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Online support for EA Sports Active 2 and NFL Training Camp will end next month

EA Sports Active 2 for Wii

EA has announced that they will shut down the online servers for a group of games, including EA Sports Active 2 (on all consoles) and NFL Training Camp (for Wii).  That means your online workout stats and workout groups for those games will go to cyber-heaven on April 15.

While EA should get some props for having the first console fitness games to have crucial online support – something I decried the lack of – it’s still dismaying that they’re pulling the plug after only about a year and a half after those games were released.  It’s also a consumer issue, since EASA2 and NFL are still on many retail store shelves and still selling for as much as $50.  Someone might pick up one of those games on a whim, or as a gift for a football fan who’s wearing a hole in the couch, only to find that the online support promised on the box no longer exists.

On the silver lining side, NFL has been drastically cut to under $15 at Amazon and I expect EASA2 to soon follow suit. I picked up NFL a couple months ago and tried it a couple times, and while it does have some connectivity issues (Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 for Kinect has really spoiled me) it’s still a good workout with plenty of NFL fan flavor.  The heart rate monitor and leg controllers are identical for both games, so if you get one of each, you can enjoy multiplayer on both games.

And since it’s the age of social networks, there will still be forums and groups devoted to EASA and NFL even after the built-in support is gone. The EA Sports Active forum is very active, and by all indications, will keep on movin’ after April.

(Via Ars Technica)

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Amazon reviewer falls out of love with NFL Training Camp for Wii

NFL Training Camp, courtesy Gameinformer.com

The reviews at Amazon are a great resource for seeing what regular consumers think of a game, and since they can be edited and updated, they can be even more useful for seeing how well games work over the long term.  Take this review of NFL Training Camp for Wii, which turned into a sort of mini-blog that chronicles one user’s journey from rave to rant.

The writer, who like many of us just wanted to lose a few pounds, first “recommended” and then “highly recommended” the game after finding he could stick to the program after a few initial glitches.  But a month later, the honeymoon turned sour as online problems occurred (server went down, data was lost) and it got worse as the reviewer had customer service and support problems with EA.  Then came the final insult:

UPDATE 03/03/2011

Now it’s $40?!? I feel robbed EA. I pay $100 end of November, and 3 months later it’s at bargain basement prices? Not cool at all, and it’s made me incredibly unmotivated to use this, as I feel I have been scammed.

Indeed, EA has drastically cut the prices of NFL on Wii, and Active 2 on all platforms, from $100 to under $40.  (At this writing NFL is $32.60.)  That’s not-too-bad news for tightwads like me, but at the same time, I feel for the early adopters, and honestly I’d rather see better service and support than a bottom-feeder price.  Especially with a health and fitness product, where support and motivation are key.  EA needs to recover this fumble and step up their game before I’ll consider buying.

Your Shape demo video of its online support community

Ubisoft has posted a video demonstrating the online support component of the upcoming Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for Xbox360.  It will let you access your stats from a computer (a guy is shown using an Ipad), post them on Twitter or Facebook, and view real-time stats for other players while you’re working out.

This looks like exactly what fitness video games have been missing all along.  Yes, you can burn calories and feel good working out in your basement, but it’s difficult to meet your fitness goals in a vacuum, without support and a little friendly butt-kicking from others.

Your Shape is on Xbox360 only, but EA Sports Active 2 (on all platforms) and EA’s NFL Training Camp (Wii) will also offer online support.

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