It’s been over six years since the last fully-featured boxing game was released for consoles.
When it comes to video games, six years is the equivalent of a lifetime.
EA Sports’ Fight Night Champion for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was that game, and it was one of the most well-received boxing games of the generation with a Metacritic rating of 86, which is better than favorable.
Unfortunately, it was the last true boxing video game fans have gotten.
Sure, there’s Real Boxing for mobile devices, but that’s only a small offering that not all fans can really enjoy. Where are boxing games for main systems like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC?
The simple answer would be to say that when EA Sports acquired the UFC license to produce the organization’s video game, the entire Fight Night development team was moved to the new MMA project.
That’s the simple answer. The real answer appears to be a bit more complex.
The subject was brought up to a source within EA Sports, and it was stated that the market just wasn’t strong enough – both domestic and international – to justify a continuing boxing game on top of the UFC titles.
When the fact that Fight Night Champion did 1.89-million buys globally compared to just 1.54M for EA Sports UFC and 1.60M for EA Sports UFC 2 was brought up, the reasoning changed a little bit.
The source then said that licensing was a real big factor for boxing games.
According to the conversation that was had, every fighter gets licensed individually for boxing titles because – unlike the UFC, NFL, NHL, etc. – there isn’t a single governing body to license all fighters. And without a large contingent of licensed fighters, the company just doesn’t see the value in releasing a game with a generic roster.
With the successful 2017 that the sport of boxing is having, one has to assume that the demand for a new game – maybe Fight Night Champion 2? – will only grow. But will EA or a different company all together feel that the hassle to license fighters is worth the potential of a new game for the current generation of fans?