Though there is reason for optimism with EA Sports’ next-gen offerings considering the feature parity with the 360/PS3 versions and the introduction of the Ignite Engine, one factor that hadn’t really been considered until recently was whether the response to the current-gen games would affect at all the expectations for the Xbox One/PS4 versions. Would strong word of mouth lead to more excitement for the games that are now about two months away? What would happen if the they were to be deemed disappointments by many?
That was the focus of the poll posted during Madden NFL 25′s release week gauging whether expectations for the One/PS4 version had been altered by playing the 360/PS3 game. Of the over 4300 respondents 42% now have lower expectations for the next-gen release in November. 32% are approaching it with the same expectations while 26% are anticipating it even more now. That is basically in line with the results of the poll on whether the current-gen game met expectations. 50% said it did not, 38% went with met expectations, and just 12% believed it exceeded theirs.
With sales down sharply for Madden NFL 25, one reason (not the only one) being those who may be waiting to buy on next-gen instead, this has to be a concern for EA. They’re not going to make up the losses on current-gen with the gains from next-gen. However they can’t afford to bleed even more potential buyers and that may have happened by letting down those who have bought the game that is out right now. The chances that those people would buy essentially the same game, with two thirds of the NFL season already done, could have been harmed. They might have to rely even more heavily on the Xbox 360 to Xbox One deal to push some over the edge to where they don’t feel there is much of any risk to the move.
Does that mean people are going to cancel their plans to pick up Madden as a launch title for the new consoles? Not necessarily and especially not right now. Lower expectations could even make it easier for EA to impress with news and footage. They’ll have ample opportunity to show off what makes the next-gen version worth buying. What it does is add some more skepticism into the mix – with how the last generation transition went there’s plenty of that already – making it potentially harder for the company to be convincing in their claims.