Monday, September 08, 2008

Madden '09 a total joke of a product?

Yes, yes, I am one of those over grown fools that likes to play Madden NFL football on his playstation. My excuse is it helps me unwind after a long day in the office.



I have avoided forking out money for the '09 version, satisfied with spending about 5 hours updating the Patriots roster on the '08 version to reflect the current team. Now that I think of it, I guess I better put Cassell as the starter ahead of Brady, huh?

Long story short, I got caught up in an online forum discussing just how shabby the Madden '09 version has turned out to be, and now I feel suitably vindicated for not forking out the cash on what appears to be a shabby product.

Sometimes a software product is released onto the market with a couple of issues, 'bugs', that the company that makes the product deem too lowly to fix, instead rushing the product out to hit pre defined dates. Check out this incredible list of 'bugs' that one of the users on an online forum put together, all the below occurring in Madden '09.
  • -The game randomly freezes.
  • -People are able to quit online games - there has been no attempt to fix this since last year, it's a massive problem.
  • -QBs sometime start floating up to the sky.
  • -Roster progressions don't work in Franchise mode
  • -Defenders choosing really bad pursuit angles to the ball carrier
  • -In franchise mode, teams sometimes draft 1st round QBs year after year
  • -Also the stats don't work if you simulate roster mode, you get stuff like Chris Simms throwing for 6,000 yards.
  • -You still can't fair catch at the end of a half (you should get a FG attempt if the ball is punted with time still on the clock but the clock hits 0:00 during the play)
  • -Putting a player on IR doesn't free up a roster spot, this has been a problem for about 6 years.
  • -CPU players running out of bounds for no reason.
  • -Players DOB not having an effect on their age.
  • -Receivers can sometimes catch balls through defenders (poor physics is a Madden hallmark)
  • -Defensive holding being called on the offense
  • -Certain run plays (off tackle) don't work because the lineman run into each other and get stuck almost every time
  • -CPU punting the ball on 2nd down at the end of a quarter
  • -CPU going for a FG on 1st and 10 with a minute left in the half
  • -Editing a rookies number means their stats never increase, this was also a problem in last years version and hasn't been fixed
  • -FGs that hit the uprights and go wide are counted as good
  • -CPU not calling timeouts to force the player to punt at the end of the half/game.
  • -Player's salary demands stay the same despite the cap increasing every year
I have worked in quality assurance in software for over ten years now so I can only describe EA Sports (Madden's creators) actions in releasing such a shabby product as reprehensible. Defects, or bugs, are gathered by a QA team and given a 'severity' status. Obviously EA Sports were facing deadlines and decided to cut corners by releasing a product that had several issues in it.

What amazes me is that they would release a product with high severity issues in it. The two worst severity levels are 1. Showstopper and 2. Major. I have never been part of a project where either issues have been knowingly released in a new software product.

Analysing the above list of issues there are;

1. Showstopper - 8 issues
2. Major - 6 issues


To make it abundantly clear, there would have been meetings held in EA Sports in the weeks coming up to the release of Madden '09, at which the topic would have been 'Okay we have 8 showstopper types issues and at least 6 major type issues, but we are due to release next week, what do we do?' The answer should have been 'Move back the release date, work over time to fix these issues until we can release a product we are proud of'.

Instead what the customer got was a shabby product because some spineless producer, at the same hypothesized meeting above said 'You know what, the business team is screaming at us to release this on a date they announced a year ago, and we better bow down to them, so let's release something with dozens of high level issues, worst case scenario, well there is no worst case scenario as our loyal fans will buy it anyway! Nice!'

If you haven't bought it yet, don't. It's fun editing the roster anyway! try it, it's addictive! If you haven't I urge you to make your own 'glitch' list, and bring your product back and demand a refund. It's faulty. Don't accept it.

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A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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