EA Sports Confirms No EASHL or GM Connected for NHL 15 on Xbox One and PS4

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 2:45 pm


After a week of speculation as circumstantial evidence continued to mount EA Sports has now finally confirmed that there will be no EA Sports Hockey League or GM Connected modes in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of NHL 15. It’s another in a long line of major mishaps in recent years by EA – not just about losing the critical features but the way they alienated consumers in the process and damaged a brand. 

GM Connected has its share of fans who invest a lot of time in the mode but EASHL is the big one here. That is a very popular mode (many people buy the game solely because of it) and there are a number of active rich communities built around it. The controversy leading up to confirmation was so huge that a thread discussing it in the EA forum has over 200K views and EASHL at one point trended worldwide on Twitter. The magnitude of losing the mode can not be understated and will absolutely affect sales.

There isn’t an ideal equivalent in another sports game to cite as a comparison for how much EASHL has meant to NHL. Crew mode in NBA 2K10-11 was not used anywhere near as much as EASHL but still an uproar was created when 2K Sports ripped it out from NBA 2K12 without informing anyone. Losing EASHL in NHL might be more like what it would be to lose Franchise mode from Madden or Career mode from FIFA. That’s where the hardcore base plays and those are the most important customers to hold onto.

EA treated their customers poorly throughout this process. By withholding the information as long as possible, and forcing interested consumers to dig and investigate for what the feature set might be, it’s understandable that there is more anger right now than disappointment. Communication from the company has worsened over recent years as they moved more to social media where they could try and more tightly control their message. The result has been a sense that the concerns of customers are being ignored as they choose instead to post memes and ask pointless questions just to try and boost their social metrics.

NHL didn’t have to face the crunch of releasing two generations of the product last year. The lead producer in interviews has even cited the extra development time for allowing the team to “spend more time focusing on the features for NHL 15”. Those words will ring hollow now with the 360/PS3 even being described as “The Complete Hockey Experience” by EA which can only mean those buying on the new systems are getting the company’s incomplete hockey experience and all for the same $60.

A special Press Row Hangout will be held tonight to discuss the ramifications of the news that both EASHL and GM Connected won’t be found in the XB1/PS4 product. Check it out live at 1030ET and it will be archived to watch at any point after as well.