Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Madden '06: More Hype than Gabbo

Ah, the Fall is coming. How do I know? Madden Day, of course.

The clever marketing folks at EA (Electronic Arts) have pushed the idea of the Madden Football release as "Happy Madden Day". Back in the day of rolling with my homies and gang banging, I would buy each year's new Madden and marvel at the leaps in technology. Remember, I grew up with Pong and thought Asteroids was amazing - and don't get me started with that Knock Out and Dragon's Lair.

Anywho, after being completely underwhelmed with the game improvements over the last 3 years, I have wisely started renting. Thus, this Madden Day I rented the Donovan McNabb 06 edition. Again, some changes but nothing to justify $50.

For those who don't follow the business side of these games (you may, for example, have a social life), this game is the cornerstone for much of the multi-billion dollar games industry. When a rival (989 software) licensed ESPN's name and sold a similar quality game for $25, it sent shockwaves through the industry. So like any good, big company would do, they killed the competition by signing exclusives with ESPN, the NFL and the Players' Union -- and kept the price at $50.

Why did they do it? Well, for all of Madden's sales, EA's licensing costs essentially makes the game a break even business case. If they lose money (like with competition in 2004), the whole company begins to unravel.

Unless EA delivers big with "The Godfather," we may of another example of how large businesses can't survive if creativity is their lifeblood.

4 comments:

Otto Man said...

At my house, we celebrate Madden Day not just by eating the traditional turducken -- which, for the uninitiated, is a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turd, um, turkey -- but also by screaming incredibly stupid observations at the TV. "See, he's got the ball!" "Bam! He runs to the right!" "Ooops, he dropped it!"

Thanks, John. I never could've figured that out for myself.

Tokyo Joe said...

Acutally the football game I'm interested in this year is the Blitz series. I read the other day that since they are no longer tied to the league, the Blitz series is going to become incredibly bloody. I'm not sure how far they wll go, but I'm really hoping I'll be able to recreate the opening scene of "The Last Boy Scout" - that would be so cool.

Thrillhous said...

Wait a second. Are you saying there's a new version of Pong?

Great point about the stifling of creativity. Nothing like an exclusive deal to halt progress.

I hope that Blitz series gets big, TJ. I'd love for there to be some real competition for the big guys.

Now, back to my marathon session of Starcraft!

eohjkrfglaksjdfhgk said...

This game is such a disappoinment on 360. With no competition, they managed to net only a 8.0 on IGN and 7.4 on Gamespot.

-Santoro
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