You'll only be able to play Madden NFL 15 before its Aug. 26 launch if you own an Xbox One and subscribe to EA Access. There will be no publicly available demo, a representative for publisher Electronic Arts confirmed to Polygon today.
That bucks a trend nearly a decade long. EA has released a downloadable demo on consoles for every Madden title since Madden NFL 06 in 2005, although that game's trial came out shortly after the title itself launched alongside the Xbox 360. A playable Madden demo is traditionally available approximately two weeks prior to release.
Asked to provide details on why there won't be a Madden 15 demo, the EA spokesperson declined to clarify. But it's worth noting that last month, EA announced an Xbox One-exclusive subscription service called EA Access. The program, which costs $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year, includes up to five days of pre-release access to upcoming EA titles. The subscription's initial slate of early access games consists of Madden 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA Live 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Madden 15 will be released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The lack of a demo means that potential customers on three of those four platforms won't be able to try the game before they buy it. This will likely be particularly frustrating for those who haven't yet upgraded to a PS4 or Xbox One. EA hasn't put out any screenshots or gameplay footage from the last-generation versions of Madden 15, so people on those platforms looking to buy the game at launch will literally have no idea what they're getting.
There's no word yet on whether EA's decision to forgo a Madden 15 demo will also extend to the other EA Sports titles set to be offered in EA Access' pre-release trial program — NHL, FIFA and NBA Live. But if it does, this could be the start of a sad new trend for sports fans who have come to expect free downloadable demos. For more on Madden 15, check out our recent preview.
Update: While EA initially declined to comment on the reasons for the lack of a Madden 15 demo, an EA representative reached out to Polygon after the publication of this story with the following statement to provide some additional context: "The difficult decision not to do a demo for Madden was strictly a result of the team's commitment to deliver the highest-quality game possible. We chose to put 100 percent of our development resources toward the full game."