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FIFA 09 and NHL 09 Are Highest Rated Sports Games of This Console Generation

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS - News) today announced that the critical ratings of EA SPORTS™ branded games are tracking at an increase of more than four points* versus last year’s games. The scores are according to Metacritic’s aggregated review score system on the Xbox 360® and PLAYSTATION®3 when charting the core EA SPORTS portfolio of annual simulation games. FIFA 09, which launches this week in North America after becoming the fastest-selling FIFA game in the history of the franchise with more than 1.2 million units sold through in Europe in its first week on the market, is tracking at a 90 on the Xbox 360 and an 88 on the PS3.*

“Our laser-focus on innovation is paying off and we’ve gained a great deal of momentum over the past 12 months,” said Peter Moore, President of the EA SPORTS Label. “EA SPORTS has delivered the top two highest-rated sports games of the current console generation in the past month – NHL 09 and FIFA 09. Critics are taking notice of the innovation we’re delivering to capture our core audience and captivate the masses with more approachable gameplay.”

EA SPORTS is seeing this momentum across the board, having delivered five of the top rated games on the market. NHL® 09, FIFA 09, Madden NFL 09, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 09 and NCAA® Football 09 have all landed near the top of the review score charts with ratings of 81 or better. Additionally, EA SPORTS continues to evolve, with the introduction of the EA SPORTS All-Play initiative to develop games with unique modes, unique presentation, unique controls and unique packaging designed specifically for the Wii™. FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play, Madden NFL 09 All-Play and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 09 All-Play are three of the highest-rated Wii games available, with all three landing in the top 8 on Metacritic’s “Recent Releases” chart.

EA SPORTS™ is the leading interactive sports software brand in the world, with top-selling titles and franchises including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA LIVE basketball, NCAA® Football, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® and NASCAR® racing.

*Based on Metacritic data

Member Comments
# 1 MMChrisS @ 10/14/08 11:13 AM
Very interesting that EA would put a press release out about this, but also not surprising. EA follows the metacritic scores of their games (as do many other companies) like a hawk. So it's not surprising they are going to tout themselves when the games score well from the critics.
 
# 2 Trojan Man @ 10/14/08 12:23 PM
What I find funny is that EA is getting critical acclaim from titles devoted to utterly marginal sports. I'm happy that hockey fans are getting a great game, but is there anything less relevant in American sports than the NHL? And soccer? Sure it's relevant in las Americas, but not in North America, at least when measured against the big three. I'd love to see a game in one of the major sports excel to this degree. Then we'd have something worth writing a press release about.

Bash away . . .
 
# 3 Sausage @ 10/14/08 12:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojan Man
What I find funny is that EA is getting critical acclaim from titles devoted to utterly marginal sports. I'm happy that hockey fans are getting a great game, but is there anything less relevant in American sports than the NHL? And soccer? Sure it's relevant in las Americas, but not in North America, at least when measured against the big three. I'd love to see a game in one of the major sports excel to this degree. Then we'd have something worth writing a press release about.

Bash away . . .
This quote is correct. Why is football and basketball so far behind? Sometimes all you can say is "it is what it is".
 
# 4 yamabushi @ 10/14/08 02:20 PM
Yes, EA has embiggened their metacritic score with all those cromulent reviews.
 
# 5 mercalnd @ 10/14/08 03:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojan Man
And soccer? Sure it's relevant in las Americas, but not in North America, at least when measured against the big three.
While what you say is true about soccer not being relevant in North America, FIFA does actually sell more overall than Madden.
 
# 6 mercalnd @ 10/14/08 03:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR
I see these type of posts quite often and ask the same question consequently but never get an answer:

Where did you get these sales figures? I'm very curious to know what kinda revenue EA Sports titles are generating.
I don't have a link on hand but every year there's stories about the top 100 selling games. Interesting/suprising bits include FIFA outselling Madden, Live outselling NBA 2K. OS covered it earlier this year but I can't quite remember at what time it came out.
 
# 7 mgoblue @ 10/14/08 05:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTheorenHobbes
Don't forget the all expense paid trips to EA's headquarters to hob knob with the celebrities. It's a wonder how EA Sports games ever get bad reviews. Why add multiple camera angles or cpu sliders to Madden, when you can simply "buy" a good review for the game?
And yet you same people who bash the reviewers now will be all over them for 2k reviews. Bring a little consistency to your arguments, reviewers are either biased towards EA or they're not. I'm f'n tired of hearing people go "waaaaaaaa, EA's buying reviews, reviewers suck" all while going "ZOMG look, 2k has a 9.0, it's teh awesome, this reviewer's awesome".

Seriously though, do you really think EA buys reviews? How does that explain all the crappy reviews for past games? I just don't buy it...if it were that easy it'd be blown up in the news similar to the Gerstmann incident....I think 99% of reviewers have some sort of honor.
 
# 8 daflyboys @ 10/14/08 05:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR

One thing I wonder about Peter: does he believe his own B.S.?
It's corporate America..... isn't that pretty much a given?

Excuse me, but I have to go now and work on my "laser-focus".
 
# 9 blazer003 @ 10/14/08 06:23 PM
I really don't understand how NCAA football got as good of reviews as it did. I'm absolutely no EA *****, but this years gameplay is downright awful. I long for '08's gameplay coupled with the tackling enhancements of 09. The lack of pocket pressure, the horrible defensive AI, the glitches in online dynasty causing the computer to sim games that have already been played, not to mention all the glitches when the game first came out. I just don't understand how it got as good of scores as it did, including here.
 
# 10 asu666 @ 10/14/08 07:22 PM
As far as football goes I guess it's easy to look good compared to nothing. I suppose the next thing we'll see is a PR blast about how EA has the top rated college basketball game on the market.

FIFA is doing some solid things. NBA LIVE isn't complete trash any more, but it's not all that great either. Madden is slowly creeping towards the stanard ESPN NFL 2K5 set four years ago. NCAA still is missing a bunch of stadiums and had some pretty significant quality control issues on the disc. Madden shipped with some pretty hoorible bugs too.

I think there is hope for the future. Some of EA's games like Dead Space show the company still has some creative minds. I'd love to see Peter Moore push EA Sports to finally quit tinkering around with gimmicks and put together solid franchises accross the board that they add to every year. This ten features in 20 out approach while we try to figure out who we are in the market place deal stinks.
 
# 11 spit_bubble @ 10/14/08 09:11 PM


EA is still hanging on to tactics used by 19th century charlatans. The difference of course is that those people were able to skip town after selling their "cure all" brandy water, never to be seen again.

Seems like it might be better for EA to spend more resources on the quality of their product, rather than wasting so much in marketing it. It's going to backfire on them. Like I say, they can't skip town and the angry mob will find them.

mgoblue, go read the EA football reviews from this year at 1up and try to tell me that EA doesn't have a hand in what the reviewers publish about their games. There are other examples out there too, as well as other companies up to the same dirty tricks. You are downright blind if you can't see this.

I read a lot of reviews for games, and probably 90% are horribly written with no real indication as to the quality of the game being reviewed. Often times I can get the same information reading the back of the box, and it's abundantly clear that the majority of reviews are based more on what the publishers and developers tell the reviewer than the reviewers own experience with the game.

Of course, this is almost understandable, though certainly not condonable. I myself often times will find things in games only after three months and twenty hours spent with a game. So to ask reviewers to give a true and honest effort 100% of the time is just not very practical.

The solution is of course to abandon the score all together (edit: and perhaps even the review). It's a vague system at best, and only serves to belittle the consumer. This is not the 1860s. There is mass communication available today unlike any time in the industrial age, and yet somehow it is only used to facilitate idiocy.

The constant barrage of hustling in all forms of media, when combined with a lack of any real attempt by the public to seek out the truth, will only perpetuate our demise.

You need to laugh at press releases like these, whether by EA or anyone else, because they are archaic and hollow. Shrug them off, because if you feed the beast the beast will grow.
 
# 12 mgoblue @ 10/14/08 11:00 PM
Mine wasn't directed at anyone in particular, I just see it so damn much here when people hate on reviewers for EA scores and then 5 seconds later they're down on their knees praising a 2k review.

I'll let it go, I just think a lot of people like to hate on EA just to hate on them. Madden was improved this year, and I don't think a 8.5 or so is unjustified. Fifa's a stellar game, NHL is a great product, even Live's much improved (not 2k level, but fun). I honestly can't understand how people can deny that their games have improved, which is reflected in the ratings. Even if you hate EA just to be a prick, you have to acknowledge that this year's Live is better than 08, same with Fifa the past few years, NHL, even Madden.

You may not like the product completely (I personally think they all have issues to fix), but to deny that they're improving is just showing you blindly hate EA without even listening to any sort of rational thought.
 
# 13 mgoblue @ 10/14/08 11:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTheorenHobbes
Is Madden 09 better than Madden 08? Sure...it's pretty hard for a game like Madden to go backwards in quality from one year to the next.

But is Madden 09 -- the 4th Madden to appear in next gen, a game that only offers one stinking camera angle, is missing cpu sliders, on-field referees (no other sports game period does that), deserving of an A+, like 1up said, or an 8.8 from IGN, when MLB The Show didn't even get that kind've score? No way. If EA doesn't buy the reviews for Madden, I don't know how else to explain it.
I'd explain it by saying that the reviewers aren't rabid football nuts like some people here.

I'll say it. I enjoy Madden 09. I like the camera angle, hate sliders, don't give a crap about socks or refs on field. I wouldn't give it an A+, but I wouldn't give it a 6 or 7 either. I'll agree, some reviews aren't good, across the board, across the game companies. Maybe I'm just a "casual sports gamer" now, I don't care....at least gaming's fun for me, compared to the bitching like little girls that it used to be.

I seriously believe a lot of people here will never be satisfied with any game and they derive some sick sort of enjoyment out of complaining and finding bugs. What would Abner do if a game was great, I think his head would explode. Luckily that game would then have a random graphical tear or something for him to go on about...

I'm not directing this all at you, it's just how I think about a lot of sports gamers nowadays. I know I'm in the minority here, which is why I just ignore a lot most of the time. I'll agree to disagree
 
# 14 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 01:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR
As a multi-platform, NHL customer since 1991, sure there have ALWAYS been issues with the game. However as time goes on, so does the annual bug-count. Also as time goes on, more and more features get removed or don't make it from current gen to the next gen which is indiciative of poor revision/version control of their code. But NHL 09 made history with the EASHL feature simply not being ready for release. Is it playable at times? Sure and it's fun when you can play it. Does that warrant a 9+ review? Absolutely NOT.

My situation is unique as I work in the software development industry for business applications (and once for a game shop many years ago). Subjects like improper design, poor regression testing, no load-testing, etc. strike a chord with me because these are standard practices that obviously EA Sports does not perform.
Just wondering, do you work under the EA type deadlines of a game a year or the Carmack type deadlines where he can release a game 10 years from now "when it's done"? Because I'm in the development industry and see bugs happen all the time. You can do all the testing you want and you'll still have bugs, especially with software like games where you can't just run a single suite of tests and be pass/fail. I'm sure they note a lot of these bugs and just don't have time to fix it. It's not EA, it's the game industry (all companies put out buggy products, 2k, other companies). The push for a release date outweighs quality.

I've had to do that in my current job, we release buggy code to make one customer happy and eventually plan to fix it in the future. Real life doesn't allow you to make something perfect when you want. We'll have angry customers and deadlines that cannot be changed. That's life.

Do I wish these games were bug free? Hell yeah, I'm just not delusional enough to think it'll ever happen.

I think you hate the game industry as a whole, not just EA, because these issues alone aren't EA's problem. Look at 2k and the MLB series...Sony and the NBA series they have. They're garbage and bug ridden. A lot of games now lack polish and it's showing on reviews (Star Wars Force Unleashed and Mercenaries 2 are good examples)...
 
# 15 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 02:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR
You don't have to tell me about releasing bugs in software. That's why in our release notes, we include open defects on paper and plan to patch it or fix it for the next point release. No software is completely free of defects but most business software houses shoot for 95% bug-free rates. Does NHL 09 fall anywhere near 70%? I found 26 bugs in the first 48 hours of having the disc in my possession.

There are ways companies can measure their completeness each year. I'm not about to break down the fundamentals of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as I can write a book about that here (best perform a Google search on the subject for more information) but I will do my best to lay out some short decriptions below.

Don't make the mistake of measuring release times with a fixed number like "1 year". It doesn't matter if said company has a 1-year cycle or a 10-year cycle. Through properly written feature requirements & functional specifications, development and testing, your goals CAN be met. The thing is, all goals must be measured in man-hours by each of the department heads and the Producer (Project Manager in my industry) makes a schedule based on those estimates. If Microsoft Project has him "in the red" for a September release date, something had to give...and that give was quality where it should have been the removal of one newly proposed feature. If it were me, I would have focused on the EASHL/BAP online feature ONLY and worry about BAP offline for a later release.

If a software company cares about the quality and support of their releases, then what should matter to that company is:

-Annual bug counts (VERY high this year)
-Code-completeness (since NHL09 had poorly written requirements, that translated into incomplete features in the finished product)
-Testing-completeness (I personally found 8 regression defects...a major no-no in software testing)

So, does EA really even care based on this information?
See, if EA does what you say, then they cut half their features because they have bugs, and just release 1 feature that works. They'd get killed by people saying "but this was in last gen" even though it may have been buggy in last gen. Look at Live, they introduce a cool "Live 365" feature, but since it doesn't have some sort of "living season" mode people bitch. Here EA didn't push too far and they get killed for "ignoring new features".

There is no happy medium in game design, IMO, at least not for sports games. Sports gaming fans will never be happy. AI won't be like human players anytime soon, so there'll always be crap to complain about.

I understand completely though, and I think the entire industry is to blame...EA's just a good target like MS because they're the "evil empire", but no one targets 2k even though their franchise modes have historically been abysmal jokes with bugs beyond belief. I think it's just too easy to hate on EA without being fair/even.
 
# 16 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 02:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTheorenHobbes
Which brings us back to the original point. Yes, other studio's games have bugs...which are usually reflected in the poor reviews. (Can you show me an MLB2k or Sony NBA review with a high score?) In EA's case, the bugs are overlooked/ignored.

Hell, the A+ and other review scores I posted for Madden were FROM BEFORE patches 1 and 2 were released. If EA didn't pay for (or have a hand in) the high reviews, then something's seriously wrong, somewhere.
I won't deny that the A+ and some other reviews are too high, I'd personally give it an 8...but it's the review industry in general that has issues...I personally thought Halo 3 was Halo 2.5 on 360 but it got 99's and crap like that. I think the video game media as an industry is maturing and needs to become more like movie reviewers, but it's just taking time.

The Gerstmann stuff helped move it more towards legitimacy, but we still have to remember that these reviewers aren't any better than you or I. They're human and if they're not a completely nutzo NBA fan then they (like I) may not see the issues some here do...I don't think reviews are aimed at people like us, because most people (me included) wouldn't notice a minor spacing AI issue in a NBA video game, but the hoop nuts see it in a heartbeat.
 
# 17 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 03:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR
Ah, but you and EA Sports are forgetting something while falling over your face trying to cram in all the latest and greatest new features:

What is the title of our beloved product? "NHL09". Not "Midnight Open Hockey League 09"..."NHL09".

So while trying so hard by focusing solely on the 2 main new features, look at the shape of the penalty calling system compared to the NHL. It's nowhere NEAR accurate and hasn't been for years. If EA were to change the product name to not include "NHL" in it, then the penalty system is working just fine.

You cannot lose focus on current design to make way for new design. ALL of it must receive the same attention. If there wasn't enough time to include regression development and testing of legacy features, then EA Sports is not getting the proper budget and/or resources to get the job done...period.
I think then you get into the "sim vs. arcade" debate and all sports games tend to be more towards the casual arcade gamer. I understand the frustration there, but not sure you'll make much headway because money talks. 90% of the purchases are more casual fans, so the complaints here aren't going to be as high of a priority as other issues.
 
# 18 allBthere @ 10/15/08 04:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoblue
I think then you get into the "sim vs. arcade" debate and all sports games tend to be more towards the casual arcade gamer. I understand the frustration there, but not sure you'll make much headway because money talks. 90% of the purchases are more casual fans, so the complaints here aren't going to be as high of a priority as other issues.
not to pick on you, but just because I see this alot, most of the time I can't help but argue here.

by the time the 360's lifecycle is done, I will have purchased over 30 games for it. A casual gamer if defined correctly will buy 4 or 5 games max. Most of these people have a wii and 2 MAYBE 3 games for it, and on top of that average less than an hour a week on it and it's collecting dust (I know this because the majority of my friends that own a gamming system are like that, and I have 3 or 4 friends like me that are "hardcore").

Hardcore gamers drive the industry along. I am worth AT LEAST 6 casual gamers, maybe more. So, you best be makin' me happy and the others like me happy. In fact, fundamentally the best selling games are hardcore (cod4, bioshock, rbsv, gears,) ps. casual gamers usually hate sports games unless they are very quick and dirty arcade games like wii sports, nhl hitz was a big party game, and a blitz type game.

How many people do you know that play the wii on a daily basis? Casual gamers are called 'casual' because they don't play very much, or buy very much.
 
# 19 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 04:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by allBthere
not to pick on you, but just because I see this alot, most of the time I can't help but argue here.

by the time the 360's lifecycle is done, I will have purchased over 30 games for it. A casual gamer if defined correctly will buy 4 or 5 games max. Most of these people have a wii and 2 MAYBE 3 games for it, and on top of that average less than an hour a week on it and it's collecting dust (I know this because the majority of my friends that own a gamming system are like that, and I have 3 or 4 friends like me that are "hardcore").

Hardcore gamers drive the industry along. I am worth AT LEAST 6 casual gamers, maybe more. So, you best be makin' me happy and the others like me happy. In fact, fundamentally the best selling games are hardcore (cod4, bioshock, rbsv, gears,) ps. casual gamers usually hate sports games unless they are very quick and dirty arcade games like wii sports, nhl hitz was a big party game, and a blitz type game.

How many people do you know that play the wii on a daily basis? Casual gamers are called 'casual' because they don't play very much, or buy very much.
No, there are thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people who play Madden just like the Madden Bowl tv show, cheese and all, exploiting gameplay. Those people buy all the sports games every year, but aren't "sim" gamers. That's my point....There are casual gamers who buy 5-10 games a year. If "sim gamers" were the target then why the F does NCAA have a mascot mode?

I'm sure sports game companies have done studies on their gamer base and have determined that it's the casual fan vs. the hardcore sim guy. You'd be amazed at how many people just pick up a game without reading a review, just going to best buy. Look at the Wii, all the shovelware that sells even though it's crap....I'm not saying it makes a better product to aim at that demographic, but it sure does sell, and that's the bottom line. To kid ourselves and say that making the best game possible is their goal is laughable, they're in the business to make money.
 
# 20 mgoblue @ 10/15/08 05:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aBiNeR
Split the ladders and the rules and this argument dies...just like porting over the 2004 PC-introduced customizable control feature to the 360 code branch that squashes the "Classic vs Default" control template debate.
I'm with you...I wish things would change, but I'm not sure they will be. I'm on your side, just pointing out what I see from a real point of view.
 

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