Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) kicked off its annual "Maddenoliday" on Tuesday morning, with the release of the latest update to its Madden NFL series. GameStop (NYSE:GME) stores started the party early, with more than 3,000 GameStop and EB Games locations celebrating "Monday Night Madness." And nobody is safe from Madden Fever; even the security guards at my local Mills mall got into the action, hogging the demo machines as a small crowd awaited the midnight release Monday night.

The Madden series is easily the best-selling football game of all time, with more than 51 million copies sold. And, like last year, the game once again figures to "blow away the competition" -- or more accurately, the lack thereof, given EA's exclusive licensing deal with the NFL. Madden NFL 06 has sold 6.5 million copies to date, and the company noted on its Q1 earnings conference call that pre-orders for Madden NFL 07 were at "record levels."

EA has made a number of upgrades to the horribly disappointing Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 06. Last year's edition -- stripped of many of the features that fans of the Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 2 and first-generation Xbox versions had grown accustomed to -- had many gamers crying foul. But this time, the Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 07 now includes the popular Mini-Camp games, as well as the NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode.

Notably, EA has a special "Hall of Fame Edition" of the game for the Xbox 360, offering some bonus material at a $70 price point. The regular version sells for $60 on the Xbox 360, $50 on the Xbox and PS2, $40 for the GameCube, PSP, and PC, and $30 on the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

While Madden is just one of roughly 30 platinum titles (million-unit sellers) in EA's annual game portfolio, there's no game of greater significance. One way or another -- be it improved gameplay or just the lack of competition -- Madden Fever is on.

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Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Electronic Arts. The Fool has a disclosure policy.