Social game companies like Zynga and Playfish have been using player data and feedback to determine which direction their games progress for some time now, and it looks like EA has caught onto how well that works.
As reported by GamesBeat, the mega developer/publisher has been collecting data from their sports games since 2004, and is finally ready to make some sweeping changes to the next installment in the Madden NFL franchise based on that data.
Due to the fact that more than ¾ of Madden 10 owners are playing the game online, EA has learned that features like the Hit Stick, which allows you to attempt to knock the ball out of a player’s hand, only works around 46 percent of the time. Other features have lower percentages of completion, meaning that they’re too hard and should be addressed.
Perhaps the most telling statistics are those that come from the simple amount of gameplay allowed within a single game. The average game lasts 63 minutes, but of that time, actual action only constitutes 17 minutes of the total. The rest of the time is spent in menus and picking out plays (interestingly, the average user relies on around 13 plays, while the game offers a whopping 330 options).
What does all of this mean? Basically, the game has become too complex, says EA’s Jeremy Strauser. Consequently, the theme for the next Madden installment is, as Strauser puts it, “simpler, quicker, and deeper.”
While there’s no telling how hardcore Madden devotees will react to a simplier title, this will open the door to the world of casual gamers who don’t have the patience or desire to sift through the game’s many levels just to find the core gameplay hidden underneath.