Year after year people from every console run to stores at the end of summer to fill the pockets of EA Sports. Madden’s release every year marks a day EA knows they will truck in loads of cash from gamers across America. But as much as the franchise is loved, should people be getting more than they do? Games like Call of Duty: World at War are often titled as new skins on the same game. It seems shooters are the games that suffer from this, but isn’t Madden more guilty of this than any? Doesn’t Madden 10 feature 90 percent of the same material with only 10% upgrade (if that much)?
When I purchase a game, I often look for something that will keep me occupied for a period of time that I can justify the purchase. While 60 bucks isn’t going to break the bank, it’s not something I just want to throw away. I often times find that single player games are hard to justify, in a world where the internet and online gaming add immense replay value. But that’s not always the case. This generation of consoles has brought forth achievements and trophies, which give any game added value. The desire to collect all the achievements and trophies is a driving force for some, and can be a justification to buy a game. Madden offers plenty of replay value with online mode, franchises, superstar mode and trophies/achievements. At the 60 price these are nice additions that have come over the past few years, but after awhile don’t you get tired of minor upgrades and the same full price?
Madden 10 is an upgrade over Madden 09, there’s no doubt in that. Frankly every year is an upgrade over the last. But is it 60 bucks worth? Graphically the game looks better this year, but for some reason the crowd still looks like the Sega/Nintendo days when they are not the focus of the camera view. While this isn’t a big deal to most, you would figure that by now, they would look like people and not pastel blobs. But none the less, Madden does progress yearly, but at a value of 60 dollars? And whats gotten worse, is the amount of micro transactions available in the game. You have a code for one online franchise, but if you want/need another pull out another 10 bucks. Then there’s the Madden store which is essentially a way for newbs to buy their way to a better team. If a gamer where to buy all this, along with the strategy guide released coincide every year, a gamer would be out well over a 100 bucks.
In the day of online connectivity and consistent game patching, doesn’t it make sense for EA to stop being greedy and charge for the 2011 NFL update patch? For $30-40, EA could charge for the gameplay upgrades and new modes and players, while saving all the time and cost of manufacturing and distribution. While I know there would have to be mandatory disc versions from year to year for graphical changes and major upgrades, patching could solve the yearly disc. EA could even release disc every other year. It could be Madden 11&12, and fans just need to buy the patch for the following season. If they were to charge 60 for the disc version and 40 for the annual patch, they would make 100 over 2 years, 50 a game, which is more than EA made off the Sports Illustrated deal they got involved in. But EA’s mindset is why lose money we’re already making. The production cost would be lessen, and development time would be shortened. There would be a potential need for less employees on the title, but for some reason these are factors EA cares about.
The reality of it all is that EA knows they could do it better. They know about the patch possibility, but they don’t need to do it. As much money as they make every year from gamers rushing out to buy the newest version there’s no need to got this route. As long as 90% of people that bought it the year before buy it again this year, EA will have no problem continuing to charge people. And with the addition of micro transactions, there’s no end insight for the greedy corporate minds at EA Sports.