By Joseph Leray


As if the holiday season and the New Year weren’t enough to remind us of the inescapable creep of time, Electronic Arts has announced that it will be scuttling the servers of its older sports titles later this month.

In a statement on their website, EA explains that “fewer than 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles” are still playing games like "FIFA 11," "Madden 11," and "NHL 11" -- games for which the online multiplayer servers will be shut down on the 11th. “It’s no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running,” the statement continues.
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EA Sports fans tend to be a fairly loyal bunch. Year after year, they pay $60 to purchase what essentially amounts to the same game with some additional features and updated player rosters. Sure, "Madden" occasionally launches with some marginally new concept – "Madden NFL 12" has Dynamic Player Performance – but a large portion of EA's sport-loving base will confidently purchase this year's installment, predicated on the fact that it has the number 12 in the title.

While EA obviously appreciates your loyalty, they want to offer you yet another way to turn over some coin to their sport franchises on a yearly basis.

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NHL GameCenter PSN

Xbox Live chose ESPN as its sports programming partner this year, but the PlayStation Network seems to be taking a slightly different approach in a new arrangement with the NHL. The NHL already had an online option available via their NHL GameCenter service, but they've partnered up with the PSN folks to integrate that into the PlayStation 3 experience via an app for PlayStation Plus subscribers at no extra cost and a $10 charge for non-subscribers.

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Every year, the August release of “Madden” tends to overshadow one of EA Sports’ other most long-standing and highly cherished franchise: the “NHL” series. Following a few stumbles in the middle of the decade, EA reclaimed the top spot with a series of stellar annual hockey games. “NHL 10” is no different.

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