After generating record sales in 2006, EA Sports Madden franchise has faced a downturn. Last years Madden 2010 experienced a 16% downturn from the year before, selling only 2 million copies and dropping out of the top ten in video game sales for the first time in many years.
That being said, 2 million is a solid number. And judging by the line at GameStop waiting for Madden 2011
last night just before midnight, there are going to be plenty of people purchasing the game this year. Guys of several generations were on hand…from ten year olds to men in their fifties, and all of them wanted to get home to play the new version of the game.
There are great stories of reduced American productivity because of the Madden game. The scene from the underrated movie “Runaway Jury,” in which John Cusack’s character, Nicholas Easter, says he wants to get out of Jury duty for a Madden tournament. The Rams had a cornerback a few years ago named Dwight Anderson, who stayed up to get the new game, went home and played it until the wee hours, and then iddn’t show up for work the next day. He was quickly released.
It’s an amazing American phenomenon. And I can tell you from my standpoint, Madden REALLY helps kids learn football. They learn schemes, they learn ideas, they learn the results of gambling on certain plays, and they learn the players. It’s a good thing for America’s youth that EA Sports and John Madden developed the concept in 1986 and turned out the first version of the game in 1989.
Here’s one more thing that I think has happened…and we’re seeing results with guys like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Marc Sanchez. Back at the beginning of the war in Iraq, many observers of fighter pilots, and fighter pilots themselves, credited playing video games as kids for their excellent flying ability. That simulation had essentially allowed kids to do what pilots were doing from the time they were six or seven years old…just without the plane. That realistic experience helped when they got into the cockpit.
I believe that Madden has done the same thing with quarterbacks. Kids have to watch defensive tendencies. They get to watch what a safety does pre-snap, and see where the rush is coming from. They also get an opportunity to watch a receiver come open quickly and get him the ball. Mentally, it’s like running a play against a defense, just without the defense. I’m convinced that kids are conditioned to playing the position, and seeing things unfold in front of them, because they see what happens in the realistic Madden game.
Oh, by the way, it’s great for adults, too. Have fun with it.