09 May 2012
The cover is nice, and...and...well, the cover is nice.
1. The first thing anyone brings up when discussing the Madden gaming franchise is the so-called "Madden Curse." Sorry, folks. The curse is just so much BS happily kept alive by EA and the media, taken as gospel by dumb fans. If you believe in things like the Madden curse, I'm thinking you also believe voodoo is real, the "Paranormal Activity" films are documentaries, ghost hunting shows are honest, Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams got a raw deal, and ESPN is all about journalism. To shut the door completely on this ridiculousness, the guys over at SideLion Report did actual research, and called out the Madden curse for what it is...a silly myth.
2. EA was voted the worst company in America by readers of The Comsumerist. The attention the Madden cover competition received was ill-deserved PR for a company that has gone over the top in finding ways to remove money from the wallets of gamers. For example:
EA, meanwhile, has made a habit of sniffing out some of the best smaller video game companies, which are then acquired for their intellectual properties or to remove a competitor from the marketplace. Mass consolidation in any industry rarely works out to the benefit of the consumer, but the gaming business is one that regulators, the courts and the mainstream media have by and large ignored.
EA is among the industry leaders in pushing for more and more "microtransactions" in users' gaming experience. For its major titles it seems to be creating exclusive and add-on content, not with the game in mind, but with the sole intention of milking consumers who may not realize how quickly those small purchases add up.
And unlike the fee-happy discount airlines that use the "everything is a la carte" model to keep base prices low, a new EA game will run you $60 for the most basic version available, making it easily the most expensive form of home entertainment.
Many of EA's sports titles — especially its Madden NFL franchise — are bestsellers with annual releases and exclusivity deals with the corresponding leagues. This means that no one else can enter the market to compete with a lower-price NFL game, effectively allowing EA to set the price for new releases.
EA should be reviled, not celebrated. Screw 'em, because EA will screw us over quicker than you can say downloadable content.
3. With all the attention the cover generates, we're only encouraging EA to keep putting out crap ass product. The Madden franchise is amazingly inconsistent when it comes to quality. Sure, some years there will be reason for buying Madden other than having updated rosters. But far too many other years you are paying $60...for updated rosters, and little else. There is no legitimate reason EA couldn't update rosters/uniforms/you name it annually via DLC (one of the few legit uses of it, instead of a way to unlock what should have already been unlocked, bending gamers over in the process), and go 2-3 years between game upgrades, making the purchase of a new version at least semi-justified...if you are a fan of the series, that is.
4. Between you, me and some guy at Mlive who still believes the Lions should have drafted Aaron Curry over Matthew Stafford, I honestly don't remember who was on the cover of Madden '12. Or '11, '10, '09 and so on. The cover is ultimately much ado about nothing. Being on the cover of Madden is an ephemeral "honor," at best.
5. A fanbase making such a big, honking deal over the cover of a video game reeks of desperation. Orr at least reeks of, "Our team has been an afterthought for YEARS, you HAVE to play attention to us NOOOOW!"
6. I stopped playing Madden years ago. It's too expensive, online play is a PITA (What fun is it to have an 11 year old with the online handle BigBoobs69 calling me GAAAAAAY, or a 35 year old with the online handle IronicHipsterKitty calling me GAAAAAAY?) and too expensive (it's bad enough we have 2 teens with Xbox Live Gold accounts, I don't need one too), and I don't care if I have updated rosters down to the 4th string guard on the Panthers. Now if Megatron made the cover of NFL 2K5 or the NES Tecmo Super Bowl, then that is something I could get behind.
Now those were great video games, GODDAMMIT. I'll go to my grave believing NFL 2K5 for the PS2 is the bestest sports video game of all time, and if you try to convince me otherwise, you'll be the one in the wrong. Before I forget...get off my lawn.
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