Video Games

E3 Report: EA Brings Sports Games Catalog to Casual Market on Facebook

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Today at the Electronic Sports booth at E3, I was privileged to have spend some time with the EA Sports team and got to pick their brains regarding some of their biggest hits including Madden, NHL, NCAA Football and FIFA. But there were a certain set of sports games developed by EA that really isn’t meant for the hardcore gamers; but rather with the casual gamer in mind.

To be specific, the Facebook casual gaming crowd. Earlier this year, EA rolled out the Superstars line of games that are found exclusively on Facebook. These games are meant to deliver the EA sports experience to a set of gamers who may not like the full simulation games like Madden and Tiger Woods PGA. Madden NFL Superstars, World Series Superstars, FIFA Superstars and PGA Tour Golf Challenge are four games that are only available through Facebook that follow the familiar free-to-play formula that most other Facebook games follow.

And while these games are not full simulations like their console counterparts are, but follow a system of micromanagement where the player takes on the role of the general manager and puts out his best players on the field in hopes of winning. With the ability to create custom teams, or golfing sets in the case of PGA Tour, the games take on a quasi fantasy team.

I had a chance to view the demo for the games and saw that while they may not be the most powerful games EA has put out, the attention to detail that are found on the games is definitely EA quality. This is more evident in PGA Tour Golf Challenge than in the other three games. That is because while NFL, FIFA and World Series Superstars are all done in a 2D field, PGA Tour is the first game from EA’s Facebook line that is done in full 3D.

And I must admit, for a Facebook game, PGA Tour looks pretty damn good. It is comparable to something you would find on the DS or an early PSP game. Folks, that is quite impressive. As with most free-to-play games, these games by EA give you only the most basic of tools to build your team. You earn EA Coins by winning games and matches against other players or you can also earn coins by participating in special offers found in the game menu. I.E. the now famous (annoying)offer to sign up for Netflix, and other routine offers. Of course, for some of the best power ups and specials, you can only purchase them using the Facebook Credits system found on the site. Using real currency, you can get a leg up on the competition and build up the power of your team, club or golfer in faster time - giving you the edge in game play.

I just started playing these games myself, actually as soon as I got home from E3, and I will say that I am having a fun time with them. The hardcore gamer in me misses the full simulation feel that the big brothers to these games have - but on a casual level, these games really aren’t that bad. Madden in particular is almost as addictive to me as Farmville was before I quit that addiction.

In my humble opinion, I would suggest giving these games a try if you are a fan of casual games. You might be surprised just how much fun you could have playing these sports games on the Facebook website. But then again, that just stands as another testament to just how well EA handles their properties.