Tiger Woods Online is a free to play browser-based golf game released April 6, 2010. Initially, the game presents limited play options but players can earn new unlockables by playing and gaining experience or by simply purchasing them through micro-transactions. Players can purchase monthly or yearly memberships to gain access to all courses. Limited courses are available to non-members.
The game can be played on it's official website:
The game features 3D graphics and is powered by the Unity engine. EA offers two different configurations for the swing gameplay mechanic: the classic 3-Click system and the more contemporary TrueSwing. The 3 click method relies on 3 well time button presses to maximize distance and accuracy while the TrueSwing method uses the drawing back and pushing forward of the mouse to simulate the backswing and follow through of a golf swing.
Tiger Woods Online features connectivity with facebook and will publish your latest scores, or achievements in the golfer leveling system. Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online keeps a comprehensive set of statistics that can be filtered in many different ways to view most all statistics. The game also features friend leaderboards, which allow the user to compare a wide variety of statistics.
This game was described as the first step in the refocusing of EA Sports offerings for the personal computer. EA describes moving away from full priced releases and focusing on micro-transaction based free to play offerings as a way to eliminate piracy and reach out better to a wider audience, including the casual market. The prime market for Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online as described by Peter Moore is the 40 year old casual gamer and amateur golfer who likely does not own a console and might not enter a traditional video game retailer but would like to get a great golf experience on their PC.
Tiger Woods Online allows users to play single player stroke play games but also offers multiplayer options. The game features a built in chat system where users playing the same course can socialize.
The game also features daily and weekly tournaments where players can compete against the scores of other players around the world. The player is rewarded with XP and in-game money based on where their final score falls on the overall leaderboard. The game motivates users to continue coming back to the daily tournaments by offering incentives to play for consecutive days. As you continue to play, the game sets “the cut” (a golf term for the score you must beat in order to continue playing) for each new day that users can try to beat. As you continue, the cut becomes a better and better score.
Tiger Woods Online uses experience points, in game dollars and points that are purchased through micro-transactions.
Competing in tournaments, accomplishing pre-determined goals for each course, and shooting low scores earns experience points for the player. These experience points move you up an RPG like leveling system where you can level up your golfer to higher rankings.
Finally, you can also earn in game dollars that are used to upgrade a variety of shot types such as full shots, pitching, chipping and putting. This money can also be used to purchase some limited equipment upgrades. This in game money has no value outside of the game and is separate from the micro-transaction system.
The following courses are included in the game:
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Torrey Pines GC
St. Andrews (Old Course)
Sheshan Golf & Country Club
Harbour Town Golf Links
Oakmont Country Club
Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Wolf Creek GC
Wentworth (West Course)
All courses are unlocked for players who have purchased a “membership” to the game on a monthly or yearly basis. Non-members get access to a limited number of courses. These courses are occasionally rotated but players can also purchase single use green fees to play locked courses.
The launch of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online coincided with the discovery of Tiger Woods’ infidelity scandal. During this scandal, many of Tiger Woods’ major sponsors such as AT&T and Accenture dropped their sponsorship deals in an effort to distance themselves from Tigers’ actions.
On January 4 2010, Peter Moore announced on his blog that EA would continue their relationship with Tiger for both the online project and future retail disc games for the various consoles. Moore stated the following:
Tiger has always been rooted in golf. We didn’t form a relationship with him so that he could act as an arm’s length endorser. Far from it. We chose to partner with Tiger in 1997 because we saw him as the world’s best, most talented and exciting golfer. We struck that partnership with the assumption that he would remain near or at the top of his sport for years to come. By his own admission, he’s made some mistakes off the course. But regardless of what’s happening in his personal life, and regardless of his decision to take a personal leave from the sport, Tiger Woods is still one of the greatest athletes in history.
As is typical with micro-transaction based games, this game world is likely to evolve. EA representatives are quite active in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online forums discussing potential new features and getting feedback from users. The setup allows for simple addition of new courses, equipment and apparel.
As of June 6th, 2013, the online services for the game were shutdown by EA.