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EA snubs Xbox Live

No online support from EA this year?

The Xbox might be the only current console capable of connecting to the internet out of the box, but according to a report from Reuters the only place to play Madden NFL online this year will be on the PlayStation 2. The latest installment in EA Sports' massive American Football franchise will apparently support the PS2's new broadband and dial-up adapter, which is due to launch at about $40 in the US this summer, but not the pay-to-play Xbox Live service from Microsoft. While this is obviously of little interest to Europeans, Madden shifts in excess of a million units each year in the States and consistently tops the all formats chart, much like the FIFA franchise on our side of the pond. "We are still in discussions, but at this point it does not appear that EA Games or Madden Football will support the online features of the Xbox this year", EA's Jeff Brown confirmed to Reuters. It's not clear whether the issues that are holding EA back from supporting Xbox Live are financial or technical. By contrast Sony will be demonstrating Madden NFL 2003 as part of their online gaming presentation at E3 next week. A press release from EA also revealed that the company has "plans for additional EA Sports and EA Games franchises that will take full advantage of the PlayStation 2 console's online capabilities", none of which will be appearing on Xbox Live any time soon. If things pan out this way, a total lack of support from the world's biggest third party publisher would be a hefty blow for Microsoft, who have always touted the built-in online capabilities of the Xbox as one of its major advantages over the competition. Microsoft has recently been describing itself as a heavyweight in the online arena, but this latest announcement is sure to give Sony more reason to celebrate. Related Feature - Nintendo reveals online plans

Source - Reuters / press release