Sunday, September 7

ESPN and EA Team Up For Virtual Playbook

In 2005, Electronic Arts further shored up its hold on professional sports gaming by signing a 15-year exclusivity contract with the premier sports network, ESPN. One of the most notable outcomes of that deal has been extensive ESPN integration into EA's stalwart gridiron sim Madden NFL, notably by way of a streaming stats ticker highlighting the performance of real-world athletes.

Now, Madden NFL will be playing a more prominent role in ESPN's own broadcasts. The game maker today unveiled the EA Sports Virtual Playbook, which melds ESPN's studio with images from Madden NFL to create what EA calls "augmented reality." The technology lets real and virtual people move about ESPN's set, highlighting matchups and demonstrating various offensive and defensive hypotheticals.

The new technology will be rolled out this week as part of ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. The broadcast network also intends to integrate the new technology into its Monday Night Countdown and NFL Live programs, with SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, and ESPN2's morning sports program First Take all potential venues for the Virtual Playbook.

[Thanks, Gamespot]


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