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A Step Forward for Virtual Sport on Game and Player
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A Step Forward for Virtual Sport

Jeremy Steeves  //  September 5, 2008


"Console sports MMO"? Let me explain.

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ext week marks the potential for a significant advancement in virtual sport to take place. EA Sports, with their release on NHL 09, claim to have developed the first-ever console sports MMO. What do they mean by "console sports MMO"? Let me explain.

Last year, many of EA's sports titles introduced online team play: that is, multiple users per team playing simultaneously. The addition was a huge success and had many questioning how they ever had fun playing with and against the computer. There's much more than the potential for unreal amounts of fun here.Though for many it seemed like the pinnacle of console sport, what EA has planned for this year has blown people away.

With NHL 09 comes the EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League). Users now have the ability to form teams with rosters of up to 50 players, then play league matches against other 50-man squads with fully user-controlled teams.

There's much more than the potential for unreal amounts of fun here. Removing AI altogether creates a similar dynamic to that of real sport. Without a doubt, increasing the human variable is sure to create an unparalleled realistic experience. Providing that EA can deliver this system free from lag and issues that commonly ruin online play, users will be battling for the first ever team online championship — while having more fun than ever before.

I'll be heading to the store September 11th to pick up my copy of NHL 09. Though the EASHL isn't the only thing I look forward to trying out, it's certainly what I'm most excited for. EA Sports has set the bar high themselves. They've built their own hype and now they've got to deliver.





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