NEW YORK–EA Sports was on hand at the NFL Draft to show off its latest installment of college football, “NCAA Football 08,” to a group of NFL Draft participants that included number one pick JaMarcus Russell. One of the many new features of the high definition version of the game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is the ability to tap into real weather to replicate the actual stadium atmosphere.
EA has partnered with The Weather Channel to use the broadband connections of PS3 and Xbox 360 to grab the correct forecast from any given city at the time the game is on. That means jumping into a game at the Orange Bowl during a Florida rainstorm will mean the videogame will have rain and a muddy field that will deteriorate while playing. If it’s snowing in Chicago during your gaming time, that snow will reflect in the game. The Weather Channel will receive a product placement forecast box at the top righthand side of the screen before the game to give you the weather. That weather forecast will be based on the real world, not the virtual.
This is a pretty cool integration that taps into the potential of next gen consoles. I was talking to Steve Jackson, running back for the St. Louis Rams in New York before the draft and he pointed out that weather has come a long way since the old 1992 Madden. When it snows in the game now, you can see it accumulate on the field and the players’ breath appears visible. The weather actually impacts the gameplay, as well, especially for running backs trying to gain yardage on an snowy field.
If nothing else, this feature connects the player to his college, even if he’s across the country. Playing in real-time conditions is something that would have never been possible on PS2 or Xbox, and it’s a great way to experience the new game. Rumor has it this same feature will be incorporated into “Madden NFL 08,” which would also connect NFL fans to the real weather conditions of their favorite city.