Show your devotion to Madden with a ring, sleep alone forever

John Madden’s eponymous football franchise can always be depended on to deliver ridiculous numbers of EA-brand microtransactions designed to drain blood from even the stoniest of stones. This year, EA seems to be urging someone, anyone to coin the term macrotransaction (Hey! Look! I just did!), with their latest cross-promotion; the Ring of a Champion.

According to a press release sent out earlier today, EA has teamed up with Jostens — the people behind all those rings designed to signify individuals who peaked in high school and currently work for their father-in-law, selling medical supplies — to offer a custom ring designed to signify individuals who peaked in a video game and currently work for no one, selling nothing.

Here’s a snippet from the release, and if you can read the whole thing without crying, you’re a far better man than I:

The Ring of a Champion series will serve as a visual tracking system for a players success within the game. As Madden NFL 08 gamers accomplish various achievements, they will progress through five different levels. Once a player has reached level three, the ring can be purchased through Jostens website utilizing the code provided within game. In addition to the 32 NFL team logos players can incorporate into their ring, the tops and sides of the rings can also be customized. If a player is able to execute an extraordinary achievement they can obtain the Epic ring status, which allows for enhanced design and uniqueness.

The rings themselves will retail for $149 for a non-precious ring up to a crotch-punchingly ridiculous $495 for the ten karat gold model.

It would be downright socialist of me to decry EA’s attempts at milking cash from everything around them, but if you have five Benjamins burning a hole in your pocket, might I suggest a nice tattoo? An ironic depiction of a naked John Madden riding a flaming eagle across your back will not only intimdate the hell out of Dale down at the pub, but ink like that is almost guaranteed to get you pity sex from post-modernist art school girls.

Hit the jump for the full PR-gasm. 

[Oh, and I didn’t even realize that Joe Burling tipped us off to this earlier today, but of course, he knew about this before EA did. Nicely done Joe.] 

EA and Jostens Introduce Ring of a Champion to Madden NFL 08

Gamers Can Customize and Purchase Rings to Showcase Their Skills

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electronic Arts Inc. and Jostens, Inc. today announced that the highly anticipated Madden NFL 08 for next generation consoles will give players the opportunity to extend the Madden NFL 08 experience to the real world by giving them the ability to purchase their own custom-designed Ring of a Champion. Based on the players Madden Gamer Level, the Ring of a Champion showcases the progress of a Madden NFL 08 gamer, and each ring can be customized to recognize the player advancements through the game. These rings are a direct representation of a players achievements and game skills. Madden NFL 08 will be available for purchase beginning August 14.

We wanted our gamers to have something tangible to recognize their achievements within Madden NFL 08 and we kept coming back to Super Bowl rings, said Madden NFL 08 Lead Producer David Ortiz. We wanted to remain authentic to the real Super Bowl ring therefore we forged a great partnership with Jostens to allow our gamers to proudly display their Madden NFL 08 skills.

The Ring of a Champion series will serve as a visual tracking system for a players success within the game. As Madden NFL 08 gamers accomplish various achievements, they will progress through five different levels. Once a player has reached level three, the ring can be purchased through Jostens website utilizing the code provided within game. In addition to the 32 NFL team logos players can incorporate into their ring, the tops and sides of the rings can also be customized. If a player is able to execute an extraordinary achievement they can obtain the Epic ring status, which allows for enhanced design and uniqueness.

We know that Madden NFL players are passionate about their game and take pride in their skills, said Mike Bailey, president and CEO, Jostens, Inc. Weve had fun designing the rings with EA and hope they add a new dimension of reward to the game.

Minneapolis-based Jostens, creators of 27 out of the 41 Super Bowl Championship rings, and EA have worked together to create the collection of Madden NFL 08 rings, incorporating a unique ring design feature embedded in the game. Jostens will offer three unique ring designs that are available in non-precious metals as well as 10K white and yellow gold. Gamers can also choose from a variety of colors to add to further customize. Rings will range in price from $149 for a non precious ring to $495 for a 10K Gold ring. Each ring incorporates simulated stones chosen by the gamer as well as cubic zirconium stones in the design and gamers will also be given the option to add genuine diamonds if they prefer the ultimate in their Ring of a Champion.

Coming into its 18th year and with more than 60 million copies sold and having generated over $2 billion in retail sales, Madden NFL football continues to stand out as one of the most popular videogame franchises of all time. Developed in Orlando, FL by EA Tiburon, Madden NFL 08 will be available in August on the Xbox 360 and Xbox® videogame and entertainment systems, PLAYSTATION®3 and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment systems, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Wii, PC, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system. For more information check out www.madden08.com.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS, EA, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO. In fiscal 2007, EA posted revenue of $3.09 billion and had 24 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA’s homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at https://info.ea.com.

About Jostens

Minneapolis-based Jostens is a provider of products, programs and services that help people inspire achievement and preserve memories. The Companys products include school yearbooks, scholastic products such as class rings and graduation products, and products for athletic champions and their fans. Jostens is a subsidiary of Visant Corporation, a marketing and publishing services enterprise servicing the school affinity, direct marketing, fragrance and cosmetics sampling and educational publishing markets. More information about Jostens can be found on the internet at www.jostens.com.

* Source: NPD data

EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG and Pogo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. John Madden and NFL are trademarks of their respective owners and used with permission. PLAYSTATION, PlayStation and PSP are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Microsoft, Xbox and Xbox 360 are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS and the Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Earnest Cavalli
I'm Nex. I used to work here but my love of cash led me to take a gig with Wired. I still keep an eye on the 'toid, but to see what I'm really up to, you should either hit up my Vox or go have a look at the Wired media empire.