Happy Madden Holiday!
In case you don’t know Madden Holiday is the day of the year when the newest version of Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) flagship Madden football franchise is released. Many Gamestop (NYSE: GME) stores were open at midnight so eager gamers/devotees could be the first to play it. Even the city of Newark, NJ has officially recognized it with an event next weekend.
EA is counting on continued success for the 21st iteration of their $2 billion franchise. The company posted a first quarter loss of $234 million and has put an estimated $40 million behind marketing the game (which includes this cool banner ad on top of every YouTube page) responsible for over 5% of EA's annual revenue. Presales are slightly up year over year according to EA, which is impressive considering videogame sales have been sliding the past 5 months and ended down almost 30% in July.
The biggest innovation in this year’s Madden is the ability to play out a complete season in franchise mode online via Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox LIVE and Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) Playstation Network and even manage your team via an app for Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone.
As a former Madden junkie, this version of the game certainly seems better to me than previous builds for the “next-gen” systems and I may even pick it up. My current opinion is that the series peaked in 2004 when Michael Vick was on the cover, but hey, I’m always willing to give Madden another chance.
Speaking of Michael Vick and second chances, I’m curious to see if any of the Eagles’ sponsors abandon the team thanks to Vick signing there. I’m also curious how the fans will receive him, considering this is the same group of people who famously booed Santa Claus.