I would not consider myself to be a gamer in the traditional sense of the word, but there are certain games that if I have an opportunity to play, I will definitely jump on it. At the top of that list is Madden, the NFL game franchise that has captivated millions and caused countless romantic breakups. The game is addictive for true football fans because it takes you inside of the intellectual side of the sport while allowing you to be right in the middle of its barbaric nature. When the average person thinks about playing video games or the gaming industry itself, they rarely consider how lucrative the industry is. According to financial sources, such as Forbes and CNN-Money, The Madden NFL video franchise is worth a lot of money and by that we mean in the billions.
The Franchise has come a long way since its inception in the late 1980s, when Hall of Fame Football coaching legend, John Madden, spent hours drawing up plays for the video game’s founder and designer, Trip Hawkins. However, the one thing that has remained consistent is the fact that the game remains one of the top sellers each year. With the launch of Madden 30 in the books, EA Sports is looking at another record-setting year as a loyal customer and new fans come on board for another fun ride.
You sort of know you have something special when there is such a monumental discussion about what player will grace the cover of the next version of your game. If you are wondering how much this franchise is worth, allow me to fill you in. You might want to have a seat. Depending on some estimations, this video game franchise is worth an impressive $4 billion. To put this is property context, the only game that outperforms Madden on a consistent basis when it comes to annual releases is Call of Duty.
It is not surprising that Call of Duty outperforms Madden because it represents a wider audience includes sports fans and non-sports fans collectively. Madden speaks to a particular audience — exclusively to the football fan that knows and understand football from personnel to strategies. The more you understand football, the better you will do in playing this game. There are many who believe that football and surpassed baseball to become the new American pastime.
According to some industry analysts, the Madden franchise is considered easy money for EA Sports because of the loyal fanbase and the fact that the game sells extremely well on mobile platforms. The exclusivity that EA Sports enjoys does not come without a hefty price tag. It is reported that the gaming company plays the NFL and the NFL Players association $50 million to hold an exclusive game license for the league. In addition to paying these two organizations, they also pay John Madden $2 million for the rights to his name.
Estimated sales of the game are expected to surpass five million copies this year alone. There are years that the game has gotten off to slow starts like back in 2013; however, it always seems to find a way to cover through real-life events. Whenever the NFL gets exposure, good or bad, it results in a hike in game sales. Something as simple as a key trade or suspension can peak interest in the game.
Being a juggernaut in gaming does not come without challenges. In 2013, EA Sports lost a civil lawsuit and had to pay Robin Antonick, an original designer, a minimum of $11 million for royalties he was never paid based on his initial contributions to the design of the game. The ruling also opens the door for Antioch to be paid money for sales that took place after the date listed on the original documents filed with the court. Even with all these financial interferences, the franchise does not appear to be slowing in way of momentum — at least not in the near future.
EA Sports has even had to pay gamers who sued based on a monopoly the company holds on certain football arenas, including NFL, NCAA, and Arena Football. That is the price you pay for being so dominant in an industry.
Even the fact that John Madden is no longer providing color commentary for the game, has not curbed the enthusiasm surrounding the game. It looks like Madden still has teeth and will continue to be a top seller for years to come.
Written by Rick Wallace
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