What Can Be Learned From Madden

Madden Ultimate Team: fantasy football, but with a twist.

By King, Posted 23 Jan 2010

A few years ago, I can remember Madden's brother franchise, NCAA Football, using the phrase “Lead by Example” in marketing to showcase a new gameplay feature being implemented that in that year's edition. Now in a world full of DLC, Madden is coming through and setting an example that other game developers should follow. Despite the nagging complaints that have hampered the series over recent releases about how the games are just roster updates without any worthy changes, or that EA doesn't care about the fans, a patch made available for download on January 7, 2010 changed the perspective we have on DLC.

Madden Ultimate Team functions kind of like fantasy football, but with a twist. You'll start out with a pack of cards featuring some fairly mediocre players. As you play some games with this team (either against the CPU or a real online opponent Head-to-Head) you will earn more points (or use real life money if you're impatient) which can be used to buy another pack of cards. You can buy Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, with each rank featuring better players, but also costing a higher price. You use these players to fill out your roster en route to build your “Ultimate Team”. The customization is endless as you also collect cards of coaches, uniforms, and playbooks to make the team your own.

You also can bid on or auction off cards. If you own a rare 2000 Ray Lewis card you may be able to sell it off for a good deal of points. Or you may see a 2010 Charles Woodson card that you're dieing to make a piece of your secondary, so you can compete against UMBlue_21 to see who's willing to go higher for this card. Collectors are sure to love this feature, and the rare, legendary cards are a great way to make your team feel unique if you're ever able to get your hands on a copy.

Oh and did I mention this new feature is completely free? Unless you want to buy card packs out of your own pocket, you won't spend a dime getting the Ultimate Team DLC. Five months after the release of Madden 10, EA went out and still supported the title, even though it had already sold an outrageous number of copies. Most companies would put this out and charge $10 to $15 for something like this. Even something small, like a character design that was supposed to already be in the game, would be added on later for a quick buck. We also saw Criterion Games and EA give this kind of post-release support to Burnout Paradise, and we salute those companies who are using DLC to benefit the gamer, not rip them off.

It's amazing how much Ultimate Team has to offer. Although it's a bit raw, the core package here is a separate game mode in itself. I wasn't expecting this from someone who just put out 3-on-3 NHL Arcade for $10 just a year ago. Adding something like this helps give the gamers who already purchased Madden 10 a reason to pop it in again, and also might sway some who had been on the fence and not yet picked up a copy. I think every user on my PSN friends list who owns Madden 10 has played the game some more since this patch was released, and some of these guys hadn't picked the game up in two or three months.

Now I'm not saying all DLC you have to pay for is horrible. We'll look at Fallout 3 for example. Five affordable add-ons have been released, and each of them adds something new to the game that makes you want to play more. Optional DLC that rejuvenates games is a great idea, but it's when companies abuse it that upsets me. Some games have went as far as taking original content out of the game and adding it a few weeks after release for a price. If in five months or so when the Call of Duty community is getting tired of the current maps, I would have no problem at all with Infinity Ward creating some new Modern Warfare 2 maps and putting a pack up for $10 on the Xbox Marketplace and PSN Store. But if one or two months after release you're already seeing maps covering the DLC landscape it feels like you're being ripped off.

EA Sports' Madden still doesn't have the highest credibility, (anyone who buys out a license to prevent others from making a game looks bad) but the handling of the Ultimate Team DLC is gaining them some respect. Sure their guilty of abusing downloadable content, too, with all of those boosters available for $.99, but the fact that they stepped up and did something like this and charged absolutely nothing for it is awesome and something other game developers can learn from.

Logan Smithson, NoobFeed

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  • While I have not owned a copy of madden since 2008 (the one with vince young on the cover I think) this sounds pretty good. I agree with the points you made about some people abusing downloadable content and I think what ea has done is good. Very nicely written I look forward to more.

    Posted Jan 24, 2010

  • Sounds pretty cool, I'm sure it will be pretty popular with the Madden fans and fantasy football fans.

    Posted Jan 24, 2010

  • EA hasn't been on their best pick for last few years. But at least they introduced Madden Ultimate Team to hold on to something. I like the idea of this DLC. Though I doubt I'll ever play any madden game. Few very good points you made about the DLC. I completely agree with you.

    Posted Jan 24, 2010

  • I agree with you Logan. Devs should take a lesson from it. At least they should not release DLC contents which are pretty much worthless for the price you are paying as you mentioned abusing DLC contents!!

    Posted Jan 24, 2010

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Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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