EA Sports Set To Deliver Browser-Based Tiger Woods Game

EA Sports, in an effort to reach an audience that doesn’t have videogame consoles, will launch a browser-based version of its Tiger Woods golf franchise, giving fans of the game a chance to play from nearly any computer with any speed of broadband connection. It could also be an indicator of the future of gaming, as game companies tap into the power of PCs coupled with high-speed connections instead of relying on the sale of disc-based games.

“We’re hoping to build products that live side by side, but we first serve fans who don’t own a game console,” says EA Sports Executive Producer Mike Teramaykin. “But we also think people can play the console game for the full living-room experience and then get a couple of holes in at work on the PC.”

Besides an authentic EA Sports game-play and graphics experience, the game will offer robust community features. For example, players will be able to form private golf outings and teams for team-vs.-team competitions, chat with other players on the same course, and earn more virtual money and points for building a fan base via Facebook and other sites.

“The game is based on a server architecture, and there are no patches to download,” says Teramaykin. “It’s also very secure.”

The best part for users is, there will not be lengthy downloads. In tests, EA Sports staffers were even able to play via wireless connections on airplanes.

“There will not be 100-MB downloads,” Teramaykin says. “Users will just click a button and begin playing, and, if they close the Web browser, they can open it later and pick up where they left off.”

Right now, the game includes seven courses, including St. Andrews Golf Links, Pebble Beach, and Wolf Creek. One course is expected to be added per month, complemented by an expansive online “pro shop,” where virtual golfers can try out virtual clubs, clothes, and more.

The game is still in beta testing (and has been for eight months). While there is no official launch date, the hope is to get it out to the public in the next month or two. Pricing models are being investigated, including micro transactions and/or tiered-subscription models.

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