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A numbers game: Tiger, EA Sports part ways

by   |   October 31, 2013
Tiger_Woods_PGA_Tour_14_Boxart

When you queue up EA Sports’ golf offering on your video game console of choice next year, you won’t be able to play as Tiger Woods. And if you’ve been eagerly awaiting “Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’15,” you’re waiting in vain.

Tiger Woods and EA Sports have mutually agreed to part ways, ending their 15-year partnership.

This means not only will the world’s most recognizable golfer not be on the cover of EA Sports’ golf game—as he has been since 1999—but that Woods and his Sunday red will likely be absent from the game entirely.

Athletes in individual (rather than team) sports don’t have to march in lockstep with a union decision to lend likenesses to video game makers. Thus, it’s unlikely that Tiger would fancy an animated version of himself appearing in a franchise that cut him loose. It’s fitting to stand in indignation with gamers around the world and ask, “What’s going on here?”

For one thing, after having a rough go of it, EA reported strong earnings in an October 29th conference call, beating consensus earnings per share estimates by 23 cents, and exceeding revenue estimates as well. The bullish position might compel the Redwood, Calif., based company to both devote some more cash to developing a new game and take a chance, rather than staying the course with an aging franchise.

It appears, too, the Woodsian video game franchise (with a near 40-year-old on the cover) was in a state of decline, offering the video game maker additional motivation to move in another direction.

VGChartz.com, which tracks video game sales, reported that the the PS3 version of Tiger Woods ‘14 sold only 160,000 copies worldwide. That marks a decline of 390,000 copies of last year’s game and decrease of 810,000 copies since the 2012 edition. For the XBOX 360 edition, sales declined from 430,000 last year to 160,000 this year.

“EA Sports golf fans have always loved authentic courses and players, but they’ve also asked for more choice and customization in how and where they play,” Daryl Holt, EA Sports vice president of golf Daryl Holt told Gamespot. “We’re working on a new approach to deliver the best golf experience to our fans.”

Woods, for his part, isn’t resting on his video gaming laurels: the world No. 1 is in talks with other companies to develop a new video game, according to agent Mark Steinberg.

About

Ben writes primarily about the PGA Tour for GolfWRX. He has a sentimental attachment to a set of 1976 Wilson Staff blades, which isn't helping his scores any. Follow him on Twitter for his golf-related ramblings: @BJA_GolfWRX.


21 Comments

  1. Nick

    November 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This is a wise move by Tiger. Let’s face it, the TW’s games were just being milked. The ’14 game plays like the ’07 game. It’s still Myst golf (you gotta be over 25 to get that one) loading between shots whn other games have game worlds measured in square miles. Not to mention EA’s penchant for charging for basic gameplay as “add ons”. There is also of course the game play elements they would never drop like spinning after the shot and robo-simplistic putting.

    If Tiger gets a reputatble studio on the line, they could make a way better game and sales will spike. Tiger will get paid and we will get a betetr product.

  2. Sergio

    November 7, 2013 at 1:20 am

    EA have become too greedy over the years. The comments about paying “add-ons” could be transposed to other games and Real Racing 3 springs to minds here: a beautiful game harmed by the introduction of more and more in-app purchases. Not holding my breath, they’ll drop the franchise when they’re done squeezing every penny out of their customers and move to another game.

  3. Mat

    November 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    The game was failing for lots of reasons.

    #1- The game requires you to buy courses and content after you buy the game. $80 in, I’m done.
    #2- the courses I bought in prior years have to be purchased again each year.
    #3- the story is not compelling. Is it a 1-player game or not?
    #4- cheating is too easy, spinning after the shot. Playing without cheating is too hard.
    #5- putting is too easy
    #6- too much emphasis on win or nothing
    #7- graphics not much better than 2008
    #8- if gta can have a huge area, loading between holes is inexcusable.
    #9- not having an AI group by now is awful
    #10- no strategy; hole after hole is driver, with little problem with second shots.

    In short, it is not strategic, and not Golden Tee. And above all, everyone is waiting for nextgen. It isn’t like 2013 or prior years are different. A sepia filter isn’t worth it.

  4. JL

    November 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Please 2k come out with a good version of the golf game using kinect. The new Kinect is 60 fps, which should be perhaps acceptable in capturing a golf swing. I’d buy the xbox one just for that.

  5. Mike

    November 2, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I haven’t purchased a nike golf product since tigers handling of his fight with a fire hydrant. Come to think about it, haven’t purchased a tiger endorsed product. I believe there are many out there like me and that factored into ea’s decision to drop tiger like, eehm, a two foot putt. I can’t wait for steinbergs presser where he talks about how they dumped ea……

  6. dudstin

    November 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

    i’m tired of tiger being rated as the clear number 1 in the game, sure it kinda makes sense but when you play with friends everyone wants tiger and there isnt a close second. its time to even the playing field and i hope 2K can do it. their NBA games are far superior to anything EA has ever done, the added technical aspect that they use would be a welcome addition to a golf game. EA has a way of making a game then carrying the same basics into the next revision without making any real changes.

  7. Steve

    November 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Like others, I hope he works out a deal with 2K.

    I haven’t bought TW’s EA games in a few years. They all have been pretty much the same the last handful of years. Graphics aren’t getting very much better and they are skimming on courses. It’s not worth the money.

  8. Christopher

    November 1, 2013 at 12:25 am

    The biggest problem is that a game that should promote the PGA Tour doesn’t let you play most of it. If an F1 game had 50% of the tracks there would be an uproar. Same with the Fifa game. EA Sports want consumers to buy 10-15 courses, occupy them with golfers that look and play nothing like themselves then expect more money to add courses they provided with the previous games? Madness.

    • nathan

      November 1, 2013 at 1:49 am

      The decrease in copies sold has nothing to do with Mr. Woods. After paying $60 for a game year, after year, after year is one thing. But when EA Sports wants extra money for basic gameplay courses that should be included is shameful. I am unwilling to pay $100+ for a video game, and am tired of being gouged by these, “add-ons.”

      • Christopher

        November 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

        I’ve got nothing against EA providing a ‘leg-up’ for players that can’t advance in the game (say for Playstation+ members) but to pay for courses without the ability to earn them through good-play is appalling.

        The decrease in sales probably doesn’t have anything to do with Tiger, it’s EA’s attitude to their customers that’s the problem!

  9. jed

    October 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I was disappointed but now that tiger is talking with somebody else im excited. competition is a good thing and EA needs it. EA continually puts out garbage and we have to buy it. 2k ran them out of the NBA business and soon will run the madden franchise away.

  10. Mike

    October 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I have to agree with the lower post, Lets Hope Tiger has something in the works with 2K sports
    EA has been robbing everyone for years. Paying for any decent course is crazy when the game already costs $70.
    The PGA 15 game will fail… mark my words.

  11. Mizunopure

    October 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Hopefully they can now devote their resources toward getting more courses included with the game w/o all that nickel-and-diming referenced above.

  12. Lazza

    October 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I for one missed the PC version – had 08. I have never had a console, and was contemplating getting a console vs. high-end pc with the view to try out TW PGA Tour 15.

  13. Paddy

    October 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Tiger is kind of old now and he looked tired at the end of the year. Video games target younger people and Tiger is over it. I could see them going with Rory if he starts playing well again.

  14. Brian

    October 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I’m sure the decline had nothing to do with the nickel and dime approach to downloadable courses that EA has taken the past few years.

    • Philip

      October 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      That, and the pulling of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12 PC earlier this year without warning definitely ends my connection with EA. I’ve had to go to WGT which is not to shabby at all.

  15. Carson

    October 31, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I think the games have become too complex…Tiger Woods 2006 was perfect

    • Cullen Harris

      October 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. 2006 was he BEST version. I’ve owned half of them since then, and they’re too complex or too incomplete (read: making people pay for courses) to be worth an annual purchase.

    • Harold

      November 2, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Was looking for a fun and cheap golf game to kick around during the winter months on my kids xbox 360 and have seen a couple comments about the 2006 version being the funnest. Are you guys talking about Tiger Woods PGA 06 that was released in 2005 or Tiger Woods PGA 07 that was released in 2006? Thanks, Harold.

  16. Phil Mickelson

    October 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Let’s hope he’s working on a deal with 2K Sports. I think those games would be very realistic if they could find a good developer.

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