If you like playing Madden and fantasy football, then you’re in for something swell. Yesterday, EA Sports launched Madden Ultimate Team as a free update to Madden NFL 10 (it’s a patch, so you’ll be prompted to download it the next time you start up the game). Remember how last-gen iterations of Madden games included a system of digital trading cards you could collect by accomplishing in-game tasks? Well, Madden Ultimate Team greatly expands on that concept, delivering a full-on meta-game with cards for players, coaches, stadiums, and more, so you can build an All-Pro team and compete with it online.
Watch the video above for a primer on Madden Ultimate Team. You get a starter pack of cards to kick things off (your team will initially be pretty crappy). If you want to get more cards, you have to buy them with in-game currency, “coins.” To earn coins, you can play games against another player online or the computer -- or you can just take the microtransaction route and literally buy card packs using real money (PlayStation Network) or Microsoft Points (Xbox Live). Card packs come in Bronze (500 coins/$0.25), Silver (1500/$0.50), Gold (3000/$0.99) and Platinum (9000/$2.99) varieties; as you might expect, the more pricey packs offer a chance at better cards.
The game also has an auction block that allows you to sell your own cards for coins, or buy cards that other users are offering up for bidding. But Madden Ultimate Team’s Executive Producer, Jeremy Strauser, notes that the mode isn’t just about assembling a team of the best players: “You have to also manage coaches, injuries, and team chemistry.” So hop online and see how your team stacks up against your friends’ teams on the leaderboards!