The primary criticism, that is repeated time and time again, is that each year's update is an incremental improvement over the last. Since EA Sports has the exclusive license, it is the sole company to develop a "simulation-style" NFL game. This means that the game's creator is under no pressure to improve the game each year. In 2020, a popular twitter campaign was launched to urge the league's decision to introduce EA as its partner -- #NFLDropEA. But despite the outrage from social media as well as the coordinated review-bombing of its Metacritic site, Madden 21 sales were in the ascendancy. The Madden 22 of this year Madden 22 did well, too, and the series continues to be the most-seller sporting franchise of all time.
The critics come from a minority of vocalists, but a minority whose job it is to be extremely vocal. We're talking about YouTubers, who make a living watching and documenting themselves playing a game they claim they hate.
The variety of YouTubers' focus areas reveals how vast the game nowadays. There are YouTubers such as Belton who post videos of themselves playing in various games; there's an array of YouTubers uploading tips and tricks. Then there are those dedicated to dunking on Madden.
In the fall of 2011, a channel called SOFTDRINKTV posted a 14-minute video titled "The worst Madden of All Time," and a week later, by a 19-minute film titled "Madden NFL 22 is NOT Good - A Review." The channel returned to a similar well recently by releasing a video called "Everything Wrong with Madden NFL 22 (in 16 minutes)." The narrative of that video begins in a memorable way in a dramatic way: "This is the kind of game that makes you want to stick to your eyeballs with a thumbtack. If the game is Madden 22, the pleasure of life becomes an unwitting curse. You'll never want to be alive. It causes existential dread."
Like all subcultures, Madden also has its unique expressions of slang. For precise throws, they tend to be "lasers" (self-explanatory). Most throws are the form of a "dot" that means you get "dotted up" -- which somehow changed from "dart" (less explanatory).