EA sticking with Tiger Woods in 2011, ditching PC

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011 to be console only

EA is standing by its troubled man in a big way, as the company announced today that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011 will be releasing on multiple platforms this June, including the iPhone, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. Noticeably absent is a PC version--instead EA is focusing on a browser-based version of the golf series for PCs and Macs entitled Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online. In fact, a public beta for PGA Tour Online is beginning today [Note: not to be confused with the Tiger Woods Wife Outrun Flash animation game.]

Little in the way of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011 was announced besides the release date, but EA detailed the many features of the beta, including Facebook connectivity, experience-based upgradable stats, and "realistic wind," which has been a part of almost every single golf game in existence. The announcement is below, and provides more details of the beta, which you can access at tigerwoodsonline.com.

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online Open Beta Highlights Strong EA Sports Golf Portfolio for 2010

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 to Ship This June

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.-- Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today the upcoming product lineup for the Tiger Woods PGA TOUR(r) franchise, which includes the launch of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR(r) Online open beta and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR(r) 11 on multiple consoles this June.

"During beta testing we've already seen tremendous participation and enthusiasm from golf fans around the world for Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online"

Golf enthusiasts globally can now get a free* preview of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online and invite others via Facebook(r) to join the open beta. Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online, developed by EA Tiburon, is the most accessible, authentic and feature-rich golf video game experience available through a web browser, with no game installation, no disc, and no additional peripherals required. In addition, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 will be available on the Wii(tm), Xbox 360(r), PlayStation(r)3 and iPhone(tm) platforms.

"During beta testing we've already seen tremendous participation and enthusiasm from golf fans around the world for Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online," said Executive Producer Mike Taramykin. "We're looking forward to offering all players the opportunity to preview the game for free* in the coming weeks. Also, during open beta gamers can invite others to play via Facebook and we continue to encourage the community to help to drive the game's evolution and development."

Since May, EA SPORTS has invited players to participate in four closed beta tests and consumers have showed overwhelming interest and support for the offering. During this time, more than 500,000 rounds of golf have been played.

During the free preview open beta starting today, players will also be able to enjoy the following new features:

* Facebook Connect - Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online connects to Facebook, allowing players to invite their friends to become fans, thus earning additional in-game experience. Players are also able to publish their accomplishments to Facebook.

* Golfer Progression - Players will begin their career as a beginner and by earning experience points, will climb the ranks toward becoming a golf legend.

* The Cut Line - As an extra challenge, each day a target score will appear that becomes the goal for each golfer. If the user meets, or scores under the target, additional in-game experience is rewarded.

* Fans, Favorites & Sponsorships - Each player will be able to acquire fans within Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online. The more fans a player has, the more experience points are rewarded. Sponsor your friends and earn in-game money if they make the Cut Line.

* Realistic Wind - Experience dynamic wind that calculates the direction and speed throughout the round, making the game more realistic and challenging.

* Pro Shop - Purchase upgraded equipment with in-game earnings to help improve your customized golfer and impress friends.

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online will be offered through a multi-tiered subscription in early 2010. Since 1986, EA has produced immersive golf experiences that give casual and hardcore gamers the ability to hit the links via an authentic gameplay experience. Since the launch of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 99 the franchise has sold more than 25 million units worldwide**. The critically acclaimed Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 10 on the Wii currently ranks as the 12th highest rated Wii game of all-time on Metacritic. Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 will launch this June on the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and iPhone platforms.

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Dave Rudden

GamePro

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