We found out on Monday that Tiger Woods' name would no longer be associated with EA Sports' golf game as it has been since 1999 but on Tuesday Darren Rovell of ESPN extended the bad news for Woods fans:
To be clear, not only will Tiger not be on the cover and the game won't have his name, he won't be in the EA game at all.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) October 29, 2013
That's pretty stunning.
According to Woods' agent Mark Steinberg (who's been in the news a lot lately) the contract between Woods and EA Sports was up and there wasn't much interest on either side to forge ahead.
"We had an incredible run. Outside of [John] Madden, you would be hard pressed to find a sports figure that meant as much to a video game company as Tiger meant to EA. But times are changing and EA had to re-evaluate the partnership, and frankly so did we."
Even more intriguing is Rovell's report that Woods might take his talents to another video game company.
"Steinberg said he's in negotiations with another company regarding Woods' video game rights. EA noted it will continue to use the PGA Tour name on the game."
That would, um, sort of bury EA Sports, if you ask me.
It's not the golf needs Tiger but I would argue strongly that a golf video game does need Tiger, if not his name then definitely him in it. The numbers back me up, too.
So does that mean no more golf for EA Sports? Rovell says it could.
I'm not 100% convinced that EA is sure it will publish a game w/o Tiger even though it says it is doing so.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) October 29, 2013
Kotaku also had a great writeup in which they noted the irony of the addition of the Masters ultimately booting Woods from his own game. EA Sports licensed Augusta National in 2010 and Woods' necessity to the success of the game, they argue, has diminished ever since.
But Jay Busbee does a great job here of painting a more bleak picture about what EA's future is now. The gameplay is getting more and more realistic (see below) but that means more and more resources are used to make the game.
And when Tiger's no longer fronting your work, that's going to be a big problem for the future of your business.