Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Madden: The Big Meeting

An anonymous source sent me an audio tape of an EA executive meeting concerning Madden 2005 sales and the future course of the franchise.

I know you're not surprised.

Jerry Bonus, Nathan Commission, Jim Options, and Dan (last name unknown) are all EA vice-presidents. The transcript begins as the meeting opens.

Jerry: Gentlemen, let's review the sales number.
Nathan: Outstanding, I'm sure.
Jim: The big dog's gotta eat. Woof-woof!
Jerry: Last year, Madden sold five million units. ESPN sold less than half a million.
Dan: Woot!
Jim: I see an ass--I think I'll kick it.
Jerry: This year, through November, Madden's sold three million units. ESPN has sold over two million.
Nathan: WHAT?
Jim: Dan, my leg's wet. Tell me you spilled a drink.
Dan: I don't HAVE a drink, Jim. Christ, did you have asparagus for lunch?
Jerry: All right, all right, let's not panic. I arranged to have the development team come in for a talk.
(Rush, Hurry, Careless and The Duke file in)
Jerry: We want your input on why Madden sales are flat this year.
Rush: We sucked ASS this year.
Hurry: MAJOR ass.
Careless: Did you see the quarterback in the console version? Dude would face backwards, then turn and fling the ball downfield.
Rush: I knew a kid in third grade who did that, but only after he got hit by a car.
Jerrry: What about online leagues?
Hurry: We have online leagues?
Careless: We're all in the same ESPN league, Mr. Thompson. Hey Rush, I rocked your world last night, man!
(Careless and Rush high-fivej)
Jerry: Do you mean you aren't even PLAYING Madden?
Rush: Dude, you pay us to MAKE it, not to PLAY it. Leagues in ESPN absolutely RULE. I only play Madden if I can't sleep. I haven't needed one pill all fall.
The Duke: I wandered lonely as a cloud.
Jerry: Who is that kid? Why is he wearing a cape?
Hurry: That's the Duke. He's the CEO's nephew.
The Duke: When all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils.
Jerry: What the hell is he doing?
Careless: He thinks he's William Wordsmith.
Rush: Wordsworth.
Careless: Whatever, gay poetry dude.
The Duke: Ten thousand I saw at a glance, tossing their heads in a sprightly dance.
Jerry: Where does he work?
Rush, Careless, Hurry: QUALITY ASSURANCE.
The Duke: And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.
Jerry: You can all go now. Thanks for coming.
Jim: Don't touch the executive snack trays on your way out.
(the developers file out)
Jerry: Ideas? Anyone?
Dan: Why don't we just make the game better?
(raucous laughter)
Nathan: Dan, you kill me! You are the funniest man alive.
Dan: Thanks--I'll be appearing here all week.
Nathan: Come on. Making it better is HARD. We'd have to make a list of everything that doesn't work, then pay one of those developer guys to fix it.
Dan: Screw that.
Jim: Can't we just make them work forty more hours a week and not pay them?
Jerry: Not anymore. Class action suit.
Jim: Damn.
Dan: Maybe we should just increase the budget.
(more laughter)
Nathan: There he goes again!
Jerry: Let me explain some basic business to you. MAKING games is an EXPENSE. SELLING games is REVENUE. We want to SELL games--any money we spend actually MAKING games hurts our bottom line, and our stock price.
Nathan: And our options package.
Jerry: Exactly. What we need is a way to ship the same weak, tired-ass shit we've been shipping.
Dan: Conundrum.
Nathan: What?
Dan: Word of the day.
Jerry: I got it! We don't have to improve OUR game. We can just kill THEIR game!
Nathan: Genius.
Jerry: We'll buy exclusive rights to the real players and stadiums.
Dan: It worked with NASCAR and FIFA.
Jim: Hell, we can RAISE the price for the same old shit!
Jerry: Plus, if we kill Sega's game, maybe we can hire some of those developers from Visual Concepts.
Nathan: Yeah, because those guys have MAJOR talent.
Dan: Word.
Jim: I'm going to go change my pants.

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