SBD/August 26, 2013/Media

EA Sports, Madden Celebrate 25th Anniversary With Minimal Upgrades To Actual Game

"Madden NFL 25" is getting mixed reviews from videogame critics
Electronic Arts' Madden NFL video game today celebrates its 25th anniversary "with nearly 100 million copies sold since its 1988 debut on Apple II," according to Mike Snider of USA TODAY. Pro Football HOFer John Madden is "now perhaps most well-known as a video game mogul." He said, "Now I would have to think the 'Madden' part is so doggone much bigger." Madden is "no longer the company's best-selling game: That honor goes to soccer game FIFA 13, which has sold more than 14.5 million units, thanks to its global appeal." But the "workhorse isn't slowing down." Last year's model of Madden "sold faster than 2011's, eventually selling about 5 million." Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said the game "generates about" $240M annually for EA. Digital World Research analyst P.J. McNealy: "Madden has been the backbone of Electronic Arts for many years ... (and) has been held up as the gold standard of video game development." For the release of "Madden NFL 25," retailer GameStop will "host midnight kickoff events at nearly 3,000 stores nationwide." While John Madden "no longer serves as a commentator in the game, he remains active in its design." The EA Sports game design team "meets with Madden throughout the year." EA Sports GM/Football Games Cam Weber said, "He has a great way of breaking football down into words and terms and ideas that are simple to grasp. A lot of times our guys will get down into the weeds of all the details and Coach has a great ability to see the big picture" (USATODAY.com, 8/25).

REVIEWS ARE IN: IGN.com's Jack DeVries wrote for an anniversary "so important it warrants messing up a long-established naming scheme, you’d think EA Sports would do more to celebrate it than just put in some retrospective trivia in the loading screens." Unfortunately "Madden NFL 25" is "more of a run-of-the mill upgrade than a big anniversary edition, but it is still a great version." DeVries: "I love that EA Sports is finally prioritizing the efforts to make Madden NFL look like real football, but it comes up short in those important spots." Other sports games "are lightyears ahead of Madden 25 here, and while it seems like a superfluous thing, it makes a big difference" (IGN.com, 8/23). In N.Y., Ebenezer Samuel notes EA execs "still haven’t truly changed the game." For "Madden NFL 25," that means "an average video game in a special anniversary year." "Madden NFL 25" is "still the best football video game in town (partly because it’s the only football game in town), and EA makes several little refinements to push the game forward." By Madden standards, this is "the best game yet in the series and a solid step forward from Madden 13." However, by the sports genre's standards, this is "a game that lags behind the pack and is increasingly unreflective of the professional game it represents." It is "increasingly unreflective of true NFL football, too often concerned with selling things to gamers instead of making the game fun" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/26).
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