. These millions of gamers aren’t just watching things live on Twitch, but many times afterward to learn from the pros. And they’re also actively talking about it.”

American Express is a sponsor of LCS and the upcoming World Championship at Staples Center. “American Express is also a US Open sponsor, what this means for eSports is that we’re stepping up and saying this is no longer niche,” explained Swanson. “This is a large audience that’s strategic to our goals as a company to reach. Just as you see American Express at the US Open or LA Kings hockey games at the Staples Center, you’ll see us at LCS.”

“We told them that Riot would sell out Staples Center in a day, and then we were able to go back and tell them they sold out in an hour, so it was clear we made the right choice”

Ian Swanson

“We showed a video from the LCS Season 2 championship game at USC Galen Center to a bunch of execs at American Express and they were shocked at the fans and how excited they were and how proud the athletes were when they won,” said Swanson. “We told them that Riot would sell out Staples Center in a day, and then we were able to go back and tell them they sold out in an hour, so it was clear we made the right choice.”

“Our participation will hopefully help legitimize eSports and help bring in other brands and other sponsors,” said Swanson. “The real testament goes to the players and quality of the game Riot has produced. We’re almost on the ground floor of eSports. In the next two to five years this thing is going to be much bigger than it is. And it’s already tens of millions of people watching around the world.”

Dustin Beck, vice president of eSports at Riot, adss that the company is leaps and bounds ahead of where they thought they’d be in the eSports arena.

“All we can do is guarantee fans we have a focus on delivering high-quality, engaging experiences and that’s our first and foremost attribute,” said Beck. “We’re going to start doing more global experiences with fans. We have five distinct leagues in China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and we just launched in countries like Brazil, Russia and Turkey. It’s a unique situation where we have a global sport that is tough to benchmark outside of any sport except maybe FIFA or the Olympics.”

And it’s also unique in that most mainstream companies, which are struggling to connect with millennials, have yet to capitalize on this gaming audience. American Express is the first, but certainly won’t be the last.



Are We All Just High-Score Junkies?

‘CTW’. That’s what I identified myself by in the years before I created a PSN ID. Prior to the fancy profile names, we were all just three initials on the arcade high-score screen. My ‘CTW’ was right there above ‘BLT’ and just below the one lucky enough to have their initials be ‘ASS’ (Wait… what? You mean it’s not Anthony ‘Simon’ Severino?).

Gamers would frequent their local arcade machines and load them full of quarters until they were able to display their initials over somebody else’s on those early leaderboards. At home, we constantly fought to take down the computer programmed high scoring tiers, most often topped by the enigmatic ‘AAA’, unless the developers decided to get more creative and call him ‘BOB’. People told us we were crazy for devoting so much time and effort to high scores. “It’s just a game” they said.

Competition is ingrained in human history. Largely barbaric in nature, we have been competing for as long as man-beasts could grunt out “Up Yours!”. Some may be friendly competitions while others may be all out war, but we are always competing for the high-score. Mankind continues to compete today through such barbarism as American football, wrestling, UFC fighting, and chess tournaments. Video games have aptly followed suit inallowing encouraging our competitive nature.

The draw of games and their replayability used to be in playing for a high-score. Classics like TetrisSpace Invaders, and Pong have little-to-no purpose aside from simply getting the highest score. There was no underlying story or overarching themes such as equality for all shapes of blocks. Tetris did not star Nathan Drake and Space Invaders was not the origin story of Master Chief. Even games that provided a ‘story’ kept track of a score in the corner of the screen, as was the case with Mario.

One of the common complaints about modern games is in length. Less than ten hours is often considered to be too short for a campaign, but could you imagine a nine hour campaign on Tetris? Or seven hours facing off against a friend in Pong? Gamers didn’t play these games for their stories or their campaigns. They played for the high-score and competition.

Call of Duty may be the best example of a modern-day extravagant version of PongCall of Duty caters to the competitive nature for gamers that don’t necessarily want a lengthy story or campaign. How many Call of Dutyplayers do you know that never actually touch the single player campaign, but have put hundreds of hours into the competition of the online world? They do it for the high-score.

At this point you may be thinking “But wait Chandler, I play games like Final Fantasy VII, and Uncharted! I’ve escaped the ‘high-score’ mentality, right?”. Wrong. How often have you heard people talk about Final Fantasy(VII or otherwise) and somebody inevitably says “Oh yeah, I did absolutely 100% everything you could do in that game, and got the uber secret sword of ‘blah’, got to see character A totally get it on with character C in a secret scene, and got the super secret ending sequence where you actually play as the villain!”, which is, of course, all lies.

It’s all about the competition. If both of you beat the secret, difficult boss, then it’s about who did it in a shorter time. If you both achieved the highest level, then it’s about who obtained all of the secret weapons. In the days prior to the PlayStation 3 (and 360), these feats were nearly impossible to catalog. You could easily tell everyone that you got Aeris to level 99 before her tragic fate at the end of the first disc in Final Fantasy VII. The schoolyard pals that you are bragging to are not about to come over to check for themselves, because, let’s face it, no one actually did that.

Introducing achievements and trophies. There is a reason that Microsoft calls it a Gamerscore. Microsoft paved the way for creating a unified high-score system while Sony followed suit with the trophy update in 2008. Want to prove that you got all of your characters maxed out? Now every game has a verifiable level of competition to it. Want to prove that you really did 100% of what there was to do in Assassin’s Creed III (among a few other miscellaneous tasks)? Go for the platinum trophy.

A platinum trophy is the ultimate high-score for a game, and maybe most importantly, it’s proof! I finished all 500 of the VR missions and collected all of the dog tags on Metal Gear Solid 2. Don’t believe me? Check my trophies. My schoolyard bragging rights have long since transferred to an office environment, but now I can back up my claims.

As a disclaimer to the naysayers, I have to say that I am stereotyping. This may not apply to everyone. Inevitably, some of you will comment to say that you aren’t looking to compete; that you honestly just play games for the fun of the games, but isn’t that why the high-score junkies go after the high-scores? Competition IS fun and we have many different ways to compete. Not into football? Play video games. Not into shooters online? Go for trophies. Just want to play for fun and story? Be the first one to get the game at midnight on launch date. Whatever your method of competing for the high-score, remember to have fun doing it. After all, it’s just a game.

How do you compete? Do you go after the kill/death ratio vs. other human players or are you after more personal achievements? Let us know about your high-scores in the comments below.


Source: playstationlifestyle