With EA Sports opting to bring out UFC for the next-generation consoles rather than Fight Night is it the end for the fabled boxing video game?
The actual sport of boxing is hugely popular, Floyd Mayweather’s last fight against Saul Alvarez, September 13, was the highest grossing fight in history, generating revenues of over $150million, from 2.2million pay-per-views buy. Mayweather’s next bout against Marcos Maidana, which he’s heavily favoured, should again see solid pay-per-view buys, probably not enough to break the record but certainly enough to turn over a nice profit. It is clear that there is a still huge market for boxing and one that seems to be growing not shrinking, so you would expect that it is too much of a cash-cow for game makers to avoid.
The last instalment of the franchise, Fight Night Champion (FNC), was really well received by the critics, receiving praise for its gameplay and story-mode. With 276,318 units sold in the first week it also proved a hit with the fans, who like the critics revelled in the new story-mode and loved the amount of playable legends. Therefore we should expect to see another Fight Night, it’s not as if the series needs revitalising, FNC was a hit that many gamers will remember that and would be more than likely to treat themselves to a sixth instalment.
EA Sports have actually been very clever; they know that any Fight Night game released would eat into the sales of their June release of EA Sports UFC. Unlike Fight Night, UFC needs to be revitalised after years of mistreatment at the hands of THQ and getting UFC of the ground is EA’s biggest concern right now. It’s a big summer for UFC with loads of scheduled fights, all of which can be found at Betfair, working in unison to promote the upcoming UFC game, so it is more befitting that EA focus on mixed martial arts rather than boxing at the minute. Fight Night can wait, and by making us wait until maybe 2015, so UFC has had a full year on the shelves, there will be a greater number on next-gen consoles and an even larger number of people wanting their boxing game fix saturated, meaning sales should be through the roof.
In all likeliness we should see another Fight Night; it is a staple of EA and a good earner for them. Also, by having Fight Night and UFC released in alternative years they should maximise sales.