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Only NFL Game This Year Gets Lukewarm Response 400

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the exclusivity-a-hail-mary-and-receiver-drops-the-ball dept.
aendeuryu writes "The first reviews are in for Madden '06, and the reception is underwhelming -- it's scoring an average rating of 79% on gamerankings.com (at the time of this submission). The reviewers on Gamespot (7.8) and 1up.com (9.0) have different takes on the game, but the readership of both sites doesn't (7.4 and 7.8 respectively). Gamespot's criticisms put the game in a less-than-exciting light: the new QB-vision feature adds realism but takes away from basic fun, and (perhaps most damning) the graphics rate a 7 out of 10 on what was supposed to be a next-generation title. Normally, a mediocre game release isn't a big deal, except that, because of EA's negotiated exclusivity deal with the NFL, this is the only NFL title you'll get to play this year. So, what are the players to do?"
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Only NFL Game This Year Gets Lukewarm Response

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:33PM (#13367157)
    So, what are the players to do?
    Learn how to play a real sport, like rugby?
  • Madden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:33PM (#13367159) Journal
    I happen to love football, the actual game, not really most of the video games (for a number of reasons). Before we get a slew of comments making fun of Madden's often repetitive commentary, I wanted to add my 2 cents. NFL football is a game that does not change every year... the rules are pretty much the same from one year to the next, and the real life games themselves were far more interesting in the seventies and mid-eighties than they are today, barring of course some of the big plays (and big win streaks) you see from time to time. New players and annual player turnover only makes the competition slightly more interesting, but the actual systemic variance between each year is minimal.

    Systemic differences and improvements are what drive the typical gamer's series purchases. Video games, for the most part, try to deliver a REVOLUTION on each upgrade. About the only revolution you could get with a series like Madden is having the guy come up with something original to say (hasn't happened yet), improving the UI, and making the players look more realistic. But there is a time when this effort stalls, because the game of football itself doesn't change enough to keep fans as interested in purchasing an upgrade to a game that they already own.

    Any football fan here would agree that there is very little difference between each new Madden release, except for possibly the player names, stats and some minor UI changes, and Madden saying something slightly different from time to time. But most of his old bricks stay in the game.

    Someone could easily reskin and redevelop the game using Madden's engine to make it far more interesting. Like how about a game of medieval football where you have to slit the guy's tendons with your sock-knife, like they used to do back in the day? Seriously... there are a lot of different avenues game developers could be taking to add some spice to these types of games.

    If you break it down and see Madden 04 and Madden 05 sitting in either the week rental or the 2 night rental, you'll pick 04 so you can have it a few more days... or at least I would.

    My point is that they have to really do something different if they want to improve their ratings and this has to be one of the hardest challenges facing any game designer in the world right now. How do you take a regular sport and make a game out of it that will release a new title each year, without boring the hell out of your fans? It's hard.
    • I don't know about you, but I will be playing:

      Blitz: the League by Midway
    • Ever hear of Megaman Soccer? Overall, I don't think the game fared very well, because people thought it was a badly made sports game, but as just a fun game, it was cool. I mean, you hit the guy with a ball and he bursts into flames? How cool is that! Or you can't quite get past their goalie? Chop him into little pieces. BUt wait, he's a big metal thing that can't be chopped up into pieces. Your loss. you just wasted your special ball. I mean, there was strategy, (although it's not quite a strategy game), t
    • Re:Madden (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Skim123 (3322) <mitchell AT 4guysfromrolla DOT com> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:46PM (#13367225) Homepage
      Any football fan here would agree that there is very little difference between each new Madden release, except for possibly the player names, stats and some minor UI changes, and Madden saying something slightly different from time to time. But most of his old bricks stay in the game.

      Serious footbacll fans who dig their video games upgrade each year primarily because of the one item you didn't list - the evolving team roster. A player might have a favorite team or two and want to be able to have his video game playing mimic the real season in the sense that he can have the 'real' QB throw to the 'real' wide out and so on. Plus, usually the graphics do improve year after year.

      Personally I'm an NBA fan, never really into football. My purchases in the Sega basketball series (NBA2k2, 2k3, and then the ESPN line) were primarily driven by roster changes. Wanted to be able to play the Lakers when they had Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton; then wanted to be able to play with Shaq and D-Wade, or a Nash-led run and gun Suns team.

      Speaking of the basketball series of games, though, one thing they do seem to do a good job of is introduce some nuisance each year. For example, in early versions of 2kX the fast breaking was horrible, players would come to a dead stop to catch a pass rather than having one player lead the other with a pass - very frustrating when you have a 2 on 1 break and you pass it to the lead man who stops dead in his tracks and waits for the ball to arrive. So they fixed that with lead passes, but then they made the computer's point guard too good, always able to blow by you defending him. Even if you were a long, atheletic NBA guard who is well-known for his defensive prowress, and guarding an old, slow guy who is all thumbs in real life, you'd get taken to school every time. It would end up where the other team might score 50 points in a game w/their PG racking up 40 of those. So they improved that in the next year's game, but then went and made the post play too easy. Throw it down low, do the drop-step, and you're shooting like 90%, doesn't matter who you are or who's guarding you. Etc., etc.

      The point is, there always seems to be a nagging reason to upgrade, and the developers always seem coy enough to always add some new, 'This sucks, can't wait til next year's release' "feature."

      • Re:Madden (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:08PM (#13367321)
        Serious footbacll fans who dig their video games upgrade each year primarily because of the one item you didn't list - the evolving team roster.

        I understand that this is, in fact, the driving force behind sports game sales. I can't say I've ever really understood it.

        I play sports games for the game, so when I find one I like I'm perfectly happy sticking with that edition until a truely superior simulation comes along.

        . . .the developers always seem coy enough to always add some new, 'This sucks, can't wait til next year's release' "feature."

        And I'm alergic to being treated like a hamster who is expected to keep dropping fifty dollar bills into the slot just to be allowed to run on a wheel that goes nowhere.

        KFG
        • I understand that this is, in fact, the driving force behind sports game sales. I can't say I've ever really understood it.

          You can't see the interest in playing as your favorite players in real life? Or playing along as your team in real life plays their season? Yes, the game play is a paramount factor for the enjoyability of a game, but all things being equal, wouldn't you rather play as the guys you watch on TV and follow in the papers?

    • by Tx (96709)
      Someone could easily reskin and redevelop the game using Madden's engine to make it far more interesting. Like how about a game of medieval football where you have to slit the guy's tendons with your sock-knife, like they used to do back in the day? Seriously... there are a lot of different avenues game developers could be taking to add some spice to these types of games.

      Reminds me a little of Speedball 2 on the Amiga, or perhaps Brutal Sports Football - no knives, but lots of over-the-top violence. Speedba
      • by Osty (16825)

        Speedball 2 is one of my favourite sports games ever, although I don't think a modern graphics engine would actually make it any more fun.

        I never played Speedball 2, but I did enjoy the original Speedball back in the day. If you want to try the spiritual successor to that game, go try to find a copy of Deathrow [gamerankings.com][1] (pronounced "Death Throw", not "Death Row") for Xbox. Sadly, the game was released just a bit too soon to have Live support (launched 10/2002, Live launched 11/2002), and it didn't sell well

    • by kjh1 (65671) *

      Systemic differences and improvements are what drive the typical gamer's series purchases. Video games, for the most part, try to deliver a REVOLUTION on each upgrade. About the only revolution you could get with a series like Madden is having the guy come up with something original to say (hasn't happened yet), improving the UI, and making the players look more realistic. But there is a time when this effort stalls, because the game of football itself doesn't change enough to keep fans as interested in pu

      • Re:Madden (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BackInIraq (862952) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @04:04PM (#13367547)
        I agree. I don't really have much desire to spend $40/$50 on a game that really only updates the stats that it draws upon. However, I may be interested in buying a game that had updates that cost say around $10 per year. That way, I cut down on my expenses, get to play a game that has up to date stats and not have to re-learn a new game.

        Here is an idea that might make me interested in sports games again. I can see it now...all the team/player information is kept in a consistant database across versions (perhaps even uniform textures, if storage space allows). That data can be downloaded via a service such as Xbox Live (or the publisher's own service), allowing updates of data across versions...so 2005, 2006, 2007, and so on could all draw from the same standardized database. Then players could actually stick with the version they enjoy (which for many is NOT the current one), and just update the rosters.

        Granted, this will never happen. They LIKE making you pay 50 dollars every year. At least, EA does. But imagine you are a small/independant publisher...you could put all the development time in just once (maybe twice) over the course of a console generation, and still bring in small yearly update revenues in addition to actual title sales. Every year you could press a new copy with the updated database, to keep the rental market fresh. And if your graphics/controls were good, you might find yourself selling a lot more copies than you'd expect. I think a majority of people want off the EA treadmill.

        Of course, the rosters and team data are property of the league, so you'd have to find a way to woo them away from EA (or at least get them to cheat on EA)...and I imagine most leagues are an expensive mistress.

        Anyway, I imagine there are a lot of people like me who don't buy sports games anymore. And it isn't really even the price...usually I find I don't like the newest version as much as some of the older versions, but I want updated rosters. Since that simply isn't available to me at any price, I choose to keep my money. Haven't bought/rented a sports game for about two years now.
    • by jtwJGuevara (749094) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:16PM (#13367353)
      I agree with your argument for the most. However, I own Madden 2005 and have recently rented '06. In doing so, I have noticed small little improvements that go a long way with the more meticulous football fan, such as myself.

      For example, the article's aforementioned QB vision light, which is based on the QB awareness rating and determines the field of vision for a QB. You can control this yourself with the right analog stick or focus in on different receivers. Make a pass to someone not in your field of vision and you will make a duck pass. This feature will need some tweaking, but it is one step closer to making the game realistic and prevents previously awseome madden players from exploiting passing the ball all game.

      Another small improvement has been in line play. The animations that determine positioning of linemen during the play are improved. Defensive lineman in a 4-3 now finally line up as they are supposed to (in gaps instead of headup), and the ability to slide your offensive line protection, while not perfect, definitely lets you control logic for your lineman that never existed in previous games.

      The last one I'll mention are smart routes. In older games. WR's were restricted to predetermined routes based on the play you call, or you could hot route them, but the distance they run in the route is always the same. Now you can make their curl routes and in/out routes go all the way to first down marker. Again, a small improvement, but one that makes the play in this game a bit better.

      In all honesty, I think people expect too much of this football game series. There are only so many things you can add each year and each year everyone wants something revolutionary. All I want is steady improvement so that when I play this game in 2015 (assuming it is still being produced) it should be much closer to the real thing. Just look at at how far it has advanced in 1995 to see what I mean.
    • I'm with you about football in general. I'm a huge fan of the game and have done what I coudl to educate myself about it thoroughly; after 20 years or so of watching, I pretty much grasp what's going on in real life.

      However, I disagree with your assesment of why Madden is pretty much the same each year. In my opinion, it's become a case of diminishing returns for EA; they *could* make it better, but it's cheaper not too, and doesn't hurt sales (especially when you lock up and exclusive license!)

      Remember w
      • PLEASE.... you obviously don't know the history of football games to be saying it's ok for EA to make the same damn game every year.

        Tecmo Bowl for NES in the 80s had one of the first NFL licenses. What if they pulled the plug on the rest of the industry. There would have never been an EA. You would be stuck with Tecmo Bowl for life. Same goes for Sega genesis Joe Montana football in the 90s and so many followups.

        EA is denying the chance for the industry to compete. If there was a 2nd or 3rd potentially
    • I don't agree. You are talking about computer games. But the sports category of that has long sense stoped exhibiting gameplay improvements. Maybe EA doesent realize this. Sports games MUST exhibit a growth in visual relaity, or gameplay reality. They have no other way to grow. If its mideval football, then its a totally different game that appeals to a different audience. If they did that I would assume they were trying to get football game fans to buy some of their other titles...

      They are likely j
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Buy another game? Oh, no, it's NFL with the latest roster. BOO FRIKKIN HOO. You want to show the NFL/the game maker you don't like the monopoly on the NFL? Don't give them your money. Sheesh.
  • Suggestion (Score:5, Funny)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:35PM (#13367169) Journal
    "So, what are the players to do?"

    Um...buy a football perhaps?
  • orrr..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:36PM (#13367175)
    or they could just charge you a subscription fee to add new rosters and occasionan texture/model updates. Then you only buy it once, and assuming the fee is reasonable, it would make more sense.

    But that's not nearly as moneymaking as having 10 million people just rebuy a small update every year...
  • Easter Egg (Score:5, Funny)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:36PM (#13367178)
    Word has it there's a "hot cocoa" mod available showing hidden footage of a naked John Madden being dragged onto an airplane, lashed into a jumpseat and flown city-to-city over the course of the season. Decency advocates, NFL officials and Hillary Clinton are already threatening to sue . . . :-P
  • Don't Buy It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BobPaul (710574) * on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:37PM (#13367181) Journal
    If sales drop, maybe the NFL will look to renegotiate their deal
    --
    Downloading in Firefox got you down? Cheer up [bobpaul.org]
    • No way.

      The mindless drones who bought an Xbox solely to buy the newest sports games every year will gobble this up as soon as it comes out.
    • That's just crazy talk. It must be purchased. It has the NFL logo on it! Who cares about quality or gameplay, that's clearly only secondary. This game must be purchased, after all, it's the only officail NFL game this year!!!!
  • by ilyaaohell (866922) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:37PM (#13367182)
    I'm sure there'll be a lot of comments here about the whole monopoly not causing innovation thing, except for one thing. EA is currently in the same position as Microsoft is regarding their Office suite. They may be a monopoly, but if they don't offer significant upgrades on a regular basis (once a year for EA, maybe some extra time for Microsoft), nobody will buy their product.

    Nobody will buy these games just to upgrade the rosters now, since you can download this information online. If EA wants to keep selling titles (monopoly or no monopoly, they still cost millions to produce each year) they better offer something good with each new upgrade.
  • by aixou (756713) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:39PM (#13367191)

    If you'll notice, it's the PC version of Madden 2006 that has a collective 79% rating. The Xbox and PS2 versions (presumably more popular than the PC game) are at 87.4 and 88.2 respectively, only 1 or 2 points behind the score of Madden 05.
    • Shhhh.... Your going to ruin it.

      Remeber, Slashdot hates the evil EA. Who cares if they they have to spin the numbers to make their point.
    • Is 79% really "underwhelming"? It's not superlative, but on the face of it sounds pretty good. Maybe they should revise their scoring method if 79% is lousy.
      • 79% is a terrible score for something like Gamespot. Even extremely lousy games rarely get below 60% on those sites, and the fans opinion boxes are always stuffed.
      • It seems highly unusual for reviewers to give a game less than 70% these days. The so-called "All-time Worst 20" games on that site range from 23% to 41%. The best 20 on the other hand only range from 98% to 94%. It appears that reviewers are hesitant to give low marks in fear of being cut off from future review prereleases. Add to this the "promotional events" that game companies invite reviewers to, and many feel obligated to give the game a decent score.
    • What matters is the review text, which wasn't exactly glowing. Seriously, does anyone pay attention to scores these days?
  • by angst7 (62954) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:40PM (#13367195) Homepage
    Maybe this will mean less people buy the game. I was thrilled with ESPN NFL2k5 last year. It was arguably as much fun as Madden '05, and only cost $20. When I heard about the EA exclusivity with the NFL I decided not to buy another Madden title until there was competition again. This flop serves two purposes. It will hopefully diminish the number of people who buy the title, ultimately leading to a lower revenue to both EA and the NFL, and secondly it shows that a lack of competition leads to a lack in quality.

    That said, EA has been turning out some great titles lately. Burnout 3 for Xbox, and Battlefield 2 for the PC are just great.
    • Burnout 3 is a great game, but it wasn't developed in-house at EA, it was created by Criterion in the UK before EA bought them (a deal that went through partway through development of the title). I remember working with the Criterion guys before I left EA last year. BO3 does have some really fun bits, I remember being impressed with it even at the early stages.
  • First...

    Avg Ratio: 79%
    Based On 2 Media Outlets


    I.e. this may change wildly later on.

    Second, I don't see why this story didn't get on just the Games section. A game is "pretty good" but not "excellent" and it's big time news? Keep in mind that ~80% is nowhere near "bad" especially for a fan of the genre.

    So, what are the players to do?

    If I were a fan of this genre, I'd pirate this game to see if it was worth the money (unless they release a demo).
    If it wasn't, I'd just play the former / my current favorite N
  • "When you first snap the ball, you'll be locked on to a primary receiver. But by moving the right control stick around, you can move your view to another receiver, should you need to"

    "The whole song and dance you have to go through to get the cone to switch to a receiver post-snap lends itself to you taking a whole lot more sacks than you might be used to, and even just trying to move the stick around manually is a clunky affair in the early goings. "

    Gee, great job morons. Way to fumble on trying to improve
    • Real quarterbacks will probably love it. NFL players can actually use Madden for a bit of training. Not real training, of course, but noting formations and reacting properly to them, checking off receivers, etc. Ricky Williams used to mention that back when he had a web log.
  • Cyberball... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eunos94 (254614) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:44PM (#13367220)
    If the NFL titles suck, then support other titles that don't need NFL endorsement. Cyberball [klov.com] rocked in the day. No NFL needed. Support great games, don't support big name trademarks and monopolistic organizations.
  • "... this is the only NFL title you'll get to play this year. "So, what are the players to do?"

    Oh My God! The tragedy! How awful to only be able to play other football titles that don't have the sacred NFL trademark, but may be much better games. Such games might even cost less besause a few bucks didn't have to flow to the NFL, or play better because dollars that would have gone to the NFL can be spent on coders or testing, how can players accept that??? How horriable it would be to play completely diffe

    • How awful to only be able to play other football titles that don't have the sacred NFL trademark, but may be much better games.

      One problem is that all the well-known American football leagues (NFL, CFL, AFL/af2) are belong to EA. Is there a CFL video game on one of the consoles? What about Gaelic football, Australian Rules football, Rugby Union, or association football?

      • It's not a real problem! Nothing stops a game company from coming out with titles football or pigskin or any other generic football term in the title. There is only a restriction on using property like NFL (and, I expect actual NFL team names and likenesses). Who cares? This doesn't affect game play, it only makes the games more expensive as a cut has to go to the NFL. If the complaint is that there are no good football games, then that should have been what was stated, but it wasn't, the complaint is that
    • to make the game? Sega produced an excellent _licensed_ football game, sold it cheap and still got their asses handed to them. Who'd put up money making a niche game when established players fail so spectacularly against EA? You might see a crappy budget title or two, maybe even a few decent ones. But you won't see anything with polish, that take big money no one's gonna risk.
      • Re:Who's gonna pay (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hellasboy (120979) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @04:54PM (#13367787)
        EA was in serious danger of losing the football crown.
        LINK [findarticles.com]

        ESPN NFL FOOTBALL (2004)
        216,000 units sold
        $10.1 million in sales

        MADDEN NFL 2004
        3.4 million units sold
        $167 million in sales

        ESPN NFL 2K5
        1.2 million units sold
        $24.4 million in sales

        MADDEN NFL 2005
        2.3 million units sold
        $111.4 million in sales

        A 50 million dollar drop and 1/3 drop in numbers sold with sega's strategy of selling 2k5. Imagine if they had a 2k6, especially with the buzz they had with 2k5 (2k5 was/is so much better than madden 2005/2006). that's the general consensus.

        Madden has "fixed" the same damn problems year after year. I mean, how many times can they fix a same passing game problem? or fix the same running game problem? Hopefully someone will release a 2006 roster update for NFL2K5 (basically what EA does with Madden, but charge an extra 40$ for).
    • XFL video game (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ipjohnson (580042) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:28PM (#13367395)
      I can see it now cross maden with the WWE series and you've got a multi million dollar hit. Now if I can only work in NASCAR and I can target every rednecked american ... I mean red blooded american.
    • couldn't agree more. Who Gives a toss what the players names are or what logo is on the box. at least other games wont brainwash you into challenging everything.
    • While perhaps a reasonable suggestion, sales figures don't lie: people prefer to play make-believe with real players than just "play a game."

  • True, the video game rights to NFL, NCAA, and AFL teams, stadiums, and players have been gobbled up by Electronic Arse, but that's not all the football there is. What about the CFL? And if you'll allow me to think outside the box, are FIFA and MLS under exclusive contracts? What about folk football [wikipedia.org], which could be partly standardized [everything2.com]?

  • Don't get me wrong about this, I've only ever actually watched a quater of a game of American Football before at it didn't really interest me in the slightest. I won't suffer from this personally, but there are three things about it that make me feel kinda sad:

    * If this resulted in lower interest in the sport itself and the NFL was really harmed as a result, it would probably just be attributed to some other factor and nobody would come close to learning their lesson. Any amount they suffer will be needles

  • by DeionXxX (261398) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:51PM (#13367257)
    I promised myself that I wouldn't buy the game when I heard about the exclusive deal with the NFL. I really got turned on to the football games starting with NFL2k for the DC and continued to buy the NFL2k line until this year, when they didn't produce a game.

    I was pretty close to not giving in but as the season got closer and I saw the preseason game, I gave in and bought it. I agree with the reviewers that the game isn't that special. It's basically a less fun version of 2k5.

    Ohh well, I guess EA knew what they were doing. Even though everyone bad-mouthed them and swore not to buy their games, EA knew people would still buy their game because it was the only one available. :-( for capitalism.
    • Seriously. This way, the EA fanboys that wanted and would have bought it anyway, and it deprives EA of another sale.

      You made a mistake, you can still fix that though. :)
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:53PM (#13367268) Homepage
    What are players to do, you ask? Isn't it obvious? If someone comes to the conclusion that the game isn't worth the purchase, be it based on reviews, word of mouth, test-playing it or whatever, then simply don't buy it. There's lots of other games that you can choose from - or you could even go outside for a change instead of just playing computer games all the time.

    If you're an absolute die-hard fan that wants a great new NFL game every year (and who thinks that this isn't it), then write to them and tell them what you think about their "exclusive license" deal. Send a snail mail letter, too - these are taken far more seriously than angry emails, who're probably just deleted without anyone really reading them.

    That's what I would do - if I cared about football or football games.
  • They're supposed to break out the 8-bit Nintendo and fire up Tecmo Super Bowl, the BEST football game EVER (gameplay wise). Graphics only wow me so much. I like to have fun while playing a game and Madden has never done that for me.

    Peace

  • Ok, scam might be too harsh a word, but as a no-sports gamer, I don't see the point of buying a new version of the game every year. And it's amazing that once the new verion comes out Fry's will start selling the previous years game for about $10.

    Sure, you get upgraded stats and some new gameplay features. What I really wonder is how much testing EA's put into the new features. I'd hope that every new feature got over a year of development, playbalancing and testing.

    To me, it sounds like getting Zelda 0

  • by richman555 (675100)
    I think it would be cool to avoid this whole mess and create a better arcade style football game. A game like this could take some cues from Sega Soccer Slam as an example. Or someone could develop a great football game for the Nintendo DS. Drawing up you own plays would be fun to do with a stylus. I think the possibilities are out there, its just no developers want to take the risk.
  • As soon as the exclusivity deal was signed, innovation ended. I expect EA to release the exact same game for every year of the contract, with the exception of updated rosters and some new "feature" like the QB vision. Each new feature will be half-assed and poorly implemented.

    Football games haven't exactly been known for innovation, but what little did exist is dead now.

    The only hope is that the exclusivity contract will cause game developers at other companies to branch out and build truly interesting spor
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:05PM (#13367308) Journal
    > because of EA's negotiated exclusivity deal
    > with the NFL, this is the only NFL title
    > you'll get to play this year. So, what are the
    > players to do?"

    Have a little pride and refuse to buy it? And thus punish both EA and the NFL?
  • Madden 06 is not a next-gen game for the PS2 and XBox. It still runs on the same game engine that they have been using since the game came to the PS2. Madden 06 (if it actually is released) for the 360 will be on a new engine and of course look much better than what appears on the XBox. Madden 07 will still be available with the same game engine for the PS2 (and probably XBox too). I still remember seeing Madden 2005 for the PS1 at the store. It's still the same Madden for the PS1 that you got in the
  • by NNland (110498)
    As was suggested by some friends last night during a random gaming discussion: Sega should put out a good "Mutant League Football" game.

    Make it as good or better than Madden (which doesn't look to be a challenge according to the reviews), and they can print their own money.
  • Madden certain fills the genre for those who want a twitch game. You get to be the QB or the Running Back, on defense you can be a Middle Linebacker or Corner...

    But I miss the Coaching Simulations. We used to play leagues were everyone was a coach and we drafted the (NFL) players, made our own offensive and defensive plays, worried about salary caps and made play calls. The game would show you what happened just like you would see it from a coach's perspective.

    I don't want to Throw the ball... I don't wa
  • Inflated (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Psionicist (561330) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:13PM (#13367343)
    79% is considered bad? Game reviews have always been inflated, why not do anything about it? 79% is practically the same as 8/10 or 4/5, and that's considered really good in, say, book or movie reviews. Look at IMDB, the best movie there, The Godfather, has a score of 9/10.

    Really, a score of 40-60% should be an avarage game, but it appears the game reviewers give this score to games that suck completely.

    Oh well.
  • I'm shocked! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cyberllama (113628) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:15PM (#13367346)
    The quality of a product dropped after it became a monopoly? Surely this must be some sort of oversight . . .
    • Re:I'm shocked! (Score:5, Informative)

      by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @07:34PM (#13368561)
      The quality of a product dropped after it became a monopoly?

      It did? Hmmmm, lets actually look at the Gamespot scores over the years.

      Madden NFL 97 6.4
      Madden NFL 98 8.1
      Madden NFL 99 8.8
      Madden NFL 2000 7.4
      Madden NFL 2001 7.0
      Madden NFL 2002 6.7
      Madden NFL 2003 9.2
      Madden NFL 2004 8.8
      Madden NFL 2005 8.8
      Madden NFL 06 7.8

      Hmmm, seems pretty inline doesn't it? It's amazing what facts can do to FUD.
  • by DesiVideoGamer (863325) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:16PM (#13367350)
    For computer graphics class [cmu.edu], Dave Swanson, the Director of Madden, gave us a lecture about the "process" of making a new Madden game. I decided to joke around and ask him "Why do you need to do anything? Don't you have a monopoly?". He replied saying that he actually still works as hard as he did before the monopoly; and that his current aim is to get people who were not intrested in the Madden series before-hand into the game.
    He also said that all the stories [slashdot.org] in the press are mostly an exaggeration of what is really going on.
  • EA: "I'm tired of trying to make competitive games, can I just have a monopoly?"
    NFL: "Okay!"
    EA: "Hooray!"
  • First off, it's not a "next generation" title. That will be the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, probably not until next year (although we may see 2006 for 360 this winter).

    Second, the graphics are significantly better than 2005. There are a ton of new animations and things look much more smooth and realistic.

    Third, the QB vision is complicated, but it makes the game more realistic. It was too easy to make circus passes for big gains, and the new system makes it much more real. Yes, it can increase sacks,

  • Specifically, NFL2k5.

    Update the rosters using either manual or action replay/gameshark codes, and play online with the standard rosters.

    Seriously, the current rosters aren't critical for online play, and just play with EQ turned on. When EQ is on, you're playing based on skill and not having the better players.

    I hate playing online against people who refuse to turn EQ on. For example, you only saw about 5 teams online at any time: Eagles, Pats, Colts, Falcons, and Rams. Anything else beyond that was a st
  • by gorbachev (512743) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:36PM (#13367426) Homepage
    http://investor.ea.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=88189&p=iro l-newsArticle&ID=744892&highlight= [ea.com]

    Madden 2006 sells a record breaking 1.7M copies in its first week.

    So it doesn't seem to matter to the lemmings that the game has very little to offer in terms of innovation.

    $49.99 for a new roster either means people have more than enough disposable income to waste, the reviews are wrong or mass consumtion is good. Or something else.
  • Normally, a mediocre game release isn't a big deal, except that, because of EA's negotiated exclusivity deal with the NFL, this is the only NFL title you'll get to play this year. So, what are the players to do?

    How about go for a football game WITHOUT the NFL license? Midway's making one that should be out in a couple of months called Blitz: The League [blitzleague.com], and because they don't have the NFL license anymore they're free to put in stuff the NFL wouldn't allow before. I was at a Midway event earlier this mon
  • "because of EA's negotiated exclusivity deal with the NFL, this is the only NFL title you'll get to play this year"

    That's why it's mediocre! Clearly when EA has no opposition to worry about they don't feel the need to make the game any good. I hope they never get their hands on Ubisoft who somehow have managed to publish nothing but gold for the last few years.
  • by Shamashmuddamiq (588220) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @04:00PM (#13367532)
    this is the only NFL title you'll get to play this year. So, what are the players to do?

    Uh... why can't they play Madden '05 or Madden '04 or even ... I don't know... Madden '03?

    Someone who enjoys video football enough to buy a new version every year probably isn't very difficult to entertain. He'll buy Madden '06 even if it's just a feature-creep of '05.

  • when did (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:26PM (#13367925) Journal
    When did 70% become bad? Surely anything below 50% if bad. Anything above is above average no?

    When did a rating system become 70 = bad 80 = okay 90 = good?
  • by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108&bellsouth,net> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:30PM (#13367941)
    At the time i'm writing this, according to gamerankings.com, the scores for madden games (ps2 version) are:
    2006: 88%
    2005: 90%
    2004: 91%
    2003: 91%

    These scores are pretty respectable, especially for a sports title. If you are expecting any respectable gaming mag to ever give a "realistic" (as opposed to a mario sports title) sports game 100% you can pretty much forget it. Sports games appeal to people who like the sport, and want to relive a little bit of it at home. They don't really appeal to hardcore gamers, who could care less about having an updated roster. The real test will be the sales numbers on this title, I'm betting lots of people will buy it and enjoy it. What the /. obsession with Madden is I'm not sure, they are average games that fit a certain niche market perfectly. Besides that I have a feeling this year's Madden got less development time because the developers are busy preparing for the upcoming Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 titles. Madden could potentially make or break these consoles so I'm sure Sony and MS are putting all their weight on EA.
  • Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timothykaine (821252) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @09:41PM (#13369075)
    So, what are the players to do?

    That's simple. Don't buy the game. All a company that would seek out a monopoly cares about is money. If you arent giving them money, they dont have any money. If they dont have any money, theyll do anything it takes to get money. In this case, make a decent game.
  • by twelveinchbrain (312326) on Monday August 22, 2005 @02:12AM (#13369901)
    Despite its lukewarm reviews, it appears that EA is selling Madden NFL 06 in record numbers [dailygame.net], selling 1.6 million copies in its first week. If consumers will eagerly buy a warmed-over rehash of last year's game, what incentive does EA have to innovate?

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