Madden, the Marketing Giant.
From Electric Football to Tecmo Bowl, we have come a long way incorporating the experience of pro-football from home. With the release of Madden 12 this week, it’s another year that kids as well as adults will be spending countless hours trying to find holes in their opponent’s game. What people don’t realize sometimes is that Madden has become a piece of Americana since it’s inception.
From tournaments, fantasy drafts, dynasty modes and just basic competition between family and friends, the Madden franchise has set the tone for all sports related games as a whole.
The impact of the NFL can been seen in our culture. We are a parallel of Roman civilization; we look up to gladiators and just plain enjoy bread and circuses. The first revolution of the NFL was Ed Sabol and NFL Films, the second revolution was EA Sports and the Madden franchise. Unlike the other major sports, the same name has been stamped on the NFL game for years. With every new console that comes out, you can always count on a Madden release.
Having that continuity has definitely helped keep the popularity growing.
Being the most popular sport in the country helps marketing, but that also brings pressure. Fans are finicky when it comes to their sports as well as their games. A company has a hard enough time to make one game, EA Sports has to make a game every year and improve upon the last one. Paying attention to what fans want has made Madden is what it is. If something was unliked, concepts get rehashed for the next year’s edition. Just to know that people will buy a game year after year, even knowing that most of it stays the same says a lot about the presence of it in the video game marketplace. The game evolves as the fan and business evolves.
An NFL videogame is also grabbing two different types of demographics almost by accident, the gamer and the athlete.
Kids these days have become students of the game at a very early age. Knowing that a 7 year-old child can beat the blitz by looking at the read the defense gives them shows the impact of Madden. While most casual fans only see football from the press box (sideways) viewpoint, these kids can see formations offensively and defensively much quicker than their parents or even grandparents for that matter. Then when they are old enough to play themselves, the formations and coverages make much more sense to them.
Even the NFL players have adoration for the game. Even though the so-called “Madden Curse” is talked about, no player would deny the fact that being on the cover is an honor. No matter if you get hurt or have a terrible season, you can look back on that year as somewhat productive. Players have even been know to contact EA Sports if their ratings weren’t what they though they should be. If that isn’t taking the game seriously, I don’t know what is.
The Madden franchise has made strides to make a better product year after year. From roster updates, smoother animations, artificial intelligence improvements, less chopped up commentary, the NFL has another great product to market besides the teams and players themselves. While you get NBA Live, NBA Jam, NBA 2K, or NBA Ballers in basketball, you get consistency and authenticity every year from the same name; Madden. If a store opens at midnight for anything besides the day after Thanksgiving, it shows how much Madden has become a part of the fabric of our country.
Whether you prefer PS3 or XBOX, there is money to be made when sports and video games converge.