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How John Madden became the biggest name in video games

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The football coach and announcer has been the face of Madden NFL for more than three decades. The professional football video game continues to be one of the best-selling and is among the most successful franchises in history.

The video game began in 1988 when Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins wanted a football video game. He wanted Joe Montana to face him, but the former 49ers quarterback turned him down because of a previous support deal with Atari, he said. ESPN.

Originally released on the Apple II, the game ran into problems due to its weak operating system which limited the number of players present on the screen. After Madden’s signing, the famous station immediately set to work, demanding that programmers change the 7-on-7 format to a “real” 11-on-11 football.

“John Madden Football” was its original title for the first five years before the NFL added its name to it in 1993, allowing EA to use team names and logos. It was the first version to include the slogan “EA Sports – It’s in the game”.

The video game finally stopped showing Madden’s face on the cover in 2000 and focused on popular NFL players. Madden’s voice was still prominent in the game.

Madden told Grantland in 2012 that he didn’t think about the legacy he left in the video game. “It’s a way for people to learn the game and get involved in the game on a pretty sophisticated level.” said Madden.

The popularity of the game grew, as did the number of consoles available for it, including a Sony PlayStation compatible version, which was released in 1996. In 2001, the game was on all major consoles such as the XBox and GameCube. In 2005, it became the exclusive NFL-owned video game, surpassing a similar ESPN game.

“Madden NFL” is a multimillion-dollar franchise for EA. The publisher has sold more than 130 million copies of the life of the Madden games to date, generating at least more than $ 4 billion in total revenue, according to NPD. Barron’s Madden’s annual revenue for the EA franchise is estimated at more than $ 600 million.
In 2020, the NFL and its players’ union have agreed to a five-year extension to continue appearing in the games. according to Bleacher Report. The deal provides $ 1 billion to the NFL and $ 500 million to players during that time, with another $ 500 million in marketing commitments.

In a statement released by EA, the company said it lost a “hero”.

“John Madden has been synonymous with the sport of football for over 50 years. His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for him and his gratitude to everyone who ever stepped on the grid. humble champion, a willing teacher, and forever a coach, “EA said in a statement on Twitter.

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