On Monday EA Sports turned to promoting Ultimate Team mode for Madden NFL 15. After months of consumers waiting on Franchise news, it was the most disconcerting development yet. Typically Ultimate Team is held for last, when the greatest number of people are seeking out information on the upcoming game, as the company attempts to draw in that more casual audience to their revenue-generating mode.
Franchise has been talked about in May and June in the past, when those paying attention are of a somewhat more hardcore crowd. Thankfully a blurb on retailer sites added some vague info on a couple new features to soften the frustration.
Clearly Ultimate Team is where EA would hope to push more consumers. But is that happening at a cost to Franchise mode? Whether it is or isn’t, that is going to be the perception if nothing noteworthy was implemented in the mode. I sought reaction to what it would mean if Franchise mode wasn’t improved significantly and the response was swift and emphatic. Read more
Electronic Arts today announced “EA Access” a new program that provides membership-style access to a back catalog of games plus the chance to play games up to five days prior to their release and get 10% off digital purchases. Both of those benefits are similar to the now discontinued Season Ticket. EA Access will go for $5 a month, or $30 for the full year, and is exclusive to the Xbox One. It’s in beta right now and will open to all soon.
â™¦EA Access membership unlocks The Vault, a collection of EAâ€™s biggest games on Xbox One ready for you to download and play. During the beta, gamers will have unlimited access to four great EA games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, with more titles being added soon. Thatâ€™s over $100 worth of games for $4.99 a month. You can play these EA favorites as much as you want with the click of a button.
â™¦Awesome Valueâ€“ Besides the great games in The Vault, EA Access members will save 10% on purchases of EA digital content for Xbox One offered through the Xbox Games Store. From full digital-download titles like the upcoming Dragon Age Inquisition or NHL 15, to additional membership services such as Battlefield 4 Premium or even FIFA Ultimate Team points, itâ€™s all 10% off for members.
â™¦Play First â€“ Membership in EA Access lets you experience trials of new EA games up to five days before the release date. It starts with Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, but more are on the way. If you decide to buy the game, your progress will carry over so you can pick up right where you left off.
Obviously this would appear to be improved value over the Season Ticket for not much more than its annual subscription cost. With the PlayStation 4 having such an advantage over the Xbox One in terms of where consumers are buying third party games – and that may be irreversible at this point – it’s a pretty huge exclusive for Microsoft to tout to those on the fence.
The next clips from the most recent Press Row Hangout involve a discussion over the importance of commentary in sports games and answering the first viewer questions. Even more of those will posted tomorrow.
Commentary is a big factor in immersion and delivering authentic television-style presentation but many complain about it and go so far as to turn it off or listen to something else when it grows tired. Is commentary an area developers should focus on more?
What consoles will lead the way in sales for Madden NFL 15, and what are the thoughts towards NBA 2K15 and NBA Live 15Â at this point when neither publisher has revealed a shred of information on the upcoming games? Read more
It’s not much, but it comes on the heels of EA Sports promoting Ultimate Team earlier today which had many wondering whether anything was improved upon in Franchise mode with Madden NFL 15. A retailer blurb related to Connected Franchise has appeared and notes a couple new features – the ability to develop players and a system for projecting “Confidence” levels on to players that fluctuates to affect their performance.
Interact and build your team with more control in Game Prep all-new to CFM. Want to develop your backup QB? Between matchups, spend extra time on him each week to earn training points without having to force him into the real games before he is ready. Also new in CFM is the Confidence rating system. Build your teams’ confidence through performance and front office transactions. Balance keeping player’s confidence up, to increase abilities and build player XP.
It’s evident that Connected Franchise will play a big role in potential purchase decisions for many this year and that will be examined in an article soon (Update: Check that out here). There’s likely more to these two features and more improvements that aren’t worthy of being in such a general overview of the mode but would this be enough for those who feel Franchise is the most important part of the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
With just four weeks until release EA Sports still has two main modes for Madden NFL 15 to discuss. Connected Franchise which has really slipped this year – typically news on that has come out in May and June – and Ultimate Team which is generally the last thing the company rolls information out on prior to release. Those concerned about Franchise will be even more so now that the company has moved on toÂ talking Ultimate Team.
A short video released today teases Ultimate Team for this year. The mode will include a new feature called “Sets” which were formerly known as “Collections” and a focus on making the mode more understandable for new players. Read more
The latest Press Row Hangout tackled a number of topics and the first two are featured in the clips below. More will be posted throughout the week and the full show audio will be featured on Friday’s Press Row Podcast.
1) Patches have allowed developers to continue working on games right up to and beyond release. But is that resulting in better games or simply ones that are left unfinished while relying on consumers to hope that fixes and improvements are made later?
2) It’s the first year with Xbox One and PS4 games releasing alongside the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. Publishers are heavily promoting the games for the former but won’t detail what might be missing from the feature set for the latter despite both being the same $60. How big a problem is this deceptive form of advertising? Read more
The Line Drive is a weekly collection of news, links, deal alerts, and updates that didnâ€™t necessarily warrant their own postings.
â™¦Make sure to get entries in for the giveaway that opened up late last week!
â™¦Price drops have held for EA Sports UFC and MLB 14: The Show at $40 each.
â™¦Madden NFL 15 blog releasedÂ going over War in the Trenches for a second time.
â™¦Madden NFL 15 blog releasedÂ going over Player Sense 2.0 for a second time.
â™¦Madden NFL 15 blog releasedÂ going over tackling mechanics for a second time.
â™¦NewÂ set of transfers have been completed for FIFA 14 Ultimate Team.
â™¦MiddleEasy conducted an interview with Brian Hayes about EA Sports UFC’s patch.
â™¦The judge approved the two video game related settlements involving EA/CLC and NCAA.
â™¦Some college football players just want an NCAA Football video game to return.
â™¦Details on the latest build update for the PC version of The Golf Club.
â™¦HB Studios released a blog on the updates to wind for The Golf Club.
â™¦Microsoft has started to list the cars that will be included in Forza Horizon 2.
â™¦The NFL released data on the top selling jerseys in the league.
â™¦The rumored $1 billion acquisition of Twitch by Youtube is now reportedly complete.
News and content that may have been missed from the last week around the site.
â™¦Blu-ray/DVD Releases This Week. Headlined by Noah and The Other Woman.
â™¦First Look at Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Image released at Comic-Con Panel.
â™¦Trailer for The Walking Dead Season Five. New season starts on October 12.
â™¦Trailer for Arrow Season Three. New season starts on October 8.
â™¦Trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. FirstÂ trailer was released during Comic-Con.
â™¦Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Gets Release Date. James Gunn returns to write and direct.
EA Sports today released a breakdown of theÂ specific improvements to gameplay that will appeal more to the hardcore crowd in Madden NFL 15. A lot of this was discussed in the recent live stream but it’s nice to have it laid out in this manner as well.
At the very least the company is demonstrating that they understand balance, realism, and options matter even if casuals have no idea they are there or ever take advantage of them. How effective it all isÂ remains in question but that’s a good sign. The new features and adjustments attempt to address some of the long-running problems with Madden and offer counters to various tactics opponents might employ.Â Read more