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Tiger Woods Goes Gaming

发布时间:2019-04-15 19:39

In a bold step aimed at boosting its unimpressive share in the lucrative golf sim market, EA Sports announced that after negotiations that lasted more than a year it has inked a four-year, worldwide endorsement deal with golf guru and veritable collector of multimillion dollar endorsement deals Tiger Woods. Analysts are estimating the deal will bring Woods a guaranteed purse of US$5 to $10 million and reportedly could generate $40 million worth of retail sales.

EA has declined to comment on the amount paid to Woods (and Woods license holder Nike Inc.)

The 1997 Masters champion - and arguably the most popular personality in golf today - will be more than an image on the front of the box EA says. "We want the game to reflect Tiger Woods' style," explains EA Sports' marketing director, Chip Lange. (EA will first produce a PC and PlayStation Woods-endorsed game - to be followed at a later date by an N64 game.)

To do so, the game will be more supportive of players who want to take the swing meter into the red area and crush the ball, just like Tiger hits his drives. There will also be more flexibility and variety with shot selections, allowing players to be more creative with the shots they make.

For example, it can be very difficult, even for most Tour pros, to make the shots Tiger makes. "You'll be able to hit a 3-iron out of the deep rough with a monster hook and stick it right on the green like Tiger can," says Lange. Want to know how Tiger would hit a ball buried in a bunker? A video window will pop up when players encounter situations such as this, showing Tiger telling players something like, "Open your club face and take a deep swing towards the left of your line. Then launch the shot using your body's motion."

Lange also says that Tiger has already been helpful with advice about the game in general. A video game player since his childhood with the Atari 2600, the 22-year-old Woods discussed things like the pace of the game, the way shot-making is portrayed, and even music, with the EA Sports team. Lange said Tiger would take a boom box on the course with him if he were allowed to when playing in casual rounds, listening to funk, R&B, and soul, so having those types of music in the game can be expected.

Like in previous PGA Tour Pro games, players will be able to play as or against Tiger, or as many as 16 other PGA pros. And since it is well known that Tiger likes to play with other non-golf celebrities (like Ken Griffey Jr.), EA Sports plans to include some of these people in the game - though not in the game's first release this year.

Remember that EA still owns the Michael Jordan license, so this could be interesting.

The first title with Tiger, tentatively called Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour, will be released this summer and will get its debut at E3 this May.

The game will be using an all-new 3D engine (with 3D card support) and will really amaze gamers, according to Lange. Fans of previous PGA Tour Pro games will be happy to know that the PGATP core development team will be used to create this new title as well.

As might be expected, Electronic Arts wasn't the only game publisher vying for this most sought-after license. Reportedly, other companies in the running were Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

Access Software, developer and publisher of the top-selling golf sim Links LS, confirmed with GameSpot News that it too was after Tiger.

Access, after bidding with an unnamed partner, had to bow out when the bucks got too big. "It would have been nice ," says Steve Witzel, vice president of marketing," Access needs to turn out products that are profitable. Sure we're in it for the fun, but we've also got to eat."

Even though the Salt Lake City-based Access didn't come out on top this time, Witzel thinks the deal will still have an upside for Access. "I think it's going to expand the market," he told GameSpot News. According to Witzel, Access research shows that gamers who buy golf sims buy two to three games per year.

Having a hot golf pro license certainly gets the game more coverage in the golf press, Witzel said. "You want to be associated with someone who's good," admits Witzel. "Press coverage sells our product...carrying a name gets us a lot of press in the golf publications."

And since 75 to 80 percent of Access golf sim buyers consider themselves avid golfers, the coverage in the golf press is more effective for them than computer game press coverage. Currently, Access licenses Arnold Palmer and Davis Love III for Links LS.

For EA, this could be the single-most important license in its stable. This could be the license that finally gives EA Sports the edge it needs to give Access Software and its long-time, unflappable golf sims a run for its money.

"Tiger changed the way golf is watched and played. Different golfers of different races and styles have entered the sport," says Lange, who believes that Woods' ability will even make today's golf course designs outdated very soon.

What Tiger did on the Tour in 1997 and particularly to the competition at the Masters is evidence of the profound effect he's had on the game. There is no doubt that

his effect on the golf sim market could be just as great as his golf game.

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