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Madden 21 NXT LVL Is EA’s First $70 PS5 And Xbox Series X Game

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The next-gen "NXT LVL" edition of Madden NFL 21 will be EA's first $70 next-gen title. With the recent release of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, video game fans have been waiting with bated breath to see if the long-dreaded next-gen price hike will be realized on a wide scale. A PS5 showcase in September confirmed that several select PS5 titles will in fact be offered for $70 instead of the $60 that has been the industry standard for new video games for years.

This puts games like Madden NFL 21 in a tricky spot, as cross-generational titles. Many games are offering free upgrades for players who invested in the title before they invested in the console. Online space exploration simulator No Man's Sky is one such title, offering tremendous visual upgrades to all players free of charge once they have access to the PS5's new tech. Other games are less generous. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, for instance, is charging players for its next-gen upgrade, as is Control. Remedy Entertainment insists that it can't provide an upgrade unless players buy into the game's "Ultimate" edition, but an accidental widespread upgrade has contradicted that argument quite effectively.

It looks like EA is trying to have it both ways. GameSpot announces that when the next-gen version of Madden NFL 21 launches, it will be in the form of a special "NXT LVL" edition that will be priced at $70. However, if players already have the football game on their current-gen machine, they'll still be entitled to a free upgrade to next-gen, with all the benefits that brings, including player movements boosted by real-life player data gathered over five years. The NXT LVL version is specifically for players who didn't invest in the game on current-gen. NXT LVL also includes "high value" content for the game's Ultimate Team mode, but details were not given. Frankly, this content seems hard to justify someone spending $70 for the new version when they could just as easily buy the current-gen version for $60 and get a free upgrade.

Madden NFL 21 is certainly not EA's most popular sports title to begin with. The new game has been lambasted by critics and fans alike, who believe that the game adds nothing of substance to improve on its previous iteration. Worse, it had some serious glitches to its name as well. Fans demanded that the NFL drop EA entirely and give the IP to a different developer. The next-gen version gives EA a solid chance to include the innovation and iteration that was sorely needed from Madden NFL 21's original release, but is it really worth $70?

For better or for worse, this next-gen price increase seems to be a growing trend. Numerous companies have already committed to it, like fellow sports game manufacturer Take-Two. Nobody wants to pay more for their video games, but it's a sad fact of life that triple-A game development isn't easy or cheap. If companies need the extra money to provide solid next-gen quality then it might just be a necessary evil. Only time will tell if that is in fact what EA is using those extra $10 for in Madden NFL 21.
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