Categories: Opinions | 4 comments

Why I’m Okay With A New Madden Every Year

Every year brings the same beautiful four seasons; football season, hockey season, baseball season and basketball season. We all have our favourite season of the year, but they don’t last all year so of course there are going to be video games based on your favourite sport to fill in the gaps deprived of your yearly past time. And along with the arrival of the sports season we see another iteration of the corresponding sports games. Every year. The question I have is, why do we see new, full priced games every year? In a time where DLC is ubiquitous with videogames, and extended content is getting more and more popular, why are sports games still coming out with the high priced games every year without substantial change in the design?

I’m going to focus on the Madden franchise for this article mainly because it seems the easiest to pick on. The newest version, Madden 25, had the paradigm shifting change of adding the visages of actual NFL referees. Isn’t that exciting?! Are you ready to part with your yearly sixty dollars? Seriously, when a major selling point of your game is that the referee’s faces are going to be authentic then you have to take a long hard look in the mirror about why you’re doing what you’re doing. This kind of update can easily be done with a far cheaper DLC, but that’s never how these updates happen. So gameplay is certainly not the reason for new versions every year as big differences in gameplay can only be noticed if you jump across the serious five years at a time or even across consoles.

The answer presents itself when you look at the Madden game prices online, obviously the older the game the less it costs. You only have to go to Madden 12 to find a game less than twenty dollars. If everything was added as DLC on one of these games, then someone could buy the game for forty dollars less than the tag price later on down the road and then the customer gets all the DLC. Bing Bang Boom that customer is up to date and that’s forty less dollars in the pockets of the industry. So the constant churning out of new sports games is in part to make sure that newcomers will have a full priced game to buy to get in.

Fair enough I suppose, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. To change the momentum a bit I’ll have to draw your attention to something I said earlier, that you only notice a large difference over big leaps over the series.

See, Madden isn’t like other video game series like Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted in there aren’t really any sequels, just an updated version of the game. You aren’t punished for missing an update by losing out on story progression or whatever the kids go crazy for these days. Your only penalty for not buying the latest version is that you don’t have the latest version which, considering the slow progression of improved gameplay in Madden, isn’t that big of a deal.

So what this boils down to is the fact that Madden 25 wasn’t necessarily made for people who own Madden 13. It was made more for the people who haven’t bought a new Madden for several years and are aching for a new one. If you’ve been playing Madden 10 for the past 4 years, Madden 25 will feel like sixty dollars well spent. If you buy the new Madden every year, not only are you an idiot but you’re becoming a poor idiot really freaking quick.

That is why I don’t harbour any ill will toward franchises like Madden that bring out yearly versions of their games. There really is no downside to the consumer and the gameplay doesn’t get drawn out and old because you aren’t supposed to buy every iteration of the franchise. Plus, it’s a game based on an established sport so you know what you’re in for gameplay-wise, next year’s version isn’t going to change into an RTS. Or maybe… Okay that’s my idea, no one is allowed to touch that one, that’s trademarked now. Is that how trademark works?

Back to the point, I think sports games actually have an effective model, they aren’t trying to slowly squeeze money out of you or they would make it more difficult for you to hold on to your old Madden or make it more enticing to upgrade. They don’t, they just wait until you, the purchaser, are ready to, under your own volition, purchase the latest game. I feel like I’m being treated like an adult, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Post a Comment
  • Captain Obvious

    Don’t people get the new Madden because of the updated rosters? You want RG3, you gotta pay. As an aside, I think the next iteration should have a bully button… At least for the offensive line.

    • Mark Tuer

      Updated rosters would probably be able to be done over DLC. As for the bully button, it’s not like a 350 pound man would cry and walk off the field because of bullying. That’s craaaazy… oh wait… that happened.

      • Paul Rigden

        Guuuuuuuys, leave him alooone

  • Elinor Tuer

    You are the best writer on this blog site. Love, ma