A play unfolds in Madden 18

They're cutting it a bit close with this announcement, but we've got final word on when Madden 18 will launch, as well as details on how you can dive into the game a bit earlier than the rest of the crowd. You can have the game in your hot little hands on August 25.

Fall is here and with it comes football season, both of the physical and digital variety. Since this is a games website, you can probably guess that we're talking about Madden 18 rather than going over our fantasy picks. And, speaking of the annual football romp, we now have Aug. 25 as the official launch date across both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We already had word concerning the launch but that can sometimes shift a bit with Madden. It looks like things are set in stone at this point, especially since Aug. 25 is just around the corner.

This news comes to us from the official Madden website, where a massive picture of Tom Brady is ready to delight or repulse fans, depending on how you feel about the "Greatest of All Time." And, speaking of the G.O.A.T., pre-ordering that very edition of the game can actually get you into Madden three days before it launches. In case you're wondering, this special edition of the latest Madden will set you back $80 and, on top of the game itself, you'll get a whole bunch of in-game content that we barely understand the meaning of anymore, including the an Elite-level player for the Ultimate Team mode, a uniform pack, 2,500 contracts and 12 Squad Packs.

If three extra days of Madden aren't enough for you, then there's actually a way you can dive in a full week early on Xbox One; all you have to do is be a subscriber to EA Access. That particular service is sort of like an unlimited rental program for EA games, including Plants vs. Zombies, the original Battlefront, Battlefield titles, Titanfall and more. It comes with fringe perks, too, such as playing Madden 18 seven days early. This will come in the form of a Play First trial on the service, but it comes with a catch. In short, you'll have access to the full game for exactly 10 hours. It sounds like you'll be able to dive into the story, jump online or do whatever you want, so long as you understand that you've only got about 10 hours to do it. We're not clear on whether or not that progress will transfer over to the full game, though we don't know why it wouldn't. That early access will go live on Aug. 17.

So what do you think folks? Are you grabbing Madden on launch day or planning to take advantage of one of these early play options? Let us know in the comments below.

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