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How the NFL’s high-tech player tracking will change Madden

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Madden NFL 13 (Credit: EA)

The Madden video game franchise has always prided itself on its realistic play. Now the NFL is looking to ratchet up that realism by several degrees.

Over the past few years, the NFL has been exploring ways to gather all sorts of new data points from players during games. But this season it's getting serious about it -- and that could dramatically impact the biggest football video game franchise on the planet.

CBS Sports reports that players playing Thursday night games this season have been fitted with small computer chips inside their shoulder pads that amass pretty much any sort of data you can imagine. How fast do players accelerate? What routes do they typically run? How high do they jump to catch a pass? It's all being tracked.

While the league is still collecting the data, it hopes to transmit it to fans (and partners) almost instantaneously in the years to come. For Madden players, that could mean updated statistics imported into the game on a daily basis, letting players run plays on Monday like the ones they watched the day before at the corner sports bar. If Adrian Peterson was a step slow on Sunday, he'll be a step slow in your Monday Madden game as well.

That same data could be used to send real-time mobile updates to fans who aren't able to watch the game, or give fantasy football players more information to make their picks.

Not every NFL player is enjoying the data collection, however. CBS Sports reports that while most feedback has been positive, some have been unsure about the project, with several players ripping the devices off of their pads or refusing to wear them altogether.

While there's no timeline for when this information will be used in Madden or any other vehicle, it's worth noting that if this almost continuous flow of information does become a part of the services the NFL offers up to EA Sports, it will come after the launch of next generation consoles.

And there has been plenty of chatter about the new systems from Microsoft and Sony both requiring an 'always on' Internet connection, making it easy for developers to keep the game up to the second.

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