E3 2012: Electronic Arts Partners With UFC for New MMA Game Franchise

3:44 PM PST 06/04/2012 by John Gaudiosi

Ultimate Fighting Championship previously worked with THQ on four games, but that publisher has streamlined its game output and opened the door for this EA Sports.

During its E3 2012 press conference, Zuffa President Dana White took the stage to announce a brand new game series. Electronic Arts has signed a licensing agreement with Zuffa to produce and distribute videogames bearing its Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brand. The new multi-year, multi-product partnership will provide EA the exclusive rights to develop UFC videogames, which will be developed and marketed under the EA Sports brand.

“We’re thrilled to begin a long-term partnership that will bring fans incredibly authentic, and deeply connected, UFC videogames,” said Andrew Wilson, evp and head of EA Sports. “UFC has become a global powerhouse because they have the world’s best fighters, competing in the world’s best mixed martial arts events. We share UFC’s passion for the sport, and we look forward to capturing all of the intensity and excitement of the action with unique new game experiences across a range of platforms.”

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Zuffa has licensed to EA the UFC rights previously held by THQ, which released four games based on the popular MMA brand. EA previously had gone head-to-head with THQ with EA Sports MMA, a game that failed to connect with gamers minus the UFC brand.

“We’d like to thank THQ for creating some of the most critically-acclaimed sports videogames of this console generation, and we’re excited to enter a new relationship with EA that will help us deepen our connection with fighting fans around the world,” said UFC president Dana White. “There’s no one better at creating authentic sports videogames than EA Sports, and we’re excited to have a partner who shares our vision of deep, connected and multi-platform global game experiences.”

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“We’ve relished our relationship with UFC over the last several years and believe that the UFC gaming brand is in great shape. THQ’s more focused strategy moving forward meant that transferring the license to EA made sense to all parties,” said THQ CEO Brian Farrell. “We’d like to thank the UFC for their great support and partnership and wish EA all the best moving forward.”

Ironically, EA turned down UFC years ago when it wanted a gaming partnership, before White and his team turned the brand into the biggest thing in sports today. Now UFC and EA Sports get a chance to work together and develop new games based on the sport of MMA.

EA Sports is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA Sports delivers personal access to the emotion of sports through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, content and online services for videogame consoles, personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and social networks. EA Sports game franchises include Madden NFL football, FIFA SoccerNHL hockey, NBA LIVE basketball, NCAA Football, Fight Night boxing and Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf. 

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