68: Football as Madden 07

"Convergence can work in many directions and can be spurred by many different parties, but in the case of Madden, the NFL, ESPN and EA had constructed a holy grail, an irresistible package that would draw droves of football fans into the franchise. As [Henry] Jenkins states, 'convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content.' Madden provides the blueprint to that search."

Jon Schnaars examines the cultural impact of the venerable Madden game franchise.

Football as Madden 07

Madden, who meets with EA regularly to discuss the game, once complained that the video game wasn't enough like the real game because it was too easy to succeed on fourth down, so the game was tweaked. Years later at a meeting with the NFL he was astounded to hear a suit complaining that the real game wasn't enough like the video game, so the real game should be tweaked!

angry young man:
Madden, who meets with EA regularly to discuss the game, once complained that the video game wasn't enough like the real game because it was too easy to succeed on fourth down, so the game was tweaked. Years later at a meeting with the NFL he was astounded to hear a suit complaining that the real game wasn't enough like the video game, so the real game should be tweaked!

This can't be true can it? I've heard many stories of people that are really really stupid working in high places but this just boggles my mind.

Just remember that the key to winning a football game is the ability to move the ball down the field.

Jon, I really enjoyed your article, It left me with a newfound respect for the effort of the industry in making their games which I assumed were being turned out with little to no thought except "put in a new roster, add more features". The overall business strategy is something that finally helps me understand the total success that the Madden line has had.

- Tom

Interesting article. I'm a bit more scepticle of EA and the Madden series, however. I feel that EA these days tends to go on autopilot for their yearly updates (especially with Madden), knowing full well that the name alone will move plenty of units. This is compounded by the fact that they no longer have competition due the exclusive NFL license. So we now have the NFL as filtered through the EA lens. As to whether that's good or bad is up to the individual to decide, however is lack of competition ever a GOOD thing? Your mention of 10 Yard Fight (a great game) got me reminiscing about Tecmo Bowl. I am a longtime fan of football videogames, and Tecmo Bowl had a certain simplistic magic that was something special. There have been great versions of Madden, sure, but the games these days tend to be so complex it can be a turnoff.

 

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