Here's why it matters:
- Madden will bring new gamers to Facebook and to the console: There are two broad gamer types right now - - traditional gamers that play on consoles, usually with joystick or controller, and so-called casual or social gamers, usually with a web browser or another non-traditional medium. They are quickly becoming separate, but equal gamers. A successful Madden Facebook game will bring the millions of traditional EA Sports gamers to Facebook gaming and, in turn, may make some Facebook gamers interested in the EA Sports console franchises. EA's purchase of Playfish shows that it's taking bridging these two sets of gamers seriously, too.
- Madden will encourage other stable franchises: Consistently selling millions annually for two decades, Madden NFL is one of the few guaranteed top-sellers in the video game world. Only Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario games have been consistent, long-term best-sellers. If it becomes a profitable endeavor -- which it will -- Madden Facebook will provide a beacon of hope for the slumping video game industry.
- Microtransactions, microtransactions, microtransactions: Well before the iPhone and Facebook, EA started pushing us into the world of in-game microtransactions. The minor payments that now run Facebook are a perfect next step for EA's goal.
- Madden will inspire officially licensed Facebook games -- lots of them: Fantasy football has already hit Facebook, but official licensed games with real teams, logos and, most importantly, players will revolutionize all major sports on the social network. The online interactivity during the recent Super Bowl, as well as for the Winter Olympics or the upcoming World Cup or World Series, will equal dollar signs for EA and similar well-funded companies willing to build something for the already eager web audience. Keep in mind that EA itself has NBA, NHL and other official licenses.