By Jamie Glover
Despite critical success and furious demand from fans, EA sports are yet to release a follow up to the wildly popular Fight Night Series.
Boxing games have been some of the most popular and entertaining sports games on the market. At the top of the pile has always been the EA Sports franchise – Fight Night. Their most recent instalment in the series was given a rating of 8.5/great by Gamespot and sold close to two million copies.
However in recent years EA sports have chosen to focus on their other combat sports game UFC. Boxing fans speculated that boxing is losing it’s fan-base to mixed martial arts and the UFC Ben Olenski: “I think it is down to MMA becoming more mainstream.
“Boxing is on it’s knees in the US so it’s probably not the best investment for a company such as EA,” said Adam Wade.
Durrell Casillas Carter said: “I think the American market is falling out of love with boxing [and that’s] why they stopped making boxing games.”
But is this a true reflection of the popularity of boxing? The Richest, lists boxing as America’s ninth most popular sport, on a list that MMA fails to even place.
This is reflected in the UK as Worldatlas lists boxing as number 10, again in a list that doesn’t place MMA. Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports has also previously stated that boxing is the second most popular sport for SkySports.
In PPV terms boxing far surpasses the UFC with eight of the top ten all time best PPV buys in combat sports. Similarly in the UK, boxing is breaking attendance records with Anthony Joshua as a marquee star. This year he broke a long-standing record set by Muhammad Ali as the most attended indoor sporting event.
Fans point to the standout boxing star to promote the game. “I think it’s about finding a big US star. Canelo isn’t well liked enough to be the cover star,” said Ben Olensk.
However some point to the breadth of elite fighters in general to account for the lack of a standout star. “A new Fight night would be great if it had a stacked roster of modern fighters. Heavyweights like; Joshua, Wilder, Parker, Whyte. Super-middleweights/middleweights like Degale, Eubank Jr, Golovkin, Canelo, Saunders, Jacobs,” said Thomas Bradder.
The lack of a standout boxing star may be a good argument now but EA sports have failed to recognize past superstars. This decade has bred two of the biggest boxing stars of all time – Mayweather and Pacquiao. The two fought and smashed PPV records at the time with 4.6million buys. EA sports failed to capitalize on this success.
At the end of 2017 there has still been no boxing game released since 2011. To date boxing games are left in the distant past of last generation consoles such as Xbox 360 and PS3.