Forbes - Innovation

EA Play Spotlight: Is The Biggest News What Wasn’t Announced?

The EA Play 2021 unveilings are over.

We’ve learned about the new scouting component coming to Madden 22’s franchise mode, which looks very promising.

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We saw some amazing stuff regarding The Sims 4 expansion pack. GRID Legends (my favorite Codemasters racing series) is delivering a story mode that looks as if it could be even better than F1 2021’s Braking Point.

There is a new season of Apex Legends coming. It’s called Emergence.

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There is an EA original called Lost in Random, which has some potential considering we’ve seen some strong products emerge from this vertical, like A Way Out.

The two biggest pieces of news that emerged from EA Play was the relaunch of Dead Space and the introduction of Battlefield Portal.

Believe me, I’m not trying to diminutize these titles and expansions, but many in the EA Sports community were expecting the revival of an old title from the EA Big or traditional sports library this week. Part of this expectation was based on misconception. EA put out a cryptic statement in a recent post on their website that seemed to send the community spinning.

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“Look, we’re not allowed to tell you much about this one yet, sorry. But we can say this Spotlight will highlight an extremely cool new addition to an extremely popular and long-running EA SPORTS franchise. We may have said too much already. Just keep your calendar free, OK?”

While this statement shouldn’t have been enough to ignite such speculation, it was still a wave born out of a legitimate hunger for the return of some old favorites.

I’d heard rumblings of Fight Night returning, perhaps a new way for EA to utilize the NBA license, or even at the every least, a new feature coming to FIFA or NHL.

We got none of the above, at least as it is on Thursday evening. Barring some sort of late-week surprise, the scouting feature that won’t be available when Madden 22 launches in August, is THE biggest news associated with EA Sports.

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GRID Legends looks phenomenal and it is a sports title, but if you spoke with most sports fans who are also EA’s customers, it is safe to say many of them would have loved to hear about the publisher getting back into boxing, adding the MLB license to the recently acquired Super Mega Baseball, or doing something with NBA Live or even NBA Street.

EA Play isn’t the only platform or event the publisher can use to announce new or rebirthed titles, but it does feel like a missed opportunity to advance the very-community-focused approach that has seemingly been adopted since this time last year.

Hopefully, EA hasn’t given up on bringing Fight Night or some aspect of boxing back. Hopefully, the acquisition of Metalhead Software leads to major-league things for SMB, and let’s all keep our fingers crossed about EA finding its way out of a dark place with the NBA license. The NBA Live series may be beyond resuscitation.

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NBA 2K is a fantastic product, but most virtual hoops fans will tell you, there is room for more than one great basketball video game. ESBC looks to be headed toward plugging a major hole in the boxing video game space, and anyone who has played MLB The Show knows how solid of a product it has become, though still not without flaw.

Still, in all cases, there is fun to be had and likely money to be made if EA revisited some of its old stomping grounds.

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