The long-running Electronic Arts videogame franchise, in its annual prediction of the Super Bowl last week, not only predicted the New England Patriots’ last minute comeback to defeat the Seattle Seahawks, it nailed the final 28-24 score. And that was just the start of its Nostradamus-like qualities.
The “Madden” football franchise may not be the crown jewel at Electronic Arts anymore, but it still shines pretty bright. And this year, EA is counting on that shine to help it launch the company’s boldest digital push to date.
“Madden 15,” the 26th installment in the long-running series, officially hits store shelves on Aug. 26, but superfans of the game were able to start playing on Aug. 21 by subscribing to EA Access, a just-launched Netflix-like service that lets fans play back catalog EA games and get early looks at new titles for $5 per month or $30 per year.
After keeping its NBA Live franchise on the bench for the last four years, the publisher managed to release a new iteration in the once-proud franchise in 2013 — but pretty much everyone hated it.
NBA Live 14 currently has a Metacritic score of just 46. User scores are a dismal 2.5 out of 10. And now, EA has a message to its fans: It’s sorry.
Bo Jackson, whose multi-sport talent, iconic Nike commercials and ridiculously dominant video game presence made him a sensation in the 1990s, has been largely absent from the video game world for nearly 25 years. Now he’s coming out of digital seclusion — but maybe not in the game you’d expect.
Over the past few years, the NFL has been exploring ways to gather all sorts of new data points from players during games. But this season it’s getting serious about it — and that could dramatically impact the biggest football video game franchise on the planet.
The latest installment of the venerable sports franchise is breaking records left and right — a victory for EA, which gambled with major gameplay changes this year.
That’s the day Madden NFL 12 hits store shelves. It’s also the day HR departments hate, as a disproportionate number of workers will curiously call in sick after staying up to buy the game at midnight. But as the venerable football series enters its 23rd year, how does publisher Electronic Arts plan to keep it fresh?
Plenty of publishers have done a lot of saber rattling when it comes to selling direct to consumers, but that’s generally as far as it goes. So when EA began touting its Origin service a few weeks ago, no one was quite sure how serious the company planned to compete.
These days, though, it’s looking like EA intends to put its full efforts into the fight.
Historically, injuries haven’t really been a big part of video game sports. Showing the real-world effects of the devastating hits from an NFL linebacker tend to remove players from the fantasy environment.
With the next installment of its flagship Madden franchise, however, Electronic Arts plans to emphasize the seriousness of player concussions by preventing in-game players who suffer the head injury from returning to the virtual field.
[Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris talks to analysts at M2 and Wedbush Morgan to examine the possible effects on Electronic Arts — and its signature Madden game franchise — of an American football strike.]
Football stadiums across the country might be silent next September – as the prospect of an NFL lockout grows larger by the day – but on the virtual field, the game will still be played.
Electronic Arts will release its 2012 installment of the Madden franchise this year as it has each year since 1988 – but it might be doing so without the marketing force of the league behind it for the first time in the game’s history.