While most of Sony's pre-E3 press conference focused on first-party titles, the company also detailed some of its online plans and demonstrated a couple of online PlayStation 2 games. EA representatives were on-hand to show Madden NFL 2003, which will be online only for the PlayStation 2.
The demo pit Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, against Jevon Kearse of the Tennessee Titans. Culpepper played from a couch on stage here in Los Angeles, while Kearse played from Orlando, FL. In addition, John Madden was sitting in front of a camera in Pleasanton, CA to add a little play-by-play. The game appeared to run quite smoothly online, with one pretty major exception. Every 10 seconds or so, the game would freeze up for a split-second, then continue as normal.
The demo also briefly showed the game's menus and online options. Players will create an in-game name, and the EA servers will keep track of rankings by player. An options screen lets you decide beforehand if a game will count towards your ranking or not. The game also features a lobby and chat system that allows you to find players and games. You can also send private messages to other users. The Madden Online menu also featured a news section and a roster updates section, which will allow you to keep your roster in sync with the actual NFL.
Madden NFL 2003 is currently scheduled to ship very close to the release of Sony's network adapter, which will hit stores on August 27.