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Game Companies Eye Their Paper Moon
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 17, 2006   |   Episode 96 (Show Archive)  

   

The cover art is pretty cool, too bad the game isn't!
With so many choices on the shelves it can sometimes feel like a crapshoot spending your hard earned money on one. Deep down you want to believe the information on the packaging, but you and I both know there's nothing worse than being sold a faulty bill of goods by some over zealous box designer. Should you believe it when they tell you that their game has "unsurpassed 3D graphics," "huge, wide-open environments," or "intense curbside interrogations"?

What if the game you plan on buying doesn't just lie about its features, but, thanks to its name, implies that it's something

I'm sure this game does better in those other countries where Soccer is actually popular!
it is not? How would you react if the sequel you bought was actually the original game repackaged?

This is one situation that is all too real to the thousands of people who went and picked up their copy of Electronic Arts' FIFA Street 2 for the PSP and Nintendo DS. On the console FIFA Street 2 is the sequel to the 2005 critical bomb, it features brand new moves, a significantly better single player mode, and a bunch of entertaining multiplayer games. On the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, however, FIFA Street 2 is, well, FIFA Street 1. Forget about all of those improvements, the portable FIFA Street 2 is really nothing more than a port of the 2005 FIFA Street console game, a game that nobody wanted to play again.


It's a shame the PSP can't produce a good NBA Street game!
Before we go beyond the point of no return, I should back up and clarify that I have no problem with companies porting their console games to the portables. While I would much rather see new titles on the Nintendo DS and PSP, there are good reasons for companies to go back and port popular titles. But if you're going to port a game you have to make sure you're honest about it, if the game is called FIFA Street 2 on the PSP then it is expected to be a port of the PlayStation 2 or Xbox version of FIFA Street.


All the excitement of the PC Battlefield 2 is missing from the Xbox version!
Why not just call the game FIFA Street? FIFA Street 2 was the first title in the franchise to show up on either the DS or PSP, so it would have been a natural for a numberless title. And it would have been a lot more honest, too. If that is too boring, then they should have added the word "Showdown" to the title (like the PSP NBA Street) or an "Unleashed" (like the PSP NFL Street). Of why not make your own? FIFA Street EXTREME! FIFA Street 'Roided-Up! I mean really, anything but FIFA Street 2.

This isn't the first time Electronic Arts has decided to use the same name for a different game. PS2 and Xbox owners already know that EA's Battlefield 2: Modern Combat is a far cry from the PC Battlefield 2, something that cannot be stressed enough. That's not to say that the console versions are bad games, but the name "Battlefield 2" means something, and that something is nowhere to be seen

No, no, no ... of course we aren't talking about the cell phone Call of Duty!
on the Xbox or PS2. If anything Electronic Arts should have called the console version something else, something that doesn't have anything to do with the PC game.

Unfortunately Electronic Arts isn't the only company misleading their customers. If you bought the PS2 or Xbox version of Call of Duty or Call of Duty 2 you might have expected a slimmed down port of the award winning PC first-person shooter ... but that's not what you get. Oh sure the game is slimmed down, but it's also completely different. Activision was nice enough to eventually release a real port of Call of Duty 2 on the Xbox 360, but by that time consumers already had to suffer through a number of misleading Call of Duty games.

The upsetting part of this marketing ploy is that these companies know that these misleading names

I don't care what Tiger tells you, his PSP games aren't online!
will help sales. If the average consumer had a choice between the original FIFA Street on the PSP and the much-improved sequel on one of the consoles, most people would go for the sequel. But by tricking the PSP owners into thinking they can have the sequel it allows all versions to sell fairly ... just as long as nobody does any research. If you ask me, that practice is despicable.

Electronic Arts is no stranger to PSP controversies. One year ago when the PSP launched, all of EA's offerings (which included the likes of Tiger Woods, NFL Street, NBA Street, and FIFA Soccer) were marked as "Wi-Fi Compatible (Ad Hoc/Infrastructure)," leading to a lot

There really aren't enough good movies about con artists!
of confusion among those consumers that don't research their purchases. They admitted the mistake and have sense fixed the typos, but these days it just feels like another example of a company fooling consumers into buying their products.

No matter if it's pretending to support online play or tricking consumers into thinking they are buying a sequel, Electronic Arts has proven themselves has being very sneaky when it comes to the recent portable systems. If it weren't for the fact that they released Burnout Legends it would be easy to recommend ignoring all of EA's PSP offerings.

These days people have a blind hatred for Electronic Arts, there are people that will simply blame EA for everything. But don't let your anger be blind; it's despicable practices like this that you should point to. These are the reasons Electronic Arts gets its bad name. They still release good games, but these days it's hard to support a company who seems more interested in fooling people than developing amazing portable software.
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