Fans of THQ's UFC: Undisputed franchise have reason to celebrate as the publisher and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have extended their exclusive license agreement through 2018. The news was announced in the 'Investors' section of THQ's web site. Danny Bilson, Executive Vice President of Core Gaming at THQ, said that the agreement would allow THQ to continue to work with UFC to produce more installments of the UFC: Undisputed franchise, as well as new ventures into social gaming.
"Working closely together with Dana White and the incredible team at UFC, we plan to continue to deliver outstanding interactive UFC experiences to gamers around the world in all new ways, including social, mobile and brand extensions."
So not only will gamers be getting more Undisputed games, but we'll be getting 'social' & 'mobile' experiences as well. There aren't any specifics on what that means, but fans of Ultimate Fighting should be excited.
This deal furthers the trend of sports leagues signing exclusive agreements with publishers, which is somewhat troubling. Most sports gaming enthusiasts will tell you that Madden NFL, while the most popular football game, wasn't even the best football game when it had competition in the form of 2K Sports' NFL 2K series. THQ will have competition in EA Sports MMA, but having the UFC license heavily stacks the deck in THQ's favor from the start.
While I haven't personally had the opportunity to play EA Sports MMA yet (I did give the demo a spin though), I have a feeling even if the game is great I'll still want to own UFC: Undisputed. When it comes to sports games, I play them because I want to step into the shoes of the athletes that I know and follow, not the imaginary athletes found in non-licenced games. This is the problem that games like Backbreaker and All-Pro Football 2K8 had (in addition to not being very good in the gameplay department).
I know that EA Sports MMA does have real fighters, but they're from leagues like 'Strikeforce' and 'Liga de Combate' which, let's face it, aren't anywhere near the level of UFC (at least in the United States). Think about it, if you could play MLB 10: The Show or a baseball game using the Cape Cod league, which would you go for? That being said, I'm still going to try to give EA Sports MMA a fair chance, but like many gamers, I'm going in with a bias which is never good for a new game franchise.
If you'd like to see which game you'd prefer to step into the octagon with, both UFC: Undisputed 2010 and EA Sports MMA are available now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.