Culture

Sony, EA see Bowl tie-ins hiking profits

The game makers look to tap into Super Bowl excitement with dueling promo events. The outcome of the Sony event has mirrored actual Bowl results each year Sony has done it.

Video game giants Sony and Electronic Arts will try to tap into Super Bowl excitement this week with dueling promotional events in San Diego.

Sony steps up to the scrimmage line first with its "Game Before the Game" event Wednesday night. A to-be-announced player from the Oakland Raiders will face off against a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in "NFL GameDay 2003," Sony's pro football game for its PlayStation 2 console.

Wagering types may want to pay attention. The outcome of the Sony event has mirrored the actual Super Bowl each of the seven years Sony has done it, including last year, when New England Patriots receiver Troy Brown trounced St. Louis Rams receiver Isaac Bruce.

Electronic Arts won't try to predict the future but should serve up some laughs with its "Madden Bowl" on Thursday night. A platoon of NFL stars--including Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and San Francisco 49ers receiver Terrell Owens--will go at one another in "Madden NFL," EA's market-leading pro-football title.

The NFL players will also have a chance to be humiliated by Justin Cohen of New Jersey, winner of the "Madden Challenge," EA's recent nationwide tourney to crown the top "Madden" player.

EA did try to predict the Super Bowl outcome early last September by simulating the 2002 season numerous times in "Madden NFL." The game correctly saw the Raiders part of the upcoming matchup, but it forecast a victory by the St. Louis Rams.

Football games have become one of the most lucrative and competitive segments of the video game industry, with numerous companies hoping to grab a chunk of the $178 million that EA raked in with the last version of "Madden."