If there was one year they could have taken more than a year to push out a new Madden, it would be this one where there's no NFL going on for who knows how long. But I guess they want to be quick with a next gen version.
I imagine EA are not the only ones who will do this upgrade a limited time offer. Limited time may become the norm, but I can't really complain since it is free for a while, and it cost them money to do. Maybe not much, but still.
EA is the only major publisher doing this. Others are using MS Smart Delivery (buy one game works on every supported Xbox).
How many have announced that they're going to provide Smart Delivery content for free?
I only know CD Project Red off the top of my head. But I imagine most companies do not want to make any promises at this stage.