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Could Motion Control Be A Part Of EA Sports MMA’s Future?

EA Sports MMA LogoFor those of you that don’t follow the video game industry, Microsoft and Sony both unveiled their own motion control technology at E3 a couple weeks ago.

What’s that have to do with MMA? Well, EA Sports head Peter Moore just did an interview with Gamasutra and hinted that their upcoming EA Sports MMA franchise could incorporate motion control in the future.

I think they are going to impact us very positively. Anything that uses motion and movement — obviously sports is incredibly a part of that. We have seen both Natal and the motion controller from Sony several months ago, so we’re already, in both instances, looking at opportunities to bring our licensed product [and] our fitness product, to these new controller mechanisms. I can’t think about anybody better positioned than us to do that.

If you think about everything everybody’s always wanted to do with a sports video game, so much of the feedback you get is, “I just wish I could” — as we’re starting to do — “punch and something reacts.” So you think of Fight Night: Round 4, for example, if it were in a first-person mode it would be very very cool. So those are the things we’re starting to look at. Huge opportunity for us.

…You think of MMA coming up, of course, and what we’d be able to do there. You think of both tennis and golf, as two sports where you’re swinging, in some respect, and what we could do there that would be fun and unique. Like I say, anything that requires motion — just about all of our games do, obviously. I think there’s an opportunity.

To be perfectly honest, while I could definitely see it working for the Fight Night series, I really can’t imagine how it could work with mixed martial arts. Developing the ground game for an actual controller is challenging enough let alone coming up with something based on body movements. What would you do for a takedown? Shoot a double-leg on your TV? What about submissions? Armbar a pillow? I don’t know, but I’m also pretty sure the people at EA are smarter than I am, so if they could make it work somehow, that would be pretty sweet. I’m not holding my breath though.

Speaking of EA Sports, I played the Fight Night Round 4 demo earlier tonight, and have to say it is pretty freakin’ awesome. As most of you know, boxing isn’t really my thing, but I have enjoyed played some of the past Fight Night games and this one definitely takes the cake. The reason I’m mentioning this is because it gives me a lot of hope for their MMA game. I know their two different sports and all but you have to imagine EA will draw a lot of parallels between the two in terms of character modeling, presentation, etc. For example, as good as the fighters in Undisputed look, the boxers in FNR4 look significantly better. As a matter of fact, pretty much everything from the menus to the arena to the crowds is more polished. It also has that big fight feel to it with the big ring entrances and flashing lights throughout the fight. Now, Undisputed has that authentic UFC feel to it, so I’m sure a lot of you will disagree, but I much preferred every aspect of FNR4’s presentation over Undisputed’s. EA really nailed all the little details. Fingers crossed they do the same with MMA.

One last thing, Moore also mentioned that EA is committed to getting every available fighter they want in the game.

We are looking obviously at every fighter that we can, that we feel is applicable from a quality level and then analyzing their image rights, and if they’re available and we want them — then we’ll get them. If they’re not then we’ll move on to the next fighter.

Machida? A great fighter. There’s plenty of great fighters that have their image rights, and we’ll start announcing fighters pretty soon.

I wouldn’t bank on Machida. He didn’t have the leverage when he had to sign the UFC video game agreement to get a non-exclusive deal, so I doubt the Zuffa gave him one out of the kindness of their hearts. It will be interesting to see though who, if anyone, in Undisputed makes it into EA Sports MMA.

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