EA’s Real Money Experiment With Console Gaming Fails
Despite enjoying exceptional growth around the world, real money fantasy sports betting has not been successful for the console market. This month sees EA Sports close it’s much touted EA Arena which is a real money gambling hub for virtual fans.
EA Arena was launched in 2012 with a partnership between EA Sports and World Gaming which was a partnership brand operated under Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. With the backing of some of the best global brands in the business, EA Arena allowed players to compete against each other on the outcome of matches they participate in themselves. These popular games include titles like NHL, Madden, Fifa etc. Already back in August this year it was announced that this real money option would not be a part of the 2015 titles and from November this feature would no longer be available in previous titles.
Questions have been asked how is it possible that what seemingly is a successful global trend cannot be transposed to the console market. People who have utilized the EA Arena option claim that it takes a lot of the fun out of normal console gaming. Players are much more cautious and tend to take no risks when playing for real money. Added to this is the legal grey area as a large portion of EA players are under the age of 18. While EA dodged this minefield by ensuring that their partner Virgin Gaming provided the option. In turn Virgin Gaming does not fall under the gambling laws as video games are considered games of skill and not chance under gambling restrictions.
The official statement from EA as to the closure of EA Arena stated,” The shape of competitive gaming has changed greatly over the years, and the EA SPORTS Arena is no exception. There are tens of thousands of gamers challenging others each day, and there are many options available where these kinds of matches can be played. Less than 0.2 percent of our players were participating in Arena events on a regular basis. That told us that our fans weren’t seeing value in the Arena service, and we decided to focus our efforts on developing new, engaging services for our player.”
The big question is if we will see another effort at infiltrating the massive console market in an effort to offer real money gambling to the millions of loyal players who might be tempted to have a flutter.