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Madden

15 Jan 2021

Madden 21: Nickelodeon tie-in with Spongebob gets mixed reviews unlike TV Coverage

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What changed in Madden 21?

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The Reaction

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Tone Deaf?

The NFL shocked fans by announcing a Spongebob crossover, culminating in a Nickelodeon broadcast of the Saints v Bears game at the weekend.

This was aimed at getting younger fans into the game with simplified commentating and some extra TV magic such as slime on touchdowns.

It got a great reaction from parents and kids alike.

The tie-up was also added to Madden 21. But this didn't quite get the same reaction.

What changed in Madden 21?

The updates are focused on The Yard game mode.

COLOURFUL: If you play The Yard this is a freshener
COLOURFUL: If you play The Yard this is a freshener

Loads of new outfits to unlock and play in, as well as a new Spongebob themed field.

It will be arcade-style play and mostly aimed at kids.

The Reaction

It was a shock to a lot of EA players.

The NFL coverage was publicized as a Nickelodeon tie-in rather than a direct Spongebob link, but EA used the character heavily.

This left a lot of fans wondering what it was all about, especially if they hadn't heard about the NFL tie-in either.

To get a quick reaction you can read the replies to any tweet on the Madden 21 official account and get a feel for how it's gone down:

NOT HAPPY: The messages haven't changed
NOT HAPPY: The messages haven't changed

The TV side of the tie-in was clearly aimed at getting more kids into the sport. And because it was on the kids' show, they knew their target audience.

Madden 21 is a little different. The demographics of Madden 21 are not the same as Nickelodeon.

It's not clear whether EA had a legal obligation to support the tie-in.

And to be fair to them, they have limited it to one game-mode and there are some younger fans who will love it.

Tone Deaf?

But that doesn't stop Madden players from getting angry.

They see the development time that went into these things as being a complete waste and taking away from fixing the basic bugs that have plagued the game since September.

In the same week, as this update went live, Franchises were locked out for extended periods with the PC versions taking several days to resolve.

Adding content that doesn't fit your core audience, whilst having bugs and no updates on content that does fit them - is a sure-fire way of upsetting your long-term customers.

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