Here’s an honest question: Does anybody care about Madden anymore?
No, seriously. I know that Madden 12 sold five million copies or so. But do you know anybody who owns a copy? Do you even know anybody who is going to buy a copy?
Although I loathe the NFL as a corporate entity and also loathe EA’s use of the franchise as a club against its competitors, I’m not trying to hate on Madden here. The game itself is still quite fun, and I don’t even like watching televised football. It’s not my favorite kind of game but it’s still a solid, fun experience.
But at the same time, I picked up a copy of Madden NFL 12 to write this article from a yard sale, still in the wrapper, for five bucks.
The series has actually been on a slide lately, in terms of sales. Madden NFL 12 moved less than six million copies total, which is not great for a franchise that three years ago was edging eight million. In fact the franchise has been losing a million in sales or so every year since Madden 10 came out.
Part of that is the dents and dings of a gaming industry suffering the end of a console cycle. Not even Madden can survive gamer apathy.
But part of me wonders if solely gamer apathy is to blame, or if people just get sick of buying essentially the same game over and over, every year. EA has been making noises about free-to-play being “the future”; Madden seems inevitably headed in that direction. I can’t help but wonder if that will kill the franchise: It might put just what EA’s doing to the series in sharp relief.