Last year, ESPN NFL 2k5 sent some shock waves through the video game world by presenting a solid competitor to Madden 2005 that was priced for $20 US instead of Madden's $50 US. To this point, I had never been much of a football video game fan. But ESPN NFL 2k5 made a convert out of me - both on its price and due to many positive reviews that had it on par or slightly better than Madden. Before too long, EA dropped the price of Madden to $30 in order to compete. I, and I'm sure others, hoped that this would kick start a pricing war among such titles, amongst other competition. (Being a $20 football game would have been one thing, but being a top shelf quality game for $20? Awesome!).
Instead, EA locked up all rights to using NFL names / teams / etc, effectively shutting anybody else out of the market. And with the 2006 season approaching, I'm looking a bit forward to Madden. But now that it's back up to $50 and it's unlikely that there will be any competition, I just have to hope it turns out good. I'll probably buy it, but it will be with a sigh.