Here's MMA Payout's review of E3 & & the game:
Entering the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was clear to see who the biggest player in the gaming industry was purely based on location and visibility, and that was undoubtedly Electronic Arts.
EA’s spacious exhibit, which was located just a few feet from the main entrance, made it nearly impossible to miss them. Second to EA was probably Microsoft, coming off huge Monday announcements regarding the new re-designed XBOX and their highly anticipated accessory, the Xbox Kinect. Other companies with a presence in E3 were G4 TV, Nintendo, and PlayStation.
As I stepped into the venue, I was greeted by EA’s product marketing manager Randy Chase followed by several members of the EA Sports MMA development team, who have been working hard to polish the game and meet their October 19th release date. First thing I noticed was that the EA Sports MMA exhibit had a good amount of traffic, filled with mostly enthusiastic fans and gamers who were experiencing playing a MMA game for the very first time. The EA Sports MMA trailer above the game stations did a great job at captivating curious gamers. Those who were reluctant were encouraged to try the game by the EA team, and most appeared to have an enjoyable experience.
Game developers like Victor Lugo were more than happy to teach anyone playing the game how to perform different maneuvers and the small nuances of the game. The developers were very observant during this introduction phase, analyzing the player’s reactions and frustrations during their gaming experience. We also had Strikeforce fighters show up throughout the day. Frank Shamrock, Gilbert Melendez, and Mayhem Miller all stopped by and played against developers and willing gamers. Everyone had a pretty good time, and fighters did a great job at signing autographs or taking pictures with fans. It was an enjoyable experience all around.
What I learned from playing the EA Sports MMA Demo: Lenne Hardt announces the winner of the match when you play with the Japanese rule set, which will be a huge plus for the hardcore Japanese MMA fans. When playing with Unified Rules, Jimmy Lennon Jr. announces the winner as a Strikeforce event would. The graphics and the fluidity of the fighter movements, specifically when the fight is taken to the ground, are very nicely done. Compared to the UFC Undisputed control scheme, it is completely different and a bit more like EA’s Fight Night. If you have it in your DNA to mash buttons furiously, you will quickly gas out and most likely be stopped either by strikes or a submission, so there is a bit of a learning curve when transitioning from Undisputed to EA Sports MMA.
You can’t fault EA here though, they did a wonderful job selling the game to anyone willing to try it. As a result of having a successful E3 event, EA Sports MMA was nominated for “Best of E3″ by IGN, 1UP, and Kokatu, who are 3 of the most respected video game content providers in the industry. In total, EA Sports MMA was nominated for 8 “Best of E3″ awards when E3 wrapped up on Thursday.
Most interesting to me was the fact that just under the monitor screens of the game stations, EA placed Strikeforce Live promo material encouraging curious gamers to witness MMA live after the E3 event, persuading them with a percentage discount credit towards a ticket purchase for the event. To also promote the event, EA bought groups of tickets and gave them to fighters like Jason “Mayhem” Miller and “King” Mo Lawal to give away to fans. There was definitely some strong synergy between Strikeforce and EA during the E3 event, and later on during the Strikeforce Live event.
Something else that caught my attention was the new sponsor Strikeforce picked up for this event, which was GoDaddy.com. If you can recall, the last time GoDaddy was involved in MMA was when they were a huge sponsor for the now infamous Affliction third show that never took place. I was curious when they were going to jump back into MMA, and I got my answer as soon as I spotted their logo on the Strikeforce promo.
As it was time to close up E3 for the day, “Mayhem” and “El Nino” brawled one last time before they flipped the power switch.
Here is the cover of EA Sports MMA video game (courtesy of MiddleEasy), which was announced on EA’s Monday Presser:
What was noticeable at E3 to me was how close EA and Strikeforce worked together to pull off this combination event. Having fighters stop by and meet the fans plus properly placing promotional material were great ways to get E3 attendees to experience live MMA via Strikeforce, and apparently, it worked. Where I was sitting, I overheard ticket purchasers mention that this was the first time they attended an MMA event and really didn’t know any of the fighters on the card. From observing the people around me, I can definitely say that there were a lot of new eyeballs there at the Nokia Theater that night to witness MMA in person. According to MMAJunkie, the event drew 5,259 attendees with a gate of 418K, which will have to be considered a success for a Wednesday Strikeforce show in Los Angeles sandwiched between NBA Final games. For comparison, the Strikeforce Miami show only drew 7K attendees for a 301K gate, though it did great rating numbers on Showtime.
Some may have criticized Strikeforce for only having a 6 fight card with only 2 prelims, but lets not forget that this event was unofficially held in conjunction to E3 (walking distance from LA Convention Center), which is why it was specifically planned with EA in this manner. If Strikeforce added any more prelims, the start time would have been bumped to 5 PM PST, which would have then overlapped with the Expo, since E3 was scheduled to be open from 10AM to 6 PM PST on that night. Strikeforce and EA then gave E3 attendees an hour to make their way to the Nokia Theater area and purchase tickets for the event, which started at 7 PM PST. They couldn’t fit any more prelims due to the Showtime broadcast start time of 8 PM PST/11 PM EST, which some East Coasters were already complaining was a tad bit too late for their taste. The safe bet here was to only schedule 2 prelim fights, which ended up giving the attendees 20 minutes to kill before the Showtime broadcast started, though I am glad to report that the prelims were good and exciting fights.
The bet with EA Sports MMA from Strikeforce’s point of view is that it will give a big boost to their brand and hopefully allow their fighters to become stars and household names in the near future, much like UFC Undisputed 2009 was able to do for the UFC. EA has already heard the praises for the game, and all that is left now is to see how well the game will sell, hoping that adding UFC’s Randy Couture and MMA great Fedor on the front cover will attract some extra mainstream eyeballs. Though Undisputed 2009 had a record-breaking debut, its follow-up release, UFC Undisputed 2010, is having slower than anticipated sales at the moment, which may be an indicator that MMA fans may not be looking to buy a new MMA game after Undisputed 2009 satisfied their urge for a quality MMA title. EA does offer a great deal of features and game-play that Undisputed does not, but will EA’s name be able to sell enough copies to satisfy the game’s expectations, grow the Strikeforce brand, and allow their fighters to become more of a household name? The good news is that from what I witnessed on Wednesday, the game release will generate a good amount of buzz. EA has a great marketing and advertising campaign going, not to mention a nice budget for games it gets firmly behind. From everything that I saw on Wednesday, they are clearly behind MMA, EA Sports MMA, and Strikeforce.