EA’s monster video game title “Madden NFL” dropped their 2008 edition on Tuesday (August 14) and New York’s Times Square was a “Madden” block party during its release.
Now in its seventh year, the title has sold over 60 million copies, so what would you expect right? Publisher Electronic Arts (EA), Inc. sold 7.4 million copies in North America alone last year, including 2 million in its first week on store shelves, making it the top-selling video game title last year.
Although other football titles exist, EA has yet to see any kind of competition. In 2005, the company struck a deal with the NFL that prevents other publishers from creating games that include actual NFL teams and players and has exclusive rights to use the ESPN brand in its video games. This fact alone makes game series such as “All Pro Football 2K8” from 2K Sports hard to compete. Sure they can use historic players like Joe Montana or John Elway, but they cannot use current players within their gameplay like “Madden,” which gives it an obvious advantage.
For “Madden NFL ’08” it seems that Xbox 360 owners will have an advantage over owners of other consoles. According to MTV, Microsoft and EA have a partnership, and for this year’s release, “Madden” on the 360 is programmed to run with a smoother frame rate than it is on Sony equivalent PS3. Reviewer estimates clock the 360 version running closer to a silky-smooth 60 frames per second, and the PS3 closer to 30. (A video comparison at the 2:20 mark of this video at GameVideos.com demonstrates the difference.)
On the Wii version of “Madden,” according to MTV, it supports a “Family Play” mode that allows users to control the game with the Wii remote only, simplifying the passing, running and tackling controls with a few flicks of the wrist, while the Wii itself takes care of most of the virtual football players’ movements.
Additions to the “Madden NFL ’08” include special icons that identify the strengths of franchise players like Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and another new feature. The graphics have been upped as well. “We’re beautiful,” Tennessee Titans quarterback and current “Madden” cover star Vince Young said of his team’s digital likeness in the game.
The title has attracted as many actual NFL players as gamers. Bryan Intihar, news editor of the video-game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, is certain that “Madden” has transformed into something quite similar to America’s obsession with real football. “They call baseball America’s pastime, but in the realm of video games it’s football,” Intihar said. “It’s become like a Mario. Madden is in many ways a video-game icon.”
“Madden NFL ’08” is on store shelves now.