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Madden NFL 21 arrives early on Xbox Series X and PS5

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PS5 version had a last-minute bug that prevented online play

Cowboys vs. Washington in Madden NFL 21 on PS5/Xbox Series X Image: EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Those who own Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One can begin installing its Xbox Series X version now — a day before its announced launch of Dec. 4. The PlayStation 5 version is also available, but a bug discovered in last-minute testing means that game may only be played offline until a fix is deployed.

Electronic Arts shared news of the early installation plans with Polygon under embargo late last night, then followed up early this morning to mention the PlayStation 5 issue. EA says it still expects the PS5 version to get patched for online play sometime today.

EA Sports has more info in this post on the Madden NFL official forums.

Madden NFL 21 on PS5 or Xbox Series X and Series S is a free upgrade for anyone who bought the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One version of the game, from now until Madden NFL 22’s launch next summer. Right now, Polygon is able to get access to the Xbox Series X version through the trial offer made available to EA Play/Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

Using an account that had Madden NFL 21 installed for Xbox One, we couldn’t find the Series X version either in the “ready to install” tab of the library, or through the Xbox Marketplace. One would assume that the trial version being downloaded now will simply switch over to a full entitlement instead of the time-limited trial. But, given how ham-fisted this has all been so far, your mileage may vary.

Update: An Electronic Arts representative told Polygon that the issue with finding and downloading the game on Xbox Series X only affected code the company gave out to media for review. Consumers who have purchased Madden NFL 21 for Xbox One should not have the same problem finding the game in their installation tabs, or through the Xbox Marketplace.

Update (5:41 p.m.): An EA representative says that the servers for the PlayStation 5 version of Madden NFL 21 are now connected, and all features are available for that version of the game.