According to Kotaku, EA Sports does not to plan release Tiger Woods PGA Tour, its annual golf sim, in 2014 on any platform. Their sources said the initial plan was to outsource the game, giving the in-house team two years to come out strong on next-gen systems. The, CEO John Riccitiello resigned and a round of layoffs hit the company.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 includes legendary players such as Arnold Palmer. That certainly gives it a historic feel, but those likenesses no doubt raised the cost of making the game. It has garnered mostly favorable reviews, although EA has not released sales numbers. If they are seriously shelving the game for a year, sales can’t be great. You wouldn’t see Madden NFL or FIFA Soccer taking a year off.
Fans of team sports are happy to plunk down $60 for the newest installments of games. Taking things like the NFL draft and free agency into account, even a current roster becomes a huge selling point. A Denver Broncos fan can’t wait to see how Wes Welker plugs into the team’s offense. Sports like golf are driven by individual players. With only a few exceptions, the top players on the PGA Tour next year will be the same ones this year, meaning no big roster changes in Tiger Woods PGA Tour games.
It’s the same problem THQ ran into with the UFC franchise. There aren’t huge changes in the landscape annually. For solo sports, putting out a game every two years may make more sense. THQ ended up having to sell the UFC license to EA. Before doing so, they had already announced a cycle that would release games every other year as opposed to annually.
Coming out on next gen systems, perhaps exclusively by that point, could garner a new golf installment some buzz. The question consumers naturally ask before buying a sports title is what’s different from last year. Shiny new hardware is a built-in answer.
There is also the matter of Tiger Woods. EA was one of the few corporate sponsors to stick with him after a sex scandal tarnished his image. Tiger simply hasn’t been the same player since his personal life fell apart. Everybody is trying to cut costs in this economy. It’s a good time to ask if a tarnished brand is worth what EA is paying for it.