EA Sports sticks with Tiger Woods -- as athlete
Electronic Arts tonight said it would forge ahead with its Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online game, in spite of the golfer's off-course indiscretions.
EA Sports President Peter Moore acknowledged in a blog post that the decision would "create attention and further speculation about Tiger Woods," who in early December responded to a flurry of speculation about several extramarital affairs by admitting to "transgressions" without specifying what they may have been.
Many of Woods' corporate sponsors -- including Gillette, AT&T and Accenture -- have distanced themselves from the athlete after he released his statement, which included a plea for privacy. Woods later said he would take an indefinite hiatus from golfing to "focus on being a better husband, father and person."
Moore defended EA's decision, saying the relationship was based on Woods' abilities and calling him "one of the greatest athletes in history."
The Redwood City, Calif., game company has sunk months of work on the online title, perhaps too much to simply cut bait. Moore said the game had been tested with more than 75,000 players for the last eight months. "We have spent considerable time developing and testing this game," Moore wrote. "We're proud of it and we are releasing it in open beta later this month."
Although initially free to play, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online offers extra features and levels for a fee.
-- Alex Pham
Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.