If you were hoping for a non-EA NFL football game in 2014, sorry. According to "well-placed sources," Electronic Arts and the National Football League have extended their sweetheart, exclusive, BFF relationship for another year, meaning Madden will (presumably) be the only official NFL game franchise until at least 2015.
The labor problems between the NFL's owners and players present a more immediate issue, however. A league-wide labor lockout is looming for next football season, and The Madden franchise without a football season is a huge unknown. Potentially, EA could be left with a football game that doesn't have player names and likenesses. Then you have to wonder whether there will even be a Madden 2012.
Judging from reports, the NFL isn't blind to EA's plight. The league has agreed to give EA a break, and significantly reduce the publisher's contractual obligations next season. This seems to me (another) indication that the league's owners expect a lack of football next season.
“For one of our core partners in a difficult environment, we say let’s look at this, and maybe it makes some sense to extend something out longer and give our partner some relief in the short term but gain something on the back end,” said Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, chairman of the NFL’s business ventures committee.
- RATING: Madden NFL 2011 Review
A Madden-less (or reduced Madden) 2012 would likely be disastrous for EA. The company's yearly football offering is consistently among the top selling video games, so the hit EA's bottom line would take would be substantial.
The Bottom Line: Please, NFL and Players Union, get back to making football so EA can get back to making video games and I will have something to do on Sunday afternoons.
Source: Sports Business Daily