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Talking about building from scratch. Some people in the development community criticize Madden for not necessarily evolving and then the team comes back and says, "No, we build it up from scratch each time." To me though, that seems crazy.
PM: To be clear, I have never heard somebody say we build from scratch, because that's not true. That would be crazy. You know, "throw away all the code!" No. There's a core engine, there is a lot of digital art.
We are going to use going to use Candlestick Park from last year. Unless there's fundamental structural changes, of course we reuse art. You're constantly tweaking your character models but, yeah I'm sure the team has never said we build from scratch.
It's probably a question of semantics, then.
PM: Yeah, I mean there's a lot of new features go in that cost millions of dollars. What we're doing with Pro-Tak this year is new physics, which is a core part of the engine. But I'm sure they've never said that. We do not. I mean it would be, to your point, it would be crazy just to throw it all away and start all over again.
I find very interesting the college experiment that you were doing, releasing Team Builder beforehand. Do you foresee -- I mean obviously you must -- a value add, that people are going to start building their team beforehand and they're actually going to be able communicate this into their game?
PM: Exactly. It's sucking you into the game before a game is done. It's having you create assets that you're going to load into the game when it's ready, and obviously when you think about you're going to spend time building your team, from our point of view, from a sheer business point of view, you're more likely to buy the game, right?
You've gone online, you've invested, you've built your team, you've customized it, you've created your stadium, you've dropped your logo on the 50-yard line, you're ready to go. I think there's a better chance of you buying the game then to import your team because there's nothing you can do online except build the team. I mean, the key is, you go there and you actually play it once you get the game.
So yeah, it's a very interesting "experiment", if you will. It's the ultimate demo. It also gives you a little piece of the game in advance but again, without buying the game, it's worthless.
EA Sports' NCAA Football 10
It seems like with people talking about media 2.0 or whatever, that's definitely an instance of that happening. Do you have to be signed up for XNA or something like that to actually get it in?
PM: No, you'll need what we call a Nucleus ID, which is an EA ID, and you sign in to the site and then you build in ... I haven't done the import yet, my assumption is you do it through your GamerTag. And there'll be a button in the game.
I think it's also interesting in that, to me it shows that with the NFL, people are invested in these teams and these players for years and years -- but with college you're probably more invested in the school you went to, and maybe your rivalry but don't necessarily know the names of the people as much because they change so quickly. It seems like that's a much more natural place for a team creator.
PM: Well, it is. And there's like six times the number of teams that play collegiate football than there are in the NFL, if not 10 times. One of the things that we've always had challenges is I used to get letters like, "I go to Franklin & Marshall and it's not in NCAA Football, why not?" Well, here's your opportunity to take your small college and have them go play Michigan. Or have them go play Ohio State or USC. And our consumers have been clamoring for more teams.
The team says, look we can only put so many teams in this thing but let's give them an editing tool to build their own team. And you know, obviously you can import assets in there to create your team.
But you know, I lived in New England long enough to know all those New England small colleges in there that would have loved to -- Colby, Bowdoin -- no way we could get to them in NCAA, but now you can create them pretty easily. You went to Bowdoin? You can now play USC.
It would be interesting if these could be shared and put into their own leagues.
PM: Well you certainly can do that. If I remember right, you can play your team against other people in an online dynasty mode. So you and I can actually play against each other's team. It gets a little messier -- you just can't go out and play any other team because the shared asset issue is a little messier, but you can certainly build a franchise and the three of us could go put our teams to play against each other within a little dynasty.