EA’s Madden NFL has been the flagship and premiere franchise for the football genre for some time. Many franchises like NFL Blitz or NFL2K have tried to find their footing, but eventually fail to the king. That does not mean Madden is without faults. With AAA-publisher Electronic Arts quite possibly out on its feet, it seems two more worthy opponents may be on the horizon.
Get Ready Madden, A Challenger Approaches
Possibly the biggest wig in the wrestling industry, Vince McMahon, announced the rebirth of the XFL. Seemingly a direct jab at the NFL, EA has cause to worry as Vince’s endeavors are no stranger to the video industry. His primary ambitions, the WWE, has brought him incredible wealth. For as long as I’ve been alive, that very company has thrown its hat in the ring with a video game counterpart. Since about 1989, Vince’s wrestling entertainment company has had a video game for nearly every year it has been in business. Not all them were great and no doubt some were probably outright terrible.
Despite this, WWE still gives rights and licenses to feature its product in video game glory. Even with changing developers at least 4 to 6 times over the years and a new publisher since the death of the original THQ, WWE clearly see the merit in a video game release. One can only assume that same value will tag along with Mr. McMahon into the XFL. Although slated until 2020, the XFL’s successful relaunch will likely be followed by a video game counterpart.
A Likely Suitor
If Vince really enjoys business competition and has any loyalty to current partnerships in the game industry, its likely that the XFL rights and permissions will fall to Take-Two Interactive, the publisher behind the WWE 2K series. While neither publisher did very well last year in the Metacritic Game Publisher Rankings for 2017, it’ll likely be the evil you know versus the evil you don’t if left up to choice.
Both publisher’s relied on pre-established franchise installments to line its releases of last year and took major bumps in the rankings for it. However, Take-Two took less and is known to pop on and off the major publishers chart. Their consistency will make XFL 2K21 more of possibility than McMahon XFL 2021. And with Take-Two back in the mix of the football game genre, a determined Vince (who will get his way Take-Two or not), Madden may very well be fighting for its crown in two years time.
The Wildcard Favorite
There seems to be a new challenger to the Madden crown. Charlie Ebersol plans to bring in his own league ahead of Vince’s 2020 launch. Ebersol is the son of Vince’s former XFL partner and director of “This was the XFL.” Ebersol is said to be backed by former major names in the NFL. This includes former NFL general manager, Bill Polian and former Pro Bowl Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
Like Vince, Ebersol sees the value in stylized broadcasting and marketing. This will likely include understanding the merit behind having it’s own video game. Depending on the shape Ebersol’s Alliance of American Football takes, a video game will likely follow its success the following year. Ebersol plans to launch ahead of the XFL giving the AAF a significant head start. This also means a video game is likely to follower sooner. The big question is who the AAF would have developing their games. If Ebersol is a direct line of competition to the XFL, then its safe to assume Take-Two will be keeping their hands off.
It is possible that the AAF may not choose a major developer. Ebersol and the AAF could find success with a small time developer like Spike Chunsoft who may very well run the PC wrestling world. If not EA, then AAF could go to other major publishers like Activision. Either way, it’s dukes up EA.
Bringing Down Madden NFL
It’s not likely that one game will be enough to bring down sports giant EA Sports. Madden is a cornerstone franchise with a huge eSports community. However, with two new points of competition and EA’s reputation as of late, time will tell if Madden can hold on to its crown. No doubt the game will continue to be popular. The XFL and AAF aren’t likely to take down Madden within their first two launches. With enough iterations and successful releases, the market could very well be split leaving Madden at not so favorable odds.
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