To the idea of just having one game and sub'ing it and building on it. Just think how much further ahead and complete Madden would be if it continuously added and refined itself, instead of starting over again. The biggest win would be not losing features year to year. This game above all is the poster boy of some funky marketing trick, where they add a couple things each year, but.... take a few things away. Someone has thought this has been a brilliant strategy.
Things like online leagues would be so much further ahead of where it is today if it would continue to build. It truly could have been a paying E-sport, perhaps the most premier one. All the sports games should probably work in this type of realm.