02 Jul 2021 7:16 PM +00:00

Madden 22's next gen focus could leave players behind

Madden 22 is just over a month away from this year's release date, and next gen looks like it'll carry the game into a whole new era.

However, the heavy focus on next gen could leave some behind, so what is Madden 22 going to look like for players on PS4, Xbox One, and PC?

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Madden 22 is brimming with next gen exclusives

Madden 22 is targeting a release date on August 20 with pre orders available now, and it'll be a big day as the series step into the future with the first simultaneous release on both current gen and next gen platforms.

Madden 21 was released just before next gen consoles launched, and because of that the next gen version of the game didn't arrive until nearly four months after the game was available for current gen.

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TO THE FUTURE: Next gen Madden 22 is ready to start a new era

That's not going to be the case this year, as EA Sports has had a full development cycle to turn their attention to the capabilities of next gen software and pour that power into Madden 22.

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The biggest way they're doing this is with Dynamic Gameday, a multi-faceted new feature that aims to make Madden 22 better than ever before by bringing the crowd and the feel of a real-world game into the virtual world like never before.

Dynamic Gameday is already garnering significant buzz, especially as details come out about the home field advantage mechanic and how each team's stadium benefits them in Madden 22.

Dynamic Gameday affects nearly every facet of Madden 22

Dynamic Gameday is made up of three core components: Gameday Momentum, Gameday Atmosphere, and Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI.

Gameday Momentum is definitely the most exciting aspect of the three, as the game will now have a new Momentum Meter with perks known as M-Factors or Momentum Factors.

As you make big plays and succeed in a game, it will help swing the momentum in your team's favor, giving you particular benefits on either side of the ball.

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LINC'D IN: The Eagles get their own unique bonus while at home

It's worth noting that the home field advantage won't factor in when you're playing on a neutral field, including the Super Bowl in Franchise or in a MCS stadium on the Competitive Ladder, and the M-Factors are customized between each match and game mode.

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Gameday Atmosphere is really all about presentation with upgrades to the crowd itself, and the ways sideline players and staff react to plays, but unique Gameday Conditions have also added that cause environment-based game modifiers to affect both teams.

Finally, Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI carries on a feature introduced last year by using real-world performance to inform the way AI operates on both a player and a team level in Madden 22.

PS4, Xbox One, and PC players are still the majority

Unfortunately, all of these exciting next gen exclusives come with an underlying issue in that a massive chunk of the Madden 22 player base hasn't yet moved to next gen.

Due to a combination of economic and production issues, both exacerbated severely by the global pandemic, many players either can't find the next gen console they want in stock or simply can't afford to upgrade yet.

It makes sense for the industry to eventually move on, that's what happens every time new consoles replace a previous generation, but the importance of how much this transition is still happening can't be understated.

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LEFT BEHIND: Current gen gamers may be disappointed this year

While exact numbers are kept close to the vest by Sony and Microsoft, we do have an idea of how many next gen consoles have been sold to date.

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According to a report by Finbold from just a few weeks ago, the PS5 has sold upwards of 8.6 million consoles, while the Xbox Series X|S is lagging behind with just 5.12 million consoles sold.

By comparison, an analysis of all-time console sales by VGChartz shows that the PS4 has sold 115.74 million consoles and the Xbox One sold 50.17 million units.

Even with some discrepancies from lapsed users and the few who might've bought more than one over the years, current gen consoles still dominate upwards of 80% of the console gaming market.

On top of that, those numbers don't even begin to factor in the PC gaming market, which has been lumped into current gen despite most modern gaming PCs having comparable or better performance capabilities than even next gen consoles.

Current gen could be getting left behind by Madden 22

With so much attention and development poured into these next gen exclusive features, there could be trouble on the horizon if current gen players get left in the dust.

While there are upgrades coming to the current gen version of the game as well, they don't feel as much like new features as they do general polishing.

Franchise Mode is getting a significant amount of attention this year thanks to the #FixMaddenFranchise movement, and EA Sports appears to be moving in the right direction with upgrades like Staff Management and Weekly Strategy.

However, others like the highly anticipated Scouting upgrade won't be available at launch, and players will be forced to restart their Franchise save after the scouting update is released in order to enjoy that upgrade.

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FRANCHISE MODE: EA Sports made a series of changes this year

Core Gameplay is also getting attention this year, with particular detail going into the way player movement operates in the game including routes, catching, tackling, and blocking.

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Playbooks are also getting updated, and they're focusing on making sure this year's playbooks are as accurate as possible based on play tendencies at the close of last year's NFL season, especially for teams that got a new staff.

These are all positive changes, but they feel closer to the kind of improvement that expected, rather than anything truly groundbreaking for players on current gen platforms.

If you're still on PS4, Xbox One, or PC, you'll just have to let your buddy who has a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S tell you how Dynamic Gameday and all those new features are in Madden 22, and hopefully the Franchise and gameplay improvements are enough for you.