App Watch: Madden NFL 11 on the iPad

For the first time, Electronic Arts (ERTS) is launching mobile versions of its popular Madden football game on devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad on the same day as the full console version of the game.

The Redwood City, Calif., videogame maker said “Madden NFL 11” will go on sale on Tuesday. It is expected to be priced at $7.99 for the iPhone version and $12.99 for the iPad version, compared to $59.99 for the console game.

The move is another step in EA’s strategy to increase its downloadable games business and pursue synergies between digital and console games. At the same time, it shows how the iPhone and iPad are becoming important game devices. While EA says it is also making stripped down versions of games for regular cellphones running Java or Brew mobile software, it said the ones for Apple devices will be the most robust. The company said a version for phones running Google’s Android operating system will be available later this year. EA declined to disclose how much it spent on developing the mobile games.

EA says the iPhone and iPad versions of Madden will have features that take advantage of the devices’ touchscreens and thus aren’t available on the console. For example, one feature called “hot routes everywhere” lets users map out a play on the screen before making it happen. EA offered the ability in last year’s game for just the wide receiver position, but it made it possible this year for almost all of the players. Users can also save the plays, so they can use them again.

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