Happy weekend to everyone. I actually was not going to post anything until next week but one of the YouTube content creators that I follow named RyanMoody21 posted a video today that I had to do a post about. RyanMoody21’s channel is what I would describe a labor not of love but of obligation to be a voice in the Madden video game community for those who believe that Electronic Arts (EA) has not put out a quality product of Madden NFL football year after year. With the release of Madden 21 taking place this month, I feel his videos are very timely. And in my opinion, he makes a lot of valid points in every single one of his videos I’ve watched. (Click HERE to watch the video now or view it later in the story)
What really was a brilliant observation by Moody in his latest video was how EA seems to have shifted its marketing away from actual football fans who are knowledgeable about the game of football to younger kids who spend $$$ again and again just to receive new cards and power-ups in the game. I can not disagree with this assessment. Madden Ultimate Team has been a cash cow for EA and has actually been just as much of a money maker as the actual sale of the game copies themselves. This is why advertisements of the mode are plastered throughout the game and the developers make sure to keep it as a primary focus on the main menu screen. In fact, Madden Ultimate Team has just as much priority at this point as the game’s franchise modes. That was not the case in the past.
In 2013, CNN reported on the Madden video game brand being worth $4 billion at the time. That was seven years ago and EA has raked in plenty of money since. It is safe to say that Madden in the video game world is a billion dollar brand. Nasdaq reported in 2018 that with the strong release of Madden 19, the Madden franchise had sold more than 130 million units over its multi-decade run. And to EA’s credit, their business and marketing strategies play a big role in their success. You have to hand that to them. Also, the company has become as big as it has because of the hard work of many people along the way through this present day. In no way do I want to discount the effort over the years.
Unfortunately, I have seen this same company take many shortcuts as well. Taking out modes and then reintroducing them as brand new modes is a tactic I’ve seen EA use multiple times. Consider the X-Factor, which is just a relaunch of superstar weapons in older Madden games. Then EA has introduced gimmicks that only serve as a distraction from the flaws in the core gameplay. For instance, the pass coverage is broken in Madden 20. So to make a cornerback like Richard Sherman actually be able to defend a pass, the game elevates his attributes to superpower status so that he can do so.
The most recent Madden games, including Madden 20 have been swarmed with negative user impressions and reviews. The sales have been high but the complaints and focus on the game’s flaws is at a high point as well. Many of these users have played Madden since its early years. But the users are seeing their concerns never be addressed. And if Moody’s perspective is true, then the first picture above in the article may have a lot to do with it. Check out his video below:
Personally, I believe that Madden’s greatest years came before EA acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL license and the few years that followed. The prime Playstation 2 years were the best years of Madden, featuring a wealth of options and modes for the player to experience. Gameplay was very smooth and the graphics were really great for the time. People who actually knew about football and/or played football appreciated the attention to detail and the nuances those games had in reflecting real football. My Madden game of choice to this day is Madden 08 for the PC. It plays so much better and has a depth to it that today’s Madden games can not touch. Plus the mods allow for the addition of classic teams with real players, jersey updates, stadium updates and more. Yes, the graphics show its age but the heart of Madden 08 stands the test of time.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this post. I have played Madden since the first one on the Super Nintendo in the early 90s all the way through Madden 20. Maybe in a future post I will chronicle my Madden journey but I personally feel the series has been on the decline in terms of quality. Yes, the game can look spectacular but a car enthusiast would know that it is what is under the hood that will make or break the car.