By Jared Newman | Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 8:18 pm
John Madden may have stunned the sports world today by announcing his retirement from broadcasting, but football video game fans shouldn’t be surprised that the Madden game franchise is staying put.
Speaking to Gamasutra, EA Sports spokesman David Tinson said the company has a “long-term contract” with Madden.
Tinson didn’t elaborate, but EA Sports President Peter Moore posted some thoughts to his blog: “We all obviously knew this day would one day come, when John would walk away from the booth, but he certainly leaves a lasting legacy that we’re proud to be able to carry on through our Madden NFL videogame franchise for years to come,” Moore said.
Madden took a backseat role in last year’s game, in which Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth handled broadcasting. It was the first time Madden didn’t provide color commentary.
I wonder for how long Madden will continue to be the face of EA Sports’ golden franchise. At first, I figured his name will eventually fade from popularity, and EA will want to move on, probably when the contract runs out.
On the other hand, we could see an interesting phenomenon in which the video game keeps the Madden name alive. A brand that sells 70 million copies in its lifetime doesn’t fade away so easily, and no other video game franchise has become so synonymous with its genre. (It helps that EA holds exclusive rights to use real-life players, stadiums and teams in its games, effectively locking out any competition, but that’s beside the point.)
This could certainly be the first time that a video game keeps a sports icon in the limelight, long after his retirement.