EA Push For PS2 Online Dominance

EA Push For PS2 Online Dominance EA Push For PS2 Online Dominance

EA has decided to let Microsoft know what exactly it can do for a consoles online service. Following, the much publicized, dispute with Microsoft over the XBox Live business model, the publishing giant has decided to fully back PS2's online service.

Four of EA's most popular titles will be released, in time for the holiday season, offering support for the online adapter. In addition EA will also launch a new PS2 only online service predictably named, EA SPORTS Nation.

Games including The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King will feature online gameplay for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Electronic Arts announced today. Along with The Lord of the Rings, The Sims Bustin' Out, Need for Speed Underground, and Medal of Honor : Rising Sun will allow gamers to connect and play online this holiday season.

The four games provide online experiences ranging from a fantasy adventure in Middle-earth to WWII combat, underground tuner car racing, and the wacky and unpredictable world of The Sims. The Lord of the Rings, The Sims, and Medal of Honor all support hands-free chat through a USB headset (broadband connection required), similar to EA SPORTS PlayStation 2 Online capable games. PlayStation 2 online play requires an Internet connection, a network adaptor, and memory card for the PlayStation 2.

EA GAMES' online play extends the gaming experience way beyond the boundaries of your living room, said Shawn Conly, EA GAMES Global Branding Director. It gives gamers the opportunity to play with or against each other in some of the most exciting games this fall no matter where they-or their friends-are located.

The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King will feature two-player online cooperative play throughout the entire game's fifteen levels. From game lobbies, players can find their friends through buddy lists and chat via EA Messenger instant messaging, or can be paired automatically with a gamer of comparable level to form their own Fellowship. Players will be able to choose any two of the six playable characters (plus three secret characters) ranging from Gandalf to Frodo and Aragorn, and chat hands-free for maximum teamwork. Online play can start at the beginning of the game, or if levels have been unlocked through single-player mode, players can select their favorite locations as a starting point for their journey.

The Sims Bustin' Out will feature two-player cooperative gameplay online, which lets players work their way through any of the game's unique career paths. The game will also feature an online trading system that will allow players to swap unlockable social interactions such as Pull Finger and Moonwalk or objects like a Climbing Wall and DJ Booth. In addition to bestowing bragging rights, these wacky social interactions and highly coveted objects will also affect the gameplay. Online play will also feature a lobby where a matchmaker screen displays the astrological signs, genders, and personalities of other Sims, so that players can effectively choose their gaming partners. Since two Sims are better than one at getting the job done, online play will make it even easier to accomplish goals, satisfy motives, and get your Sims into trouble in The Sims Bustin' Out.

Medal of Honor Rising Sun will provide intense online multiplayer action for up to eight soldiers. Players will go head to head across nine levels ranging from the jungles of the Pacific to the streets of the Orient. There will be a variety of options and customizable match parameters available including selection of Weapon Sets, Friendly Fire, and Time Limit options. Players can find and join games using the EA matchmaking service and will be able to choose from a selection of Axis and Allied soldiers. Once play begins, soldiers can communicate with voice chat using a USB headset for more coordinated team play or taunting competitors.

Need for Speed Underground will allow up to four players to race online in all four of the game's driving modes: drag racing, sprint racing, circuit racing, and drift racing. Players will be able to take the cars they've customized offline into the online arena to show off their tricked out rides and show up the competition. A comprehensive ranking system tracks the top 100 riders, top lap times, and more for the ultimate in bragging rights. Need for Speed Underground will also offer cross-platform online play, allowing PC and PlayStation 2 gamers to seamlessly compete online for the first time.

EA Sports Nation

Electronic Arts also announced the launch of the ultimate online sports gaming destination, the EA SPORTS Nation. The site features head-to-head online competition with tournaments, ladders, leaderboards, downloadable rosters, rankings, team updates, instant messaging and voice chat. EA SPORTS Nation is available exclusively to players who enter from the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system.

Since August, more than 250,000 players have registered to compete on Madden NFL 2004 and NCAA Football 2004. The number of players is expected to grow dramatically in the next week when EA adds Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2004, NASCAR Thunder 2004 and NHL 2004. In October, EA will introduce NBA Live 2004, and FIFA Soccer 2004. NCAA March Madness 2004 college basketball and MVP Baseball 2004 will follow.

Last year, more than 500,000 players registered to be matched on EA SPORTS titles, said Senior Vice President of Marketing Frank Gibeau. Registering an additional 250,000 players on just two additional games demonstrates the extraordinary potential of the EA SPORTS Nation.

On September 14, peak simultaneous users on Madden NFL 2004 alone reached 7000. Peak Simultaneous Users is a vital statistic because it measures the number of players available to compete on a given game. No other console-based sports title can boast 7000 players at one time.

EA SPORTS Nation Features include:

- Downloadable Content: Keep your teams current with downloadable roster updates for all team-based pro sports so that rosters reflect the latest signings and trades.

- EA SPORTS Nation Rankings: Sports gaming is all about proving your skills. Leader boards sort player standings in multiple categories based on skill level. Check out the leaderboard for Madden NFL 2004 -- REALISTEBC Rules!

- Intuitive Matchmaking: Find opponents of your skill level with lobbies, chat, automated Quick Match matchmaking, game rooms that can be password-protected to set up a meeting place for friends, user blocking, and the ability to choose ranked or unranked opponents. (Some matchmaking features vary by title.)

- EA SPORTS Tournaments: Compete in laddered organized competitions.

- EA SPORTS Talk: With voice chat over IP, you can talk trash or discuss strategy over a hands-free headset (USB headset and broadband connection required; not available on NASCAR Thunder).

The competition never sleeps - you can get a game on EA SPORTS Nation anytime from anyplace, said Gibeau. Right now, the world's number one Madden player is REALISTEBC - but several thousand competitors are fighting up the ladder to knock him off.

Follow the download tab above to find the link to the EA Sports Nation web site.

PlayStation 2 online play requires an Internet connection, a network adaptor and memory card for the PlayStation 2.

What about Xbox?

Madden NFL 2004 is the number one football title on the Xbox, said Gibeau. Sales and market share for the Xbox version of Madden have grown dramatically this year.