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Madden Through The Years

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:45 pm
by Alhelm519
Article from two years ago.

With Madden 16 introducing “Aggressive Catch” EA is continuing a long tradition of new innovations.

Yet…the innovations don’t seem so innovative. As a matter-of-fact…


While FPS, RPGs, and many other genres are herald and praised for innovation, sports games adhere to a different standard. Too much innovation risks losing the foundation a game is based on. After all, football is football, baseball is baseball. There isn’t much interpretation available in the sports genre; the essence and physics are what they are and don’t change without acknowledgement of a game becoming arcade.

However, because of this Madden falls under considerable criticism. As the other fool of this blog has said, “Sometimes I feel like your Madden criticism gets unreasonable.” Truthfully no other game upsets me as much as Madden. That doesn’t mean that the game is bad, but it’s not groundbreaking. I just expect more.

My not met expectations don’t mean much in the overall scheme of things. Madden still sells, and sells a lot. Even with mild ratings from IGN, since 2012 Madden has sold more than 1 million copies during opening week.

Madden 15/ 1.15 Million Units Opening Week/ 8.7 IGN

Madden 25/ 1 Million Units Opening Week/ 8.5 IGN

Madden 13/ 1.65 Million Opening Week/ 9 IGN

Madden 12/ 1.4 Million Opening Week/ 8 IGN

In comparison only NBA 2k15 has challenged sports games first week sales with 858,602 units sold.

My personal feelings aside, I can’t deny that I understand why people buy Madden without hesitation. Football represents the most popular sport in America. This popularity translates into a lucrative business for all parties involved. NFL players sign record-breaking contracts each off season, attendance is consistently demanding more seating, and TV viewership has no rival. ESPN alone pays 1.9 Billion for NFL broadcasting rights.

And that’s why my expectation will ever be too high for Madden.

Madden sits atop the sports gaming world and as such it is the most well funded game. EA pays the National Football League and NFL Players Association $50 million to be the exclusive video game licensee, and EA is rewarded with the second best selling sports series of all time only trailing FIFA.

But every year similar complaints surface. “Same game, new year. Just a roster update. New feature? Didn’t we have something similar three years ago?”

Not without warrant are these criticisms consistently cited. Madden has a history of introducing new features only to remove them and then reintroduce them as new a few years later. They also fail to utilize new features and support them. Vision Cone is a perfect example.

Below is a listing of features that have been introduced to Madden since 2000 and how many years they lasted. Not all features are listed as there are so many small features. These features are the ones I deemed most important.



madden features

Certain features still exist but in a different format. For instance, Superstar is in essence still available through player connected franchises, but it didn’t develop into the promised ideal that MLB The Show has excelled at. Create a team is still available, but only through EA sports pre-created designs. This isn’t the fault of EA, however. The NFL has made demands of EA to preserve NFL’s image. Remember Madden 2005? Remember how devastating Hit Stick was? Helmets would fly on a regular basis. The NFL demanded that it be toned down. We still have Hit Stick, but it is considerably less violent. Meanwhile celebrations have been removed, concussions are now toned down, and my favorite addition (Vision Cone) was abandoned.

The graph above identifies and justifies the disappointment that many fans experience with each years new arrival of Madden. EA lacks consistency. The spaghetti at the wall method only creates expectations that EA can no longer meet. Each year is a potential redux of an old feature yet it often comes at the cost of a previously new feature. Every year has become a guessing game of what will be new and what might be missing.

Yet through all of it, Madden is consistently “B” and because Football is consistently “A” fans will consistently get “B+” experiences.

Innovation will not be the key to Madden’s future, because EA doesn’t need to lie to themselves, nor do they need to lie to consumers. Fans will continue to buy because of the already great base in place.

Please, EA, I beg that you stop adding features only remove them and reintroduce them three year later. I beg you to stop introducing features that don’t quite work the way you expect and are removed. I beg that you demonstrate some consistency!

Re: Madden Through The Years

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:35 am
by Mike Lowe
What are your thoughts two years later?

Re: Madden Through The Years

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:55 pm
by Alhelm519
The same. All the bells and whistles are mostly neglectful of franchise mode.

Re: Madden Through The Years

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:02 pm
by Alhelm519
Forgot to add this graph in the post. Image

Re: Madden Through The Years

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:25 am
by poohty
Alot of what is said in OP, is correct. Madden is forever removing things , only to add them back years later as "new features" that are really just recycled ones labeled as new because they removed it . Meanwhile lots of legacy issues have remained in the game for so long ( horrible ai for blocking, unrealistic animations, players warping 5 yards in half a second for tackles or ints,CPU AI in Franchise mode is just non-existant especially for roster needs, etc) .All the while , they throw MUT in your face at every corner in the game, and on social media. If you just look at all they say and focus on , its just MUT,MUT ,MUT. Want to highlight a streamer..... he is doing MUT.

The biggest issue outside of said things above, and from what i hear from alot of people is, they give CFM lip service and thats about it. Last year they hyped all year how franchise mode was the renewed focus, and most resources ever. Yet it did not add any more last year than the previous 5 . All it takes it is a simple look back at past years blogs for cfm and count up the additions. On average they add about 18 things per year, however most of the time, half or over half are simply UI changes and not really anything more than that. Big decisions was almost all stuff that was already in the game, just put in a new UI. It took over half of one of the two dev blog pages up at that. So half a page spent on UI changes, while there were others as well. Meanwhile, eventhough year after year after year half their " additions" are UI changes, the UI is still laggy and slow. Personally im so used to that now, i would much rather( as many others would) they stop wasting time on UI changes( because its clear after so many years of changing it and it still isnt good they cant get it right) and focus on adding real depth and features to CFM. Their lack of ability to do that , has left so many feeling like CFM is just a back burner thought. Even with the "most resources ever and renewed focus on cfm" it still got no more than it did in previous years. Then top it off with features they add not even being full fledged out. On one hand they claim they dont add some things because they dont want to add them half done, yet they turn around and do just that. Examples : Watch list is supposed to be start of a draft board base, yet thats all they did and still have not touched it, Opponent tendencies - they made it sound like you would know your opponents tendencies based on their total playcalling, when actually it was only based on their 1st down calls ONLY from last weeks game, Regression - they continue to " tune " every year since adding it and its still just a simple thing , that has no depth at all to it.

Year after year, they do these things over and over. Then turn around and claim madden is great , just look at sales. Which is such a loaded answer knowing good and well, people have 0 choice if they want a NFL football game to play. That would be like if Star Bucks made it so only they could make coffee and sell it , and then just had bland coffees and bad service and claimed they must be doing great because of their sales. When there is such a large market for something ( nfl video game) and your the only game in town, people will buy it and try to find their own ways around your bogusness just to try to get half an experience they are looking for. That does NOT mean your game is that good though.

The biggest issue is this. This was said by a gamechanger about 2-3 years ago. He said that EA profited MILLIONS per MONTH off of MUT and Madden Mobile. Millions, monthly,profit. Yes, i know businesses exists to make money, i dont think anyone debates that. However , when making in profit millions per month on just those two things alone, they can afford to toss some money to the dev crew for more resources for CFM and fixing gameplay issues while still making millions per month. So when people say, they cant afford to , or they trying to make money.They are already making pleanty of money, and honestly i believe if they reinvested that money back in the game, they would see even larger profits down the road. We all know of ton of people who have said they have not bought madden in years because of things like listed above here and in OP post. Imagine how many people would be glad to come back to the only NFL game in town , if it actually showed it cared.

Now my statements above are not about the devs. I believe if the suits gave that extra money to the team, Rex, Clint , and John White would really have their teams doing some amazing things and progress. So what im saying is not a slight on those guys. Its about EA itself, as a large corporation , only wanting more and more and more profits every year more than the last. Its a business model that we all suffer from , not just in video games because all most all big businesses use this model for themselves now in days. I know this because i attended business school in 1998. I left because of the immoral things they pushed as acceptable in business and what is needed to make a business thrive. Cut all costs you can( cheaper labor,cheaper material/quality), put more work on less workers( helps cut costs too while overworking your workers) , and then watch your profits rise. We all see this effect in our society now. Jobs dont want to pay workers what they deserve while top executives making millions,producing sub par quality products that are made not to last so you need to rebuy often instead of how things used to be, when you bought something it was made to last, so you paid for quality and it lasted. Not the case now in days,we still pay high dollar price for things that may last a year or 3 . This model is used in video game world, but the product is alittle different. Still same model and while EA is not the only one that does it, but when your the only choice in town for nfl football, it really gets highlighted more since you literally have no other choice if you want a NFL video game product. Its sad, but this is the world in which we live.