SBJ/June 18-24, 2012/In Depth

Key video game companies

Major sports video game publishers and the console-based titles they create

EA Sports
Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.

Key games: “Madden NFL,” “NCAA Football,” “FIFA,” “Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf,” “NBA Live,” “NHL,” “SSX,” “Fight Night Champion,” “NBA Jam,” “Grand Slam Tennis,” forthcoming MMA title in new partnership with UFC.
User guide: EA Sports is still the most recognized and dominant player in sports video gaming. The company surprised everyone at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this month by announcing a new multiyear deal with UFC, with whom the publisher had famously and publicly battled. Baseball is now the only major pro sport not part of its suite of titles. More than any other sports video gaming operation, EA Sports is on the front lines of a historic conversion to both digital gaming and the ongoing next generation of console hardware.

2K Sports
Headquarters: New York

Key games: “MLB 2K” (license expiring after this year), “NBA 2K.”
User guide: 2K Sports’ parent, Take-Two Interactive, is seeking to focus more on its own intellectual property and is moving away from often expensive licenses from third parties. To that end, the company is not seeking a renewal of its MLB license expiring at the end of the current baseball season. After similar departures from college basketball and hockey, 2K Sports’ lone sports title now is the phenomenally successful “NBA 2K” series.

THQ
Headquarters: Agoura Hills, Calif.

Key games: “UFC Undisputed 3” (license sold to EA)
User guide: Previously the exclusive license holder for UFC, the publisher this month sold the license to EA Sports, failing to reach profitability with the games. The final version of the series from THQ, “UFC Undisputed 3,” was released in February. Similar to Take-Two, THQ is seeking to focus on its own core suite of games and lessen its reliance on outside intellectual property.

Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Headquarters: Foster City, Calif.

Key games: “MLB: The Show”
User guide: “MLB: The Show” is the direct rival to the now-ending “MLB 2K” series, and has enjoyed a clear advantage in terms of both sales and critical acclaim. This year’s version was also the first created for Sony’s next-generation hand-held gaming system, the PlayStation Vita.

Activision Blizzard
Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.

Key games: “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD”
User guide: A major player in shooter and entertainment gaming, Activision Blizzard also publishes the popular series of Tony Hawk skateboarding games.

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