Today is one week before the biggest selling game of the year drops: Madden 06 on every console including the kitchen sink. I say it will be the biggest selling game because there is no Grand Theft Auto game coming out except for the one on PSP and I don't expect that to sell as well as Madden 06.
The big test will be whether the people that bought only ESPN NFL 2K5 last year will move back to the Madden camp or not. Madden lost a lot of game players last year thanks to 2K5's lower price point and, in many people's minds, better gameplay. It will be interesting to see if now that EA has the exclusive NFL license whether people that left them in the dust last year will come back or not. I'm betting on the fact that they will.
I make it no secret that I played both football games last year and found Madden 2005 to be the better of the two from a gameplay perspective. I also realize I may sit in a minority, especially at Console Gold. I don't know whether the exclusivity is going to make EA sit on their laurels or not. The new stuff this years sounds pretty interesting. The "cone of vision" for the QBs sound cool, but I have a feeling if people don't feel like it is second nature after a while they will probably turn it off. The Superstar mode also sounds interesting, although many bemoan the fact that they feel this was ripped straight from The Crib in Visual Concepts game.
The big problem I have is the fact that there is a version coming out for the Xbox 360 when it comes out. No one knows for sure if all the same "goodies" are going to be in the 360 version that will be in the versions coming out next week or if they have to cut some features in order to make it out on time. If they have everything I could see myself double-dipping on launch day.
I'm excited about Madden, mostly because it seems my Minnesota Twins have given up on getting to the playoffs so it is time to put my attention toward the Vikings and football itself.