Madden NFL 25: Social Media Analysis of Consumer Anticipation
Recently, EA Sports celebrated the 25th anniversary of the legendary Madden NFL franchise with the launch of its newest edition, Madden NFL 25. The new game claims to include some of the best features from the franchise’s previous versions in addition to a variety of new features such as enhanced graphics, better running capabilities, and exciting new ways for gamers to own and manage their own teams.
Consumers everywhere provided unsolicited feedback around this new Madden game on social media in the days and weeks leading up to its launch. Avid gamers were quick to share their opinions on the initial Madden 25 demo, and made explicit requests for enhancements.
As EA Sports and its partner brands roll out expensive marketing initiatives to build hype around the new game, consumers are already expressing reactions to the hilarious commercials on Twitter. With so much unsolicited consumer feedback on social media, how are companies like EA Sports supposed to harness these opinions to understand how consumers feel about their new game? How can they possibly sift through all of this social data to keep a pulse on consumer intent to purchase the new game during a launch? At Crimson Hexagon, we use the ForSight™ platform to analyze this massive amount of social data to obtain consumer insights.
Madden NFL 25: Game Anticipation
We began our analysis by looking at consumer anticipation for the Madden NFL 25 game on Twitter, a month before it was released. Using the ForSight platform, we analyzed over 57,000 relevant tweets about the new video game. We found that consumer sentiment toward the game was overwhelmingly positive (67%). This positive sentiment was primarily driven by general anticipation for the newest Madden edition (20%) and intent to purchase the game (22%).
Upon release of the initial demo, gamers took to Twitter to share their initial impressions of the game. While some were impressed with the realistic graphics (4%), others were more excited about the cool new gameplay functionalities (15%).
We also see a spike in negative discussion with the release of the demo as gamers began to vocalize their critiques of the game. While gamers were disappointed with the ratings that Madden gave to their favorite teams and players (9%), others were more concerned with the terrible pre-snap camera angle of the game (3%). Gamers were explicitly requesting the ability to change the camera angle so that they can zoom in on the snap.
Regardless of the various critiques of the demo, we found that consumer intent to purchase Madden 25 increased steadily from the time the demo was released until the day before the official launch.
Pre-Launch Advertising Reactions
Once we understood consumers’ anticipation for the Madden franchise’s anniversary video game, we decided to gauge the effectiveness of the various advertising efforts used to promote the game.
EA Sports launched its campaign, “Born to Madden” a week before the Madden 25 release date, and three weeks before kick off of the 2013 NFL season. The campaign consisted of three different commercials; two of which were aired in the week preceding the release of the game. The first segment, “Running Backs Sons” brings us back to the 80’s when the two fathers of NFL running backs Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch put their sons through very unique and intense football training while the two battled over the first edition of Madden NFL. The second spot, “Summer Camp”, tells us the story of NFL quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson spending their childhood days playing Madden together and vowing to one day play in the NFL together.
ForSight’s social media opinion analysis allows us to see how the conversation around the Madden campaign fluctuates over time with the release of new commercials. We see that praise for the “Running Backs Spot” drives most of the conversation around the time of its release. Consumers reacted very positively to the segment with Foster and Lynch, claiming that it is their favorite spot (32%), and praising Madden for its hilarious commercials. Interestingly, it appears that the Pepsi MAX commercial with Barry Sanders, which was launched on the same day, failed to spark a similar level of excitement among consumers.
We also see a drastic shift in conversation around the 25th of August, as EA Sports begins to air the “Summer Camp” spot. Negative sentiment increases as consumers appear to be much more critical of the ad with Kaepernick & Wilson.
The product lifecycle of video games today is an expensive one, and gamers are weighing in with their opinions at every stage of this cycle. Gaming companies have a significant opportunity to harness these consumer opinions on social media and use this feedback to drive strategic decisions around their products and campaigns. Through the use of Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform, organizations such as EA Sports can quickly and easily understand consumer perception of their new video games, and keep a pulse on gamers’ intent to purchase at all stages of the product lifecycle.
We invite you to download our case study, “How Do Consumers React to Pre-launch Gameplay Marketing?