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Madden 12 News Post


Kotaku's Owen Good explains why the NFLís labor strife might be the best thing that happened to Madden.

Quote:
"It appears to be a win-win: EA Sports gets cash relief in a year when it's telling investors that its flagship title may take a dive at the cash register because of the league's overall woes. The NFL can kick the can down the road another year and negotiate this license when its product is a lot stronger.

But when the league does sit down with EA Sports, or anyone else, it still may not like what it hears."

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Member Comments
# 1 pietasterp @ 02/19/11 07:31 PM
The last point in the article is, I think, the most salient - I'm 100% sure that the NFL did not realize they were making the deal exclusive into perpetuity (and putting EA completely in the driver's seat for the forseeable future) when they originally agreed to this deal at the end of 2004. There will be no bidders other than EA left in 2012, or 2013, or whenever the license technically expires. EA holds all the cards, as they're the only ones willing to fork over major cash for the exclusive license given that they have an established franchise and sizable investment with serious pop culture (and monetary) cache that is a proven revenue stream. Everyone else has already been shut out by what will then be nearly a decade of inactivity. No one's going to spend $300 million on the hopes of growing a new football IP from the ground up. Game over.

What I find interesting (and slightly irritating, for some reason) is that people are just now seeing this in the major gaming media outlets. I believe we had this exact point nailed to a "T" way back in 2004 in the original "EA Gets Exclusive NFL License" thread - which actually would be interesting to dig up and see how dead-on the OS readers were at that time. I mean, how is it possible that we all saw this back then (or some of us, anyway) and it's only now becoming apparent to everyone else? Is the videogame biz still that underground/elusive to everyone else that they couldn't see what even casual sports gamers knew 7 years ago? It was obvious then, as it is now, that when that deal was made it would be the end of any non-Madden game for the rest of the modern age of videogaming. Welcome to the party, kotaku....
 
# 2 thundergatti @ 02/19/11 07:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pietasterp
The last point in the article is, I think, the most salient - I'm 100% sure that the NFL did not realize they were making the deal exclusive into perpetuity (and putting EA completely in the driver's seat for the forseeable future) when they originally agreed to this deal at the end of 2004. There will be no bidders other than EA left in 2012, or 2013, or whenever the license technically expires. EA holds all the cards, as they're the only ones willing to fork over major cash for the exclusive license given that they have an established franchise and sizable investment with serious pop culture (and monetary) cache that is a proven revenue stream. Everyone else has already been shut out by what will then be nearly a decade of inactivity. No one's going to spend $300 million on the hopes of growing a new football IP from the ground up. Game over.

What I find interesting (and slightly irritating, for some reason) is that people are just now seeing this in the major gaming media outlets. I believe we had this exact point nailed to a "T" way back in 2004 in the original "EA Gets Exclusive NFL License" thread - which actually would be interesting to dig up and see how dead-on the OS readers were at that time. I mean, how is it possible that we all saw this back then (or some of us, anyway) and it's only now becoming apparent to everyone else? Is the videogame biz still that underground/elusive to everyone else that they couldn't see what even casual sports gamers knew 7 years ago? It was obvious then, as it is now, that when that deal was made it would be the end of any non-Madden game for the rest of the modern age of videogaming. Welcome to the party, kotaku....
Enjoyed your post.

I just have to question the assumption you made that no one else would be willing to invest in the license. Its the National Football League, and the game has demonstrated its profitability over time.
 
# 3 statum71 @ 02/19/11 08:46 PM
This is EXACTLY why I voted no in the front page poll.

I don't see NFL 2K coming back.
 
# 4 permanent1 @ 02/19/11 09:29 PM
Considering 2K already approached the NFL recently prior to this exension i would not be so sure about that.
 
# 5 bonafied0034 @ 02/19/11 09:41 PM
Not necessarily on topic here, but if the current CBA expires and the NFLPA decertifies (like they claim they will do), doesn't that mean that EA will not be able to include those players in the game unless they pay them each individually (since they couldn't give the union one lump sum to distribute)? Would EA fork out that cash to each individual player?

If that is the case, then that, to me, is why this might be the best thing to happen. In my opinion, that would cause people to lose interest in Madden. After all, APF2k8 did not sell as well because it did not have current NFL players in the game. Would this then cause 2k sports to release another APF game to compete with a no-NFL player Madden? Again, this all depends on if the above assumption is true.
 
# 6 Nab_Impervious_XII @ 02/19/11 10:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by statum71
This is EXACTLY why I voted no in the front page poll.

I don't see NFL 2K coming back.
The article doesn't say NFL 2k won't come back though. It's saying it won't come back in the PS3 era (which is scheduled to end around 2013-2014). Which is true. No arguing against that.

Overall, it's an article filled with bad news for the immediate future, but a potential silver lining scenario for the new console generation era. Since both 2k and EA have to essentially reset their developmental cycles to meet the demands of the new consoles in 2014, they will be able to more fairly compete for the license again.

At that point, it will be up to 2k if it wants to cough out the big bucks to potentially share dual-exclusivity with EA.
 
# 7 unfriendlyghst @ 02/19/11 11:25 PM
Wow just wow. We have an entire generation of gamers that has no idea of what a half time show or draft class update looks like. Its sad that so many kids are growing up with Madden teaching them about football fundamentals that don't exist.
 
# 8 GiantBlue76 @ 02/20/11 03:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyvoodoo
Nothing. The teams would get bigger BONUSES this year.. Sorry.

ben
voodoo
Yeah, Creep. Sorry to burst your bubble, but EA's investment in Madden is the cash it shells out for the exclusive. They don't invest in the game much at all as the final product over the last 6 years has shown. Why would they? When you know you're the only game in town, it makes no sense from a business standpoint to push the envelope. That's why you are seeing all of the other sports games go far beyond what we've seen from Madden.
 
# 9 dickey1331 @ 02/20/11 04:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
Yeah, Creep. Sorry to burst your bubble, but EA's investment in Madden is the cash it shells out for the exclusive. They don't invest in the game much at all as the final product over the last 6 years has shown. Why would they? When you know you're the only game in town, it makes no sense from a business standpoint to push the envelope. That's why you are seeing all of the other sports games go far beyond what we've seen from Madden.
Completion doesn’t always make anything better. What about NBA Live/Elite? Gone. Or NHL 2K? 2011 version didn’t come out for PS3/Xbox 360. Most PS3 users buy The show or Xbox users buy a PS3 so they don’t have to play MLB 2K. Like I said competition doesn’t mean anything.
 
# 10 mestevo @ 02/20/11 04:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
Yeah, Creep. Sorry to burst your bubble, but EA's investment in Madden is the cash it shells out for the exclusive. They don't invest in the game much at all as the final product over the last 6 years has shown. Why would they? When you know you're the only game in town, it makes no sense from a business standpoint to push the envelope. That's why you are seeing all of the other sports games go far beyond what we've seen from Madden.
I am not sure if you're being serious or sarcastic here? While the license is surely a significant portion of the overall cost of the game, you do realize that almost all of the play movement is derived from motion capture (I think this year they were able to build a 40yd dash in the studio for the new locomotion stuff?) rather than animators. You haven't seen any of the setups they put together at a couple of the big events to get player/coach photos/3d scans? Have you ever seen a Madden commercial? All of these things are just small parts of the many things that go into Madden... This is not a cheap or simple game to make or there would be many unlicensed games on the market competing.

I think the best point this article made that hasn't been covered in other threads here already is why this extension is so valuable to the NFL. Worst case there's no NFL next season. The value of the license is greatly diminished in the face of a post-lockout NFL world. It would be harder to demand as much either for an exclusive or non-exclusive license. This is a good point and I don't think it was brought up in the other thread about the extension.

Now worst case we miss or have a shortened season, things recover, and the NFL is likely in a stronger position than it would have been to command a renewal of it's current or similar licensing arrangement as long as EA is still willing to go along. As much speculation and wishful thinking to the contrary about them bowing out, I doubt they'll spare much expense to ensure they remain the lone official game of the NFL... would love to see a link or story that has anything substantiated that EA is wavering or would consider dropping it.
 
# 11 GiantBlue76 @ 02/20/11 12:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickey1331
Completion doesnít always make anything better. What about NBA Live/Elite? Gone. Or NHL 2K? 2011 version didnít come out for PS3/Xbox 360. Most PS3 users buy The show or Xbox users buy a PS3 so they donít have to play MLB 2K. Like I said competition doesnít mean anything.
Actually it does. The reason why you had games that came out and pushed the envelope as much as they did was because they were trying to ferociously out do their competing products. NHL, FIFA, NBA2k and The Show all pushed their games to the limit in order to take the market share from their competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mestevo
I am not sure if you're being serious or sarcastic here? While the license is surely a significant portion of the overall cost of the game, you do realize that almost all of the play movement is derived from motion capture (I think this year they were able to build a 40yd dash in the studio for the new locomotion stuff?) rather than animators. You haven't seen any of the setups they put together at a couple of the big events to get player/coach photos/3d scans? Have you ever seen a Madden commercial? All of these things are just small parts of the many things that go into Madden... This is not a cheap or simple game to make or there would be many unlicensed games on the market competing.

I think the best point this article made that hasn't been covered in other threads here already is why this extension is so valuable to the NFL. Worst case there's no NFL next season. The value of the license is greatly diminished in the face of a post-lockout NFL world. It would be harder to demand as much either for an exclusive or non-exclusive license. This is a good point and I don't think it was brought up in the other thread about the extension.

Now worst case we miss or have a shortened season, things recover, and the NFL is likely in a stronger position than it would have been to command a renewal of it's current or similar licensing arrangement as long as EA is still willing to go along. As much speculation and wishful thinking to the contrary about them bowing out, I doubt they'll spare much expense to ensure they remain the lone official game of the NFL... would love to see a link or story that has anything substantiated that EA is wavering or would consider dropping it.
No, I'm not being sarcastic. So you really think EA is going to SPEND more on the game now that they got a break from the NFL? The NFL exclusive is already putting a massive hole in EA's pocketbook. They are not going to change anything as to how they invest in it. Their mocap studio has been around for a long time. The team size is still the same, and they haven't changed their process.
 
# 12 BearClaw @ 02/20/11 01:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickey1331
Completion doesnít always make anything better. What about NBA Live/Elite? Gone. Or NHL 2K? 2011 version didnít come out for PS3/Xbox 360. Most PS3 users buy The show or Xbox users buy a PS3 so they donít have to play MLB 2K. Like I said competition doesnít mean anything.
I hope you were joking. All of your examples just show how competition improves products. NBA 2K11 pushed the envelope to the point where EA couldn't compete and had to back out. Same goes for NHL 11, it was head and shoulders above 2k, so 2k had to take the year off. And you'd have to be crazy to think MLB The Show didn't force 2K to step up it's game from 2k9 to 2k10.
 
# 13 kjcheezhead @ 02/20/11 02:09 PM
The last part is something I've pointed out myself as well as many others have. 2k has recently approached the NFL about obtaining a license, but no one has ever said it was an exclusive one. Without Activision, 2k simply doesn't have the funds to outbid EA and I doubt Activision is really interested in reviving a long dead football department anyways.

EA will be able to negotiate the next deal for a fraction of what they have been paying. The NFL and gamers maybe banking on new consoles to keep leverage on EA, but no one knows when these new consoles will actually be made, both companies deny any type of new console even in the planning stages yet. Then, even when they are created EA may just port the latest Madden over to the new consoles and get a huge jump on a potential competitor.

As for the millions saved this year, that won't be going into development cost for madden 12, it will be pocketed for investors. EA has been laying off people and cutting corners where ever it can. They aren't going to pour additional money into this game right now, even if they have it.
 
# 14 GiantBlue76 @ 02/20/11 02:10 PM
The article is spot on correct in it's conclusion at the end. The NFL has basically hurt themselves. EA is eventually going to realize that the price for the exclusive is too high and not worth it. Since all other companies have been eliminated from making NFL games, the cost to create a new game would be astronomical, and not something many companies would be able to do. They have no code to reuse or build on. This puts EA in the drivers seat. IF EA decides the NFL license is too expensive, they can dictate to the NFL what they want to pay for it. So now the NFL has a choice. They can pay what EA thinks is fair, or they can open it up to multiple companies. Most other companies don't have the cash now to start up a new football game. This will end up benefitting EA more than anything. At this point, I think everyone just needs to accept that there won't be any more football games other than Madden representing the NFL.
 
# 15 Cryolemon @ 02/20/11 04:15 PM
The thing is, the lack of a license isn't why games like Backbreaker and 2k8 haven't sold well. It's certainly a factor, but it's not the only factor. 2k8 lacked much in the way of customization, despite what they claimed. Added to that, the legends gimmick didn't work at all, and the lack of a franchise mode really didn't help.

Backbreaker had much better customization, but lacked a lot in the way of "real football", Yeah, the physics was good, but that can only go so far. Especially when you consider the "arcade-y" nature of the player models, the vanilla playbook, AI which wasn't great and a rather divisive camera. Bacbreaker was a good start, but it remains to be seen if we'll get a BB2 (I think we will, but not soon).

As I've said before (quite often, actually) I see no reason at all why an unlicensed game can't sell well enough to be released every year. It just has to be done in the right way. Of course there are any number of opinions about what that way should be. My opinion is that as long as you have a game which plays as well or better than Madden, and allows you to recreate the NFL (maybe even if not online) it will do well enough to survive.

Ideally for me personally such a game would go further than letting you recreate the NFL, but I appreciate that: 1) that isn't everyone's opinion, 2) it would likely make the game take a long time to develop and 3) the more complex a game the harder it is to debug effectively.
 
# 16 mestevo @ 02/20/11 04:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
No, I'm not being sarcastic. So you really think EA is going to SPEND more on the game now that they got a break from the NFL? The NFL exclusive is already putting a massive hole in EA's pocketbook. They are not going to change anything as to how they invest in it. Their mocap studio has been around for a long time. The team size is still the same, and they haven't changed their process.
That's not what you said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
Yeah, Creep. Sorry to burst your bubble, but EA's investment in Madden is the cash it shells out for the exclusive. They don't invest in the game much at all as the final product over the last 6 years has shown.
Their mocap studio has been around for a while, but the 40yd dash addition to it allowing them to model some of the different forms of locomotion was just one recent example of them continuing to spend money to improve the products.

Some of you apparently think that EA will make the same amount even if there's no labor deal and there's no NFL season, you are missing the point in the concession that was made on this years fees.
 
# 17 mestevo @ 02/20/11 05:06 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCreep
@mestavo. True indeed. I think the major thing with the 40yd dash addition was the change in running animations not really locomotion. However, now that I think about it and after your statement I suppose it is used for loco also. Look at 09s running animations up through 11. Major difference. Leagues better.

I dont know what they'll do, but it would be great if they used SOME of the money for something new.
There is no extra money if there's no NFL season, that's why the deal was amended. It will be harder to market and advertise the game if the product is emulating is not being played so the NFL cut them a break.

This deal is simply lockout insurance for EA. The ROI threshold is lower if licensing fees are lower for this season. The NFL then gets the added benefit of the deal for another year, rather than renegotiating it coming off of a year that no football was played.

If there is a NFL season (man, there better be) then it's gravy for EA. By the time that's figured out, there won't be time (even if a deal was cut today this is probably true) to suddenly pump millions more into Madden 12.
 
# 18 pietasterp @ 02/20/11 08:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thundergatti
I just have to question the assumption you made that no one else would be willing to invest in the license. Its the National Football League, and the game has demonstrated its profitability over time.
Yeah, that's legitimate...I was making a lot of assumptions about the nature of the deal and the financials invovled, and of course I'm just guessing since I have no intimate knowledge of how everything was structured or how the parties are faring from the exclusivity deals. And to clarify, I think that the "Madden NFL" game has demonstrated profitability over time; not sure that would hold true for any other "non-Madden" football game, NFL-licensed or not (sadly...).

Conceptually, though, I think game companies are moving away from licensed products and trying to create their own IP's so that they can keep all of the cake and not have to share. There are few sports games that generate enough revenue for their development/marketing and the costs associated with the license (exclusive or not) to be worth it, and I'd say that short list is probably NFL and maybe NBA and FIFA (only because that's the worldwide version of the NFL license). T2 cannot wait for the MLB exclusive license to end fast enough, and they clearly have been disappointed by the revenue streams generated by that deal (which never made sense to me in the first place, given that it had a huge gaping hole for 1st-party development...in essense, they paid for exclusivity and didn't even get an exclusive license).

Given the huge amounts of money it would take to get a development team together and start a new football franchise from scratch, which everyone except EA would have to do at this point, and without the pop culture cache that the name "Madden" has to guarantee a certain number of sales (the significant percentage of people who buy that game every year because that's just what they do...), the sums of money the NFL would expect for exclusivity would likely be prohibitive to any other company. In addition, it would likely take at least a few years, even if the hypothetical new non-Madden NFL game were mind-bogglingly awesome, to develop and audience just because they don't have that Madden name on the box (unfortunately, our OS fiefdom doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the overall game industry numbers...). That leaves just EA as a serious bidder for the license, and at that point they are telling the NFL how much they are willing to pay, not vice versa. We are already seeing evidence of who wears the pants in this arrangement with this latest announcement, which is the closest thing to genuflecting that the NFL ever does with any of its licensing partners.

At this point, even if the NFL offered the exclusive license to another non-EA company at half the price of what the EA deal is worth, I'm still not sure it would make sense for another company to bite. If I were an investor in Activision or T2 or Disney or whoever, I would certainly not be thrilled to see them bid on the license; no matter the quality of the game, if it doesn't say "Madden" on the box it's automatically at a severe disadvantage. That's the evil empire EA and Madden have become.
 
# 19 GiantBlue76 @ 02/20/11 09:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mestevo
That's not what you said.



Their mocap studio has been around for a while, but the 40yd dash addition to it allowing them to model some of the different forms of locomotion was just one recent example of them continuing to spend money to improve the products.

Some of you apparently think that EA will make the same amount even if there's no labor deal and there's no NFL season, you are missing the point in the concession that was made on this years fees.
Yes, actually it is what I said. You're attempting to justify 7 years of failed innovation in your post by blaming it on income. This is the best selling sports game in history and the ONLY NFL game. They have yet to make Madden on this gen that has even caught up to the last gen football games. There is no excuse you could give me in the world to justify that. Not only that, but the games have gotten more and more expensive.

The fact is this, madden 11 is a decent game. I'd give it about a 7.5. Compared to the rest of today's sports games, it gets about a 3. All of the other genre's have pushed the envelope and really come out with some incredible works. Football gaming has sunk into the gutter as the worst of all of the sports genres. The first step in correcting a problem is realizing that you have one. The problem with success is it has bred arrogance, and the feeling that they don't need to fix anything. Even consumers who purchase Madden every year are at the point where they are frustrated but they know this is their only NFL game. EA banks on that for older gamers. Newer gamers have never experienced any other games, so they are looking for a pick up and play game. EA can give them that, with little investment in innovation. If you have ever worked in software, innovation is a double edged sword. Innovation costs you money, but it can also be your biggest money maker. When you are not competing against anyone else, there is no incentive to innovate, because it's not worth the money. You are going to get the sale anyway.
 
# 20 roadman @ 02/20/11 09:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdevil20
Yes, actually it is what I said. You're attempting to justify 7 years of failed innovation in your post by blaming it on income. This is the best selling sports game in history and the ONLY NFL game. They have yet to make Madden on this gen that has even caught up to the last gen football games. There is no excuse you could give me in the world to justify that. Not only that, but the games have gotten more and more expensive.

The fact is this, madden 11 is a decent game. I'd give it about a 7.5. Compared to the rest of today's sports games, it gets about a 3. All of the other genre's have pushed the envelope and really come out with some incredible works. Football gaming has sunk into the gutter as the worst of all of the sports genres. The first step in correcting a problem is realizing that you have one. The problem with success is it has bred arrogance, and the feeling that they don't need to fix anything. Even consumers who purchase Madden every year are at the point where they are frustrated but they know this is their only NFL game. EA banks on that for older gamers. Newer gamers have never experienced any other games, so they are looking for a pick up and play game. EA can give them that, with little investment in innovation. If you have ever worked in software, innovation is a double edged sword. Innovation costs you money, but it can also be your biggest money maker. When you are not competing against anyone else, there is no incentive to innovate, because it's not worth the money. You are going to get the sale anyway.
I'll just add to this.

It's also riskier to innovate if:

a) It's not received well by the public. You can go back to the cone passing on that one or weapons.

b) The innovation isn't integrated properly with the game.
 

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