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Published on August 15th, 2011 | by Shopmaster

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Is This The End of Madden Strategy and Tips Sites?

We’ve all seen these sites that give out strategies and tips that help you elevate your Madden game.  We all know someone who has spent money on getting one of their Madden guides.  We all have searched for counters to some glitches we’ve seen online and seen their site come up in the search results.  No matter what your view is of these sites, you’ve heard of them and you know them and they may becoming to an end as we know it.

Now before you read the rest of the article, I want to clarify something.  Not all Strategy and Tip sites show glitches.  Hate to say that but that’s what some people think of when they hear the names of some of these sites.  The truth is that for the most part these guys that make Madden Strategy Guides are doing just that, showing you strategies to give you an edge on your opponent.  These guys spend countless hours playing the game, breaking down the game, and finding plays that work in the game that someone us don’t have the time to do.  A lot of the Madden Strategy Guides that you would purchase today have real football strategy.  Real X’s and O’s.  Do some of the tips show ways to manipulate the AI and get a lot pressure on the QB, yes, but some of them don’t and that’s another story.

In case you haven’t heard some of the biggest and best Madden Strategy Guide websites were given a notice by EA to stop selling strategy guides.  Not only were they told that they couldn’t use the NFL logos, stadiums, players, names and such to create videos for their guides but some were told that they had to shut down their website by COB today Monday August 15th, 2011.  Most have taken down their guides that they were selling and are looking for answers.

I reached out this past week to a number of Madden websites that sell Madden Guides and inquired about the issue and if they received a letter from EA’s Intellectual Property Office.  So far, I know about 4 websites have received this letter and some haven’t received the letter yet but fully expect to be put on notice soon.  Most don’t want to be identified but was kind enough to share their thoughts on this matter.

My biggest question is “Why now?”.  Some of these guys have been doing this for years; they are not doing anything new now.  They’ve always sold guides with videos that broke down their tips in a better fashion than just a PDF that told you how to set it up in text.  So what’s the big deal? Some of these guys are just passionate about the game and breaking down plays.  I’ve had the pleasure to meet some of these guys in person and I remember this one guy started breaking down plays with french fries.  His site is among those that are being shut down.

After talking to multiple people, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not EA at all that is demanding that these sites get shut down.  It is my opinion that the popular strategy guide company Prima Games is putting pressure on EA to shut these sites out.  Now these are strictly my opinions and one else’s but it all makes sense.

I’m a big supporter of Prima Games and the guides they sell for NCAA Football and Madden NFL Football games.  Their strategy guides are good and with my good friends Sgibs and Zfarls doing the guides this year, I expect them to be even better and the NCAA Football 12 one I have is better just not as detailed as some of these NCAA Strategy guides that others have created.   I didn’t think Prima would let them create that kind of guide.  The Official Strategy Guides that Prima prints are just bare knuckle, basic stuff even though I did see some new things this year with Sgibs and Zfarls at the control.   That being said it has never competed with the details that these website were giving out with the video breakdowns.  Prima has never been able to compete with that …… until now.

I got an email from Prima Games, asking me to go check out their new website http://primamadden.com and now I see what is happening.  On the Prima Madden website they are selling playbooks, one-on-one sessions, and subscription to a weekly video show.  Prima Games has moved from print and gone digital.  The playbooks (Electronic Strategy Guides) are selling anywhere from $10 to $46 for complete playbooks with Video Strategy via the web.

Now I’m not going to lie.  When I first heard EA was trying to shut down these sites, I was a little upset, now that I feel it’s more Prima trying to wipe out the competition I feel better.  You see Prima pays a lot of money to become the “Official” strategy guide for NCAA and Madden as well as other games. So I understand what’s going on and their need to prohibit guys from doing what they are doing and not paying any money.  They have every right to do what they are doing, but there has to be a medium I think.

One owner told me that he made close to $10,000.00 selling his strategy guides in a year and there are some owners that have made more than that.  This was of his job, not just part time gig and it’s the same with other sites that are in the same situation.

The problem that most of these owners have is that this has come out of no where.  I guess they’ve always sort of know that they shouldn’t be using the game to get paid, but because they had been doing it for some time, didn’t think anything would happen.  I’ve reached out to a couple of EA SPORTS employees to get answers and even an EA SPORTS employee told me the same thing when I reached out to the company. “If they are charging people [for tips], they are wrong ….”   one person told me from EA SPORTS.

I’m just trying to get answers and so are the guys who received the letter and who are afraid they might get a letter.  As one owner told me … “I’m just trying to see what my options are?”  Do they have options, I would imagine so, because there are a couple of sites that went through a similar situation before for whatever reason and they had to make some changes, but they are still selling guides.

Hopefully we’ll get some answers, because there has got to be a way that these guys can still do the things they love without shutting down their sites and businesses.

There are some other underlying issues that I’ve found out during my talk with these guys that I may touch in a separate article, for now let’s try to get to the bottom of this and get answers.

People have asked me, why do I even care?  I care about the Madden Community and these guys play an integral part of the Madden Community weather you like what they do or not.  Some of these guys are my friends, some are guys I have met and others are guys I have heard about or talked to indirectly.  This may affect tips sites this week, but how long before your favorite Madden Fan site is subject to the same thing?

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About the Author

Shopmaster is a die-hard hardcore Madden Player. He also serves an EA SPORTS Game Changer that provides the community with help and information regarding Madden.



  • kushmir

    i think Madden sites are different. they do alot to promote the game. teaching the abuse of exploits is wrong, charging for it DOUBLY so. while not all of these sites did that, MOST did…so i wont miss them a bit. Of this is Prima’s doing then as official strategy guide provider they are entitled to be the only people getting paid for strategies.

    • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/shopmaster/ Shopmaster

      I agree with Prima being entitled. I just want to know if there are any other options for them.

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/mr21215/ Marc Rollins

    Like you said shop not all sites show glitches those are the ones they need to get rid of…For the sites that actually give you a tip like the one I got from here on how to effectively stop the run with 4-6 cover 3 that wasnt a glitch that was a strategy and it worked…this is gonna be a interesting 2 weeks before the release of madden

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/gomadden/ GoMadden

    These are very treacherous waters and it would be in EA’s best interest to protect some of these sites from getting the boot.

    Most quality Madden fan sites cannot survive without original creative works to sell, and in today’s age that has to mean video products.

    Many of the fan sites that would be hurt by this, would cease in any real capacity within a year. These sites are good for EA, because they promote an investment in their game, they encourage player development and in effect act as a free hype machine for Madden year round. They create friendships, condition players to make micro-transactions online, and operate as prominent voices to enact changes in game development.

    There are a few great sites that can manage to survive without selling products — Pastapadre and OperationSports come to mind. But the catch is they are Sports Gaming & Entertainment sites, not purely committed to one game as these Madden sites often are.

    Will Prima start producing Madden news every day, all year round to Google News? Will they be contacting all the major NFL team fan blogs throughout the year to make sure their fans are up to date on what’s going on with their Madden team? Will they be producing dozens of parallel reviews? Interact with fans on all the top social mediums to offer them free help with their Madden problems, or answer their questions?

    I strongly believe some Madden Tips sites should not exist, and I’ve felt this way for a while. There are a select few sites that breach every copyright law imaginable in making and (falsely) advertising their products. However, for sites like AskMadden.com, GoMadden.com and previously MaddenBible.com (I assume now with Prima), EA would be losing a ridiculous amount of quality value provided to their game.

    If the issue were merely NFL copyrights, then as you mentioned videos could simply be recorded with custom uniforms and logos. However, this isn’t about the NFL’s trademarks, it’s about leveraging footage of EA’s game. Without game footage, people are back to text guides, and the revenue will not sustain the work these sites put into the community.

    If it was Prima that was pressuring EA to send out these notices — which I think is a fair assumption — then I and I’m sure other sites would be more than willing to work out a way to make it work out for them, such as providing free advertising in their product listings. But a cut-and-dry termination of video strategy content would be detrimental to the community.

    Copyright laws are intended to protect creative works, not squash them.

  • http://www.maddenuniversity.com TNT713

    I’m torn. I’m aware of about a dozen sites that write strategy guides. Some are packed with valuable X’s and O’s that worked yesterday, today, and will 20 years from now. Others have what I call “drawing board” strategies because you can win now, but next year it’s back to the drawing board.

    My opinion of the strategies not withstanding, there is a definite service being provided to communities. People don’t have time to be as conscious of all the Madden possibilities they need to be competitive.

    Remember, I’m coming from the perspective of someone who lost every Madden game he played for the first 2 years of playing the game. In the 18 years since my first win, I’ve made a conscious effort to gain as much legitimate football knowledge as I could humanly gain WITHOUT turning to Madden only strategy guides.

    What I’ve discovered is that Madden, with all of it’s apparent flaws, can be played in a manner that is consistent with the strategies of football. On top of that, I find that good football is good football regardless of the playing field.

    Players are going to miss the availability of valuable information. Worst case scenario, players may lean toward calling everything a glitch if there are no reliable sources of strategic information. Best case, strategy guides pull all the licensed items from their materials and continue providing the communites the strategy information they don’t have time to research and practice themselves.

    Later

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/nevadaballin/ Nevada_Ballin

    This news has really jolted the communities over the past couple of days. There’s no doubt in my mind that Prima wants EA to excercise their commitment to contract for the exclusivity that they have paid for as the “official” guide to Madden and NCAA. It is kind of ironic that a deal of exclusivity has reared its head in this manner. What EA did with Prima is pretty the same as the NFL did with EA.

    I’ve been a long time member in one of the communities that was served a notice, possibly the oldest Madden community on the web. This is one of the “clean” sites where glitches are frowned upon. The people who run that site have done such a great job of providing exceptional content in their guides and filmrooms. It’s going to be a huge bummer to see their perspectives on the game disappear.

    The key word about anyone who puts out a strat guide is “perspective”. My home community is my home because i always shared the same view and outlook as the guide authors when breaking down what works, what doesn’t and why. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to develop that sense of brotherhood thru primamadden.com. It just seems like such an overt attempt to take my money without any in-depth rhyme or reason outside of the fact that Prima has paid for the right to be the one place where any such strategy guide can exist.

    Legally, if Prima has paid for that right, then there isn’t much any of the strategy authors can do short of just not buying anything they do or possibly giving their guides away for free and creating revenue in another manner. One EA/Prima cannot do is step on everyone’s right to discuss the game in a forum structure, which most of the strat guide websites have.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. How will the Madden communities respond to another exclusive deal that limits their option of choice?

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/shopmaster/ Shopmaster

    These are all great comments and I appreciate you guys taking the time to read my article.

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/wfcolonel56/ WFColonel56

    this news doesnt sit right with me…I might make a YT video about this. If these sites have to stop making guides than EA is spiting in the face of the guys who have done more for madden than anyone..

    Kobra shut down his site, VG Bert is lost as of now, TGL isnt saying anything but I can tell they dnt have an answer of what to do next as of right this second.. Idk what ask madden is thinking.

    But man this really grinds my gears. What EA doesnt realize is they may prosper now but in the end they potentially could be on the losing end in 2-3-4 years..

    But this isnt right man….this just isnt right. And why NOW?..why two weeks b4 madden comes out? That alone grinds my gears..IDK when these sites were first notified but if it was this month than EA is throwing them out on their *ss

    I am the biggest EA supporter, and have defended them countless times vs the sim standard and other ppl like that when they bash for little or no reason. But this is something I cant defend

  • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/ShopKick/ ShopKick

    Any lawyers on this site? What’s the legal precedence for this sort of thing? If a site took down all videos they couldn’t shut it down at least right? You can discuss anything you want – free speech – could they do text only tips?

    • http://mymaddenpad.com/members/shopmaster/ Shopmaster

      I believe that they can do text-only tips, but even that is unsure.

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  • AJ

    If they think banning these sites will make them more money they are sadly mistaken. If anything people with a clue of what’s going on will boycott their guides. For them it’s all about the money! For others, it’s about the love for football and the Madden video game. I despise companies that want to be monopolies. I remember when 2k5 nfl came out and started to shine and gain steam because they sold the game for 20 bones. EA killed it, because they had done new things online that EA hadn’t got to, like player trades etc… Thus the exclusive rights contract for nfl came about for NFL. Then our game went to ALL Pro football with retired ballers. I’m mad all over again!

  • dezignking70

    what about not selling strategy guides? What if the sites just offered online tips and strategies or open forums for others to contribute to the Madden community. Then they could charge for advertising on their sites and make money that way.

  • NYXSTEELX

    most are SCAMS and really just pick a play put your self on pro and the Defense or offense o on the practice field on all madden and practice until you beat the play. Don’t send you hard earned money to the in particular MADDEN STRATEGY TIPS DEFINITELY A SCAM!

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