Here’s some chocolate in your peanut butter: Electronic Arts says it plans to bring its most popular and successful EA Sports franchise, Madden NFL, to Facebook.
Facebook has grown into a very important games platform, as people rush to sink their time into casual fare like Mafia Wars and Farmville, where game studios earn revenues through microtransactions that ThinkEquity analyst Atul Bagga predicts will break $2 billion by the end of the year. Electronic Arts wants a slice of that pie and what better way to cut one than with its most enduring and lucrative franchise, Madden NFL?
“We have to make Madden more accessible,” EA Sports President Peter Moore told Bloomberg. “You’ll see us on Facebook going forward.”
There’s no release target for the game at this point – EA hasn’t even made an official announcement – but Moore said it would be a “simpler experience” than the console versions of the game. That’s not exactly a big surprise: Facebook games may bring in a lot of coin but they’re also aimed squarely at the casual market, where the realism of the “normal” Madden games would likely be out of place.
The Madden NFL franchise is an easy target for “real gamers” to rip on because of its mainstream popularity and cookie-cutter annual sequels, but nobody can deny its ridiculous popularity. How big is it? The original John Madden Football was released 22 years ago for the Apple II, Commodore 64 and DOS, and has appeared on every major (and some minor) platforms since. The most recent iteration of the game, Madden NFL 2010, didn’t quite meet up to sales expectations but still managed to put out almost two million copies across all platforms in its first two weeks of release, while lifetime franchise revenues are estimated to be somewhere in the BOOMillions of dollars.