This years E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) was a little light on the breaking news. There was no mention of the next XBOX or Playstation, and the new Nintendo just reiterated the details that most of us already knew about.
During EA's conference, there was one bit of news that shook up the gaming and MMA community. EA had acquired the rights to the UFC for use in their video games.
THQ had produced the first three UFC games, but was forced to sell the UFC license because they were losing money on the franchise. Their latest effort, UFC Undisputed 3, had only shipped 1.2 million copies.
Many people had written off EA getting the UFC license due in large part to the relationship (or lack thereof) Dana White has had with the gaming giant. In early 2010, he proclaimed that EA Sports "sucks" in what was one of his many derogatory statements he has made about the company over the years.
Now the two have come together in what will be a win-win situation for both companies. Here are five of the biggest reasons why.
Obviously, the fact that THQ wasn't performing well for the UFC video game franchise doesn't come as breaking news considering they allowed EA to take over the licensing rights.
THQ's first effort, UFC 2009 Undisputed, sold well and has tallied a total of 3.63 million units sold to date*. Each release since then has been significantly less impressive.
UFC Undisputed 2010 has sold 2.49 million copies worldwide. The most recent release, UFC Undisputed 3, has only produced a little over one million sales of what is arguably the best game of the series.
This worked out for both companies. The UFC wasn't impressed with the lackluster sales THQ was giving them, and THQ was bleeding money from using the UFC license.
*All sales figures were taken from vgchartz.com.
EA Sports has the resources to expand the UFC gaming series in ways that THQ couldn't.
The UFC wants to see their video game distributed to every country possible in as many languages as possible. What's the biggest reason why EA will be able to do what THQ couldn't? You guessed it: money.
If done correctly, and that's always been a big "if" with EA, they will be able to saturate the global market with UFC gaming in the way the UFC would like to see it be done.
Electronic Arts is a company that has fans who absolutely love them and those who hate them. There isn't really a middle ground.
There is plenty of animosity towards the company, mainly for their exclusive rights to the NFL. Lately, there has been even more irritation from consumers due to what many call an exploitation of charging for downloadable content.
One thing can't be questioned, and that's the stability of the EA brand. John Madden Football has been around since 1988. They've been producing NCAA games since 1994 and PGA golf games for over 20 years.
Prior to the NBA Elite fiasco, their NBA Live series had been running since 1995 and will resume with a title this year.
The UFC has an opportunity with EA to be on the list of these long-lasting franchises. UFC games have already been published by Ubisoft, Capcom, Global Star, Crave Entertainment and THQ.
It's time for some stability.
EA has a very tough decision to make in the coming months. Their exclusive license with the NFL expires at the end of the 2012 season, and the gaming company will have to decide whether or not to invest in renewing it once again.
Most gamers would love to see EA lose the exclusive license and see other publishers create NFL games once again. Heck, if 2K were to make a NFL game next year, it may very well jump over Madden right away. That's how bad the fans want to see 2K make another NFL game.
Should EA lose their exclusive agreement with the NFL, they need to have another revenue stream to fall back on. The surge in MMA popularity and, more specifically, the UFC is their best ticket to success in recouping any losses that may stem from their NFL games.
After all, Dana White says MMA is already bigger than the NFL, right?
There are negative things to be said about the way EA makes their video games, and the same goes for how the UFC handles the MMA business.
The fact is, they are both the best at what they do. EA, even with its shortcomings, is the best at the production and marketing of their games. Sure, it feels like the innovation from within their football series has retracted a bit with this generation of consoles, but they still pump out the numbers.
The UFC is the best MMA organization on the planet. There is no questioning that. Now that they have teamed up with the best sports gaming company in the business, they should have their video game franchise expectations met for many years to come.
Joe Chacon is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a Staff Writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.