'Madden' sets franchise sales records

Lest anyone worry about Electronic Arts' "Madden NFL" franchise, the word from Redwood City, Calif., where the company is headquartered, should calm those fears.

Apparently, with the 2006 NFL season about to start, the world can't get enough of "Madden." EA reported Thursday that the latest entry in the ages-old franchise sold a whopping 1.7 million copies in its first week.

Befitting a sport obsessed by records--the most passes, the most receptions, touchdowns, arrests, etc.--the 2006 "Madden" game appears to have done better in its first week than any previous version in the game's history.

Even the real-life players can't seem to keep their hands off the game. In a press release trumpeting the first-week "Madden" sales, EA quoted Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green as saying, "You'd think the big news in the locker room this week was the start of the preseason, but all everyone could tak about was the new 'Madden' game. Everyone had to check out their new ratings and the new features in the game."

In a league famous for narcissism, Green's statement may take the cake, but EA and the NFL seem to be laughing all the way to the bank, something that will make investors happy since the two powerhouses teamed up last December in a five-year exclusive deal estimated to be worth $400 million.

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