EA Sports head admits Madden franchise was not as 'innovative' as other games

The Madden franchise is a regular gold mine for Electronic Arts to exploit. But is it EA Sports' best game? EA Sports head Andrew Wilson admits that the Madden franchise hasn't offered its A game in recent years.

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The Madden franchise is a regular gold mine for Electronic Arts to exploit. But is it EA Sports' best game? EA Sports head Andrew Wilson admits that the Madden franchise hasn't offered its A game in recent years.

"I do believe that Madden did not have the level of innovation that some of our other franchises have had," Wilson admitted.

"I think they were still doing great things, they were great playing games and they were significantly more than roster updates," Wilson told GI.biz. However, Wilson said that it would take a "fundamental" shift in innovation to make Madden rival the publisher's other games, notably FIFA and NHL.

In an effort to make significant progress in this year's Madden, Wilson says that this year's iteration has "hands down" the largest investment in any single game in the series so far. "The core gameplay team is 50 percent bigger this year than it was last year," he said.

Of course, the problem with annualized sports games is that teams struggle to find something new to put on the box. Every year must be perceived as better than last year's, and it could be that Wilson's claims are simply part of this year's marketing machine. Still, with the Infinity Engine on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, and brand new features for the Wii U version, it's clear that the team hasn't been resting on its laurels.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 7, 2012 4:15 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, EA Sports head admits Madden franchise was not as 'innovative' as other games.

    The Madden franchise is a regular gold mine for Electronic Arts to exploit. But is it EA Sports' best game? EA Sports head Andrew Wilson admits that the Madden franchise hasn't offered its A game in recent years.

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      August 7, 2012 4:55 PM

      Why not bring it back to PC then?

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        August 7, 2012 5:03 PM

        how does that solve the problem? Adds another cost and...?

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          August 7, 2012 5:16 PM

          Lets people on the PC buy and play it.

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            August 7, 2012 5:20 PM

            yeah I understand what happens after the product exists, I don't see how it solves any problems around a lack of innovation.

            It'd be nice to have a PC version again but I understand why they don't (you really don't don't want to play Madden sans controller these days) and I don't feel like I'm missing out on any modding ability, just some higher res graphics.

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              August 7, 2012 7:14 PM

              PC would have many more possibilities than consoles, of course, knowing EA, they would leave it as dumb-ed down as possible then blame piracy so they would have an excuse not to make it the next year.

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                August 7, 2012 7:37 PM

                They'd probably port the PS2 version

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                  August 7, 2012 8:00 PM

                  Ha, your most likely right on that one, but of course, they would still blame poor sales on piracy :( If EA wasn't publishing games by Criterion, Visceral, or Bioware, I wouldn't buy anything from them.

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                    August 7, 2012 8:03 PM

                    FIFA 12 on PC finally has feature parity with the (360/PS3) console versions, but it's better because of the framerate / resolution / AA / etc. Really surprising port for them, especially when you look at how shitty and different those games used to be on PC.

                    There's no innovation going on because it's available on PC though.

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                      August 7, 2012 9:17 PM

                      That game is made on PC because of the European market (since soccer, errr, football, is so huge over there), which last I knew, is PC-primary still. Its the foolish Americans that let Sony and MS control them.........

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                        August 7, 2012 9:35 PM

                        dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot

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                          August 7, 2012 9:38 PM

                          well, that was constructive.

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                            August 7, 2012 9:42 PM

                            really makes you think.........

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                              August 7, 2012 10:07 PM

                              It's like the end of a sentence but maybe it isn't.....

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                                August 7, 2012 10:14 PM

                                guess I should have ended that sentence with a *sigh* then huh

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              August 7, 2012 7:40 PM

              they don't make controllers for pc?

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                August 7, 2012 7:58 PM

                I use a 360 controller for just about every racing and many platformer games. I'm willing to bet at least 70% of PC gamers have a viable controller at hand, so this whole needs to be played with a controller thing is complete BS. ALMOST as bad as "should be played from a couch." And we all know how well that turned out for MS, don't we Remedy?

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                  August 7, 2012 9:14 PM

                  I love your pulled out of nowhere numbers. They're about as good as your analogies. There're real gameplay reasons to play sports games with a controller with analog input, nothing like your analogy with a couch.

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                    August 7, 2012 9:22 PM

                    I'm not denying that sports games play better with a controller, but look at FIFA 12. Soccer I would think (not sure however since I have never played a video soccer game) would have just about as many moves that would benefit from having analogue controls, yet KB/M is supported as well.

                    And yes I realize that my whole 70% number was grabbing at straws, however I would love to know that number, since personally I am hard pressed to know anyone who games on PC who DOESN'T own some type of controller, most in fact have a 360 controller.

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                      August 7, 2012 9:38 PM

                      Soccer games definitely benefit from analog controls just as much as any (if only for analog movement controlling speed and angles) but as you noted above, it's really about the different markets. Soccer games are going to be big in Europe and the whole rest of the developed world basically, where PCs dominate. So in that case, regardless of input method, you've gotta have a soccer game for them. I'm sure there's no shortage of 360 and PS3 copies of FIFA sold in Europe as well, but you still want people in South America and elsewhere to buy the game even if consoles don't have as large a presence there. Since Madden is basically a US only product and consoles (especially the 360) are huge here it starts to make less sense for them.

                      I mean, clearly EA has plenty of data points on this to make the 'right' decision. They spent many years making Madden on PC and consoles and saw the breakdown across platforms for sales and the trendlines year to year (which eventually led to dropping the PC version years ago). For other sports they still make a PC version to go with the console one so they have a pretty good idea of how much it would cost to do a PC version of Madden alongside the console one given modern development costs (rather than just trying to extrapolate from many years ago when the last PC version of Madden was made).

                      Like I said, I'd like a PC version (I only played Madden on PC from like 96-03) since in a dream world people hack away at it and turn it into a little more of a hardcore sim in places. In reality that's not what we'd get from the PC version and it'd just be some higher res stuff but all still designed for the controller (especially things that would most benefit from a KB/mouse like navigating all the menus in franchise mode). Some of the other big advantages of the PC version disappeared with this generation too (namely patches and roster updates) so I'm just not that sad about it.

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                        August 7, 2012 9:42 PM

                        I guess, I just wonder if 2K would have been as quick to abandon PC :(

                        Ah well, its what you get when a company only worries about units moved than the gaming experience itself.

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                          August 7, 2012 9:53 PM

                          I just wish 2k was back to push EA on the football front, regardless of platforms

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                            August 7, 2012 9:55 PM

                            I hear ya. I'm still trying to figure out why a Madden related lawsuit changed the NCAA exclusivity, but did nothing to the NFL license.

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                              August 7, 2012 10:09 PM

                              yeah that one was dumb, EA just isn't allowed a monopoly on all football related games, it's ok as long as they only have it on certain leagues/organizations... dumb.

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                                August 7, 2012 10:15 PM

                                Too bad they couldn't keep NCAA and have to drop NFL, that would have been fine by me

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                    August 8, 2012 1:04 AM

                    the exact same thing could be said for shooters on consoles...but ofcourse if i go there im gunna get flamed

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                  August 7, 2012 9:23 PM

                  70% lol.

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                  August 7, 2012 9:45 PM

                  how well what turned out for MS, couch gaming? they kind of pulled it off, you know, with 70+ million 360's sold.

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                    August 7, 2012 9:49 PM

                    Was actually referring to the excuse MS made for not bringing Alan Wake to PC the first time around, and Remedy made a killing when AW finally came to PC.

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                      August 7, 2012 9:49 PM

                      more than their xbox sales?

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                        August 7, 2012 9:52 PM

                        That much I'm not sure about, however the excuse that MS made (which they later revised, but a bit too late) was just retarded.

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                August 7, 2012 9:13 PM

                it limits the addressable market

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      August 7, 2012 5:00 PM

      shocker

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      August 7, 2012 5:02 PM

      that's what happens with no competition :(

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      August 7, 2012 5:15 PM

      OH NO SHIT REALLY

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      August 7, 2012 5:16 PM

      I may actually get this year's version. But that's prob bcs I haven't bought one in 3-4 years.

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        August 7, 2012 5:21 PM

        Hopefully the demo hits in a week or so, I'm very curious to try the new physics engine

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        August 7, 2012 5:49 PM

        I too have gone 3-4 years but it seems like i'll be better off waiting for 2013 console launch or 2014 after it has a year to find its footing

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          August 7, 2012 5:51 PM

          if this generation was any indication it'll be more like 3-4 years before the next gen version of Madden gets their shit together to reach parity with the last previous gen version

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      August 7, 2012 6:06 PM

      SHOCKING NEWS: EARTH CONTINUES TO ROTATE

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      August 7, 2012 9:01 PM

      Next: EA head admits EA doesn't care about games as much as marketing

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        August 7, 2012 9:37 PM

        Multiple people that have been leads on EA games have told me that marketing runs the company. That's one reason why they struggle so much with anything online, because a lot of their marketing people come from a world where they were selling something physical. Also, they don't care about gaming, just moving units.

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      August 7, 2012 10:35 PM

      So, EA took the name Infinity Engine. http://www.infinity-universe.com/Infinity/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=26

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      August 8, 2012 7:24 AM

      ABOUT TIME EA OWNED UP TO THIS STALE A$$ FRANCHISE !!!

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      August 8, 2012 7:44 AM

      [deleted]

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      August 8, 2012 10:08 AM

      Wow took EA 6yrs of Madden sales dropping to half what is was with Madden 2006 vs Madden 2012 and FIFA 12 doubling its sales since the 2006 version. Both with an exclusive license. Both the most popular sports in their region. But only FIFA team deciding innovation was actually important to growing their audience and not just owning the official license.

      Either the people running EA Sports in Canada are brilliant or the management of EA Sports in the US at Tiburon are idiots. I tend to think a little of both.

      Now if EA will only decide to build NCAA and Madden as a more common experience that crosses over together (ie both should have Connect Careers this year) instead of each dev team being on an island and seeing each other as internal competitors, I think EA would see the sales for both grow beyond what they normally could under their current management framework.

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        August 8, 2012 10:11 AM

        FIFA's rise was assisted by PES taking a giant shit, don't forget.

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      August 8, 2012 10:18 AM

      It turns out that really great game innovations probably take more than a year to develop. Whodathunkit?

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