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'Madden' scores touchdown ... with viral video

A still image from the "Madden NFL 15: Madden Season" video, by Electronic Arts
Source: Electronic Arts | YouTube
A still image from the "Madden NFL 15: Madden Season" video, by Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts' latest version of its hit "Madden" football video game launches Tuesday, and it's breaking records, not for gameplay, but for views of its promotional video.

A three and a half minute spot starring comedian Kevin Hart, actor Dave Franco, and a couple of NFL stars, has been viewed over 21 million times on Facebook and YouTube since it was released a week ago Friday.

The big budget spectacle has been shared four times more than last year's commercial spot, according to EA.

EA hopes that the 26th installment of the franchise will benefit not just from all this buzz, but also from the new generation consoles. And the brand could use the boost after last year, when Madden 25 saw first week sales drop dramatically ahead of new console launches.

Increasingly EA is counting on Madden not just for game sales, but also digital revenue. The company's cloud-based Fantasy Football League, Madden Ultimate Team, grew 350 percent year-over-year, according to Macquarie.

While recent installments of the franchise have generated about $250 million from game sales, and last year's sold about $75 million in related digital sales, this year should be better, said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

Pachter projects $275 million in game sales plus $100 million in digital revenue this year. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia notes that Madden has no direct competition, but will likely benefit from the fact that EA did not release its NCAA Football Title due to a legal dispute.

Read MoreMadden kicks off big digital push for EA

Now we'll see how all that online buzz translates to sales. Unlike many of the big brands like Battlefield or Call of Duty, Madden tends to sell more gradually through the fallfootball season and the holiday shopping season.

By CNBC's Julia Boorstin

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