**Let me start out by saying that I have owned ERTS in the past (not now), and I am no financial guru.**
However, I do know video games and EA is in danger of losing a ton of potential XBOX customers. Previous to this game, many XBOX users already despised EA. Like me, EA thought that XBOX Live was a bad idea and never signed up. Unfortunately for EA, XBOX Live was a huge success and this made EA look like the bad guy.
Now, EA finally signs up for XBOX Live but for some reason is using their own servers (I thought that most, if not all used Microsoft's servers). Thus far, this has been a huge disaster. I don't know what the problem is (whether it lie with the server or the communication between EA and MS). However, it's obvious that EA was not ready for the load factors they are getting.
This leads me to wonder what they will do when other EA Sports games go online. You would think that there would be a common interface so that any EA Sports game could run on any EA server, or at least the ability to quickly change a server from one game to another (ie. to mitigate risk). If they are having server problems, it is truly inexcusable as they should already have at least some servers for upcoming games (like Madden) and will receive higher load factors for that game (well, would have...)
You couple this with Sega moving their NFL game up a couple months and only charging $20 (which is nearly insane), and EA could be in big trouble. One reason many users stick with Madden over Sega's game is the controls are so different that it is difficult to change. So if Sega is able to convert some customers to ESPN, it will be difficult for EA to convert them back.
EA didn't think that XBOX live was a "bad idea". It was a business decision made to reflect the fact that MS keep all of the subscription money and was not willing to share a piece of the pie with 3rd party developers.
Harry, I agree with that assessment. However, I believe that EA didn't think XBOX Live would be successful (especially without EA). What kind of gamer in their right mind would pay subscription fees for games that you can play for free on other systems including the PC?
I didn't see the XBOX Live strategy as being successful especially considering many kids would have to get their parents to pay for it.
Anyways, my point is that if EA had known how successful XBOX Live was going to be they would have signed on. They thought they had leverage over MS.
Does anyone have the details of the EA/MSFT deal? How much, if any, is EA getting out of it? EA is having to pay for its own servers, which up until this point has been a huge mistake. They need to get this problem fixed ASAP if they want a good market share on the XBOX console.
Right you are, harryriot. It was a business decision. I've always been curious to see what ERTS extracted out of MSFT for the support. I'd be interested if anyone has any info/documentation of what that agreement consisted of. My uneducated guess is that ERTS decided to pickup the revenues for this cycle, and then make MSFT concede a fair portion of their control of the subscriber base when the next console cycle comes around, given the kinds of numbers of subscribers ERTS can draw with their games. But I'd be interested in facts, if anyone's got 'em.