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EA touts Madden social 'experience' on Facebook

Madden NRL Superstars lets players create a fantasy football team and compete against others on Facebook. If you want to win, though, be ready to cough up cash.

Madden NFL Superstars after an easy victory.
Madden NFL Superstars after an easy victory. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Electronic Arts has launched Madden NFL Superstars, which lets players create a fantasy football team and compete with others on Facebook.

The game, developed by EA Sports and EA-owned Playfish, features 1,500 current players from all 32 NFL teams.

I checked out the game this morning. When I first loaded it up, I was given 10,000 points to buy less-capable real-life players. Upon doing so, they were added to my team, which allowed me to play with others.

Aside from playing games, I was also able to "practice" with my players to improve their abilities. It worked well. But to really compete in the game, players will want to buy more points--which they do by purchasing Playfish cash via credit cards or Facebook Credits. The more the user pays, the higher the quality of players they can recruit.

Unfortunately, the games are almost entirely hands-off, which means much of the title revolved around watching how my team performed. Players can change the outcomes of a bout with a "game changer" card that typically helps them score a quick touchdown, but beyond that, interaction is minimal in-game.

Madden NFL Superstars is a solid title, but I don't see it supplanting FarmVille anytime soon.

On a related note, EA said Tuesday that the sales of Madden NFL 11 beat last year's version of the game--Madden NFL 10--by 5 percent year over year in August, based on its internal figures.

The company expects the franchise to once again be the top-selling game in North America for the month.