SBD/August 28, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ray Lewis, Paul Rudd Starring In New EA Sports Campaign Promoting "Madden 13"

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EA Sports' "Madden NFL 13" was released today, and the video game company this year enlisted actor Paul Rudd and Ravens LB Ray Lewis, a former "Madden" cover athlete, "to appear in a series of five viral videos," according to John Gaudiosi of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The "humorous video series details new gameplay features in Madden, including the ability for Kinect for Xbox 360 players to call 360 to make pre-snap adjustments and audibles on offense and defense with their voice." Rudd shows that Kinect "can work defensively by yelling 'Spike' before Lewis was about to score on offense." The game’s replay feature "is showcased as Rudd shows a missed tackle over and over again before Lewis explodes." It also is "revealed that Rudd taught Lewis his pregame dance and the two toured together in 'I’m Not Rappaport' before Judd Hirsch muscled his way in" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/24).

REVIEWS ARE IN: YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell reviews "Madden NFL 13" and writes, "It's not perfect. If you want to play the game while looking for something that's wrong, or off, or somehow not as realistic as you want it to be, you'll find it. But you're also going to find a game that feels infinitely smoother and more flexible than it ever has." "Madden" finally "acknowledges that it needed to try something big." The pre-game intros "are better, the graphic packages are better, the on-field atmosphere is better." Darnell: "The effort here, and the significant change it produced, makes this year's Madden, at the very least, a respectable title. It's earned my recommendation" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/28). BLEACHER REPORT's Patrick Clarke writes, "Users experience realistic, exciting hits and movements that make for a much more entertaining gameplay experience." Details are "captured flawlessly, especially in the new Nike uniforms." The addition of CBS' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms "makes for a much more enjoyable experience." This year's game "feels much more realistic," and the presentation "earns an A" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 8/28).

HITS & MISSES
: USA TODAY's Brett Molina wrote, "The overhaul of the game's on-field physics produce results as inconsistent as a rookie quarterback." The biggest change on the field "is with tackling, highlighted by new physics technology called Infinity Engine." Also, "Madden '13's" shift to Connected Careers, combining Franchise and Superstar modes of past versions of the game, is "a surprise, considering EA Sports overhauled the game's Franchise mode last season." The game also features "a fictional Twitter feed where reporters drop praise and criticism on a player's draft picks or free agent moves." "Madden" is again a "strong representation of the NFL," but for "every step forward EA Sports continues to make off the field, their on-field game needs a bit more polish" (USATODAY.com, 8/27). ESPN.com's Jon Robinson wrote Nantz and Simms "sound great in the game when nothing is happening, but during long touchdown runs or exciting plays, you might as well have the game on mute." The two "seriously have no excitement whatsoever, even if you make an unbelievable play" (ESPN.com, 8/27).
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