EA Cricket set for return with 2019 release
Despite resounding success of their cricket game series, EA Sports made the tough decision to discontinue the franchise due to its lack of global appeal. EA Cricket sold over 50 million copies in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Asia. However, the increase in demand to produce a more competent FIFA series made EA cut corners to focus on their primary sports game.
A deadlock with the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) over player rights, further dampened the developer's expectations to move forward with the brand. Furthermore, the introduction of the FIFA Street series saw resources being depleted for the EA Cricket franchise. However, Sportskeeda has learnt that the multi-million dollar game distributor is targeting a return to the sport in 2019.
Our source close to EA Sports, “Yes, the board is currently contemplating on how to move forward with the cricket game. We did a market study and realised that close to 15 million people still play the game, even after we stopped producing in 2007. Hence, it only makes sense for us to acknowledge a strong potential there. We are also aware that there are hardly any competitors within this market. But, our primary objective if the game comes out in 2019, will be to acquire ICC and BCCI rights for the players.
“It's no secret that India will be our primary sector of sales, and this time if we do venture back into the market, it will be with player rights. Our representatives have already had meetings with BCCI members, let's see how talks progress.”
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Narrative similar to ‘The Journey’ might be included
This particular anecdote is massive news for fans, who have been eagerly waiting for the game to release. Along with Brian Lara cricket, EA Cricket dominated the cricket games segment for almost a decade, with the first edition releasing as early as 1996.
Our source added, “The game will be distinctly different from the previous editions, and will include a narrative similar to The Journey, where a budding player will begin his career in a country of his choice. All domestic competitions including Big Bash, Indian Premier League (IPL) will also be included.
“We are currently talking to all parties who can help us acquire these rights. For the India deal, we have an office in Hyderabad which is coordinating this matter. As I said, it's very important for us to get the player rights, only then will we move forward. EA doesn’t want a repeat of 2007.”
EA Sports CEO Andrew Wilson had also confirmed that they are willing to have a look and re-study the market forces in the sub-continent for the game’s popularity.
Our source finally added, “Andrew (Wilson) strongly believes that the governing body in the sub-continent have to be supportive of the game. Hence, we are currently attempting to figure that out.”
Although fans might have to wait for a couple of years, if the game releases, it's music to the ears of cricket lovers across the world.