Sales of Madden Take Dramatic Tumble in Opening Week as Next-Gen Looms

by
Posted September 6th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

madden250906

While EA Sports expected sales of Madden NFL 25 to fall short of those for Madden NFL 13 they did not anticipate the dramatic 37% drop that it turned out to be. Madden NFL 25 sold just over 1 million copies its first week on the market. That is down from 1.6 million that were moved for Madden NFL 13 in the same period and 1.9 million back with Madden NFL 10. 

There are a number of factors in play here. The most obvious is that next-gen versions of the game will be out in mid-November. That doesn’t explain as many as 600K fewer people buying Madden at the launch on current-gen however – that difference which will be expanding before then isn’t going to be made up this holiday season on the new systems.

Mediocre reviews and fairly poor word of mouth following both the demo and the actual release also have to be considered. Even the retailer deals which make trading up to Madden next-gen essentially free on the Xbox 360 to One, and packing in NFL Sunday Ticket for PC/mobile/tablets with the Anniversary Edition, were not enough to avoid such a drop-off though presumably they helped to stem off an every greater fall.

This is a concerning development for both EA and 2K Sports in the month ahead. FIFA is just about bulletproof at this point but a small decline would not be a surprise given the record breaking numbers it has been setting every year and the wait for the next-gen version being less than two months. NBA 2K14 is only separated by six weeks and most of that the season won’t even be underway for. Promotion for the current-gen version of the game hasn’t been as strong this year suggesting the company is going to ride its strong reputation to sell the 360/PS3 version and then put more effort into marketing the One/PS4 version where it faces competition in the way of NBA Live 14.

As to the Madden NFL 25 Anniversary Edition – which was exclusive to Amazon and only as of today became longer available – much was made of that being the most preordered sports game in the retailer’s history. It may have actually done some harm however. Many people purchased it with the sole intent of using the Sunday Ticket code and then selling off the game. The second hand market was flooded with “used” copies of Madden on day one.

  • Keith.

    Pretty funny that EA trotted out Andew Wilson to try and put a positive spin statement on Madden’s low sales numbers, considering all of the EA stock that he unloaded in May and July.

    Also pretty funny to think what EA’s CEO would have to say about Madden’s 40% drop-off in sales, if only they had hired a CEO since Riccotello’s ouster in March.

    I’ve also been interested to read the excuses being put out there by the Game Changers and other EA apologists (“everybody’s waiting for next gen”…lol).

    That’s not really funny though — just sad.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      What’s worse is to see sites just regurgitating that and writing about the spectacular Madden sales for this year!

      • Keith.

        Agreed.

        There have been a few analyst articles today that have figured things out, and EA’s stock is getting absolutely hammered as a result — down close to $1.00 today at last check.

        If EA had a CEO, I’ve got to believe some heads would be rolling at Tiburon, especially considering the drop in NCAA’s sales also.

        • HV

          And they sold one million in a 360/PS3 market of almost 160 million consoles. How many next-gen consoles will be sold until the end of the year? That’s a small amount to expect any real compensation in sales.

      • infemous

        What’s even sadder is that they still sold a million copies of this trash.

        • Dan

          Expect all current gen games to sell relatively poorly from now on, apart from FIFA and GTAV (which will probably break all records). The reason is that everyone who is core gamer is just saving money and time up for GTAV or next gen PS4 and X1.

          With next gen coming up, expect game sales to recover significantly in the next year or two, the next gen games look amazing. But game companies are always going to go through a rough period in the transition between console generations.

  • BC

    Hey, I am not saying that Madden 14 is the best by any means, but an 81 Metacritic rating (Xbox360) isn’t exactly the worst score ever!!!

    • Keith.

      Down to 80 (on 360) now that 2 more reviews were added today (meanwhile, PS3 continues to sit at 75).

      In fact, the 2 newest reviews have some pretty telling quotes:

      “Some of the cameras appear to be operated by drunks. The replay footage usually consists of extreme close ups of some player’s jersey, and it never offers any explanation as to what just happened.”

      “Instead of having the promised 25th anniversary, EA offers basically the same game again as last year with very few improvements and even some stuff made worse. This is not how the NFL deserves to be treated.”

      • Iown You

        The Creative Director needs a butt-whupp’in for those replays. 1. because he’s a cameraman for NFL games and should know better than to put together something so silly, and 2. Because I didn’t think it was possible to make the replays WORSE than NCAA’s, but damnit, somehow Madden Team found a way to make it happen.

  • infemous

    All I can hope is that this decrease in sales can stimulate growth in the Madden franchise and help the NFL decide against pursuing any exclusive license deal in the future, allowing 2k or anyone else to compete with Madden and create a product worthy of the ‘Shield’.

  • james

    no surprise here everybody waiting for the next gen consoles

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      I’m pretty certain not everybody is waiting until the NFL season is 2/3 done to buy Madden.

  • whatsuppasta!

    2k14 shouldnt worry, they do a fairly good job with making their game realistic, but madden is always tough. in nba 2k i feel like i am playing an actual basketball game were something new is always happening. while in madden its repetitive and dull. 2k14 will be fine just watch, but madden should worry. and finally people are being smart and not buying a crap game. even pass on the next gen for ps 4 or xbox 1

    • 2k basketball is good but….

      Ok, i love my 2k basketball, its my favorite game, but when you say 2k makes you feel like you are playing an actual basketball game please tell me what you mean…. Last time I checked half of the things that happen in 2k do not happen in real life, like getting 15 dunks with one person in a damn game, or being able to consistently abuse the game because it is so vonerable.

      • whatsuppasta!

        i just feel that 2k not one play is the same other than the dunks, and yea if a team plays sloppy fast break points happen and 15 dunks happen. now driving down the lane 15 times and dunking i will agree that barely happens. but if a team is playing sloppy and the other team is taking advantage by cherry picking that could very well happen. and i feel like no play is the same no motion is the same. it feels way more fluid than madden

        • Skopin

          I have to disagree there. 2k has way more flaws than people realize, but because of their animation system, everyone lets it slide.

  • Tazdevil20

    here is my comment I posted on OS about this and I will paste it here because it’s applicable…

    “It’s amazing how people continuously make excuses for this game. I just
    don’t understand it. There is always some reason OTHER than the
    quality that people WANT to believe leads to things like this. The fact
    is Madden is a cultural icon. Whether the new systems are coming out
    or not should not matter. People don’t want to wait 4 months for that.
    If Madden was a great game, they would still sell just as many, if not
    more copies, REGARDLESS of whether next gen was coming out or not.

    Just watch – the NBA 2k sales will probably still be very good. Not as many people are upgrading to the new consoles yet.

    Very few of the guys on my full friends list are getting a next gen
    system this year. However, a lot of them are gone now from Madden.
    They gave up on it and simply don’t buy it anymore because it “sucked”
    (according to them). Tiburon is reaping what they sew here. You can
    only poop in a box for so long before people start to lose interest and
    find it elsewhere.”

    • Keith.

      Well said, Taz.

      Speaking of NBA2k, I think it’s pretty telling that NBA2k13 was STILL in the monthly Top 10 sales chart as recently as last month — in fact, it’s been in the Top 10 every month since its release last October).

      Obviously, people aren’t having any trouble buying NBA2k13 in droves, the impending console transition notwithstanding.

      • Gunner

        It’s sad to say but Madden has entered 2K Baseball territory in regards to reputation for the quality of their product. Used to be the Gold Standard of ALL GAMES not just sports titles. Now it would be lucky to crack the top 5 in sports game quality, let alone put it in the discussion with anything outside its genre.

    • Iown You

      And I wouldn’t doubt that either a punk ass “infraction” or IP banning from one of the many dumbass mods at OS is coming for that post. Nevermind that your post is dead-on accurate and full of truth, it’s Operation Sports and in Operation Sports land everyone must line up and shine EA/Tiburon’s shoes. Tell the truth and it’s adios muchacho!

      • Jeremy J.

        I told the truth on there once. It was in a post for NCAA Football 10 (I think). I was perma-banned without warning, which is bullshit since I was a member on that site for a while, and a very active member. I’ve attempted to get the ban lifted several times. But I end up just getting ignored. R.I.P. @MRxAmazing on OS.

        • mikemck09

          OS is a cesspool of cyber bullies lol… They banned an amazing slider guru (Playmaker) for arguing and calling out someone on a forum. This guy was a member of the site for years and one slip up cost him everything. You can not speak down on EA over there or you’ll get the boot in a heartbeat…

          • Iown You

            Yeah, and the mods are the biggest bullies, that’s the main problem.

            Also, the very approach of OS encourages sociopathic behavior. Someone can say something funky to you and you’re expected to not respond, or to just play it off, but that’s not real life, that’s fake. Then the mods act like they can’t see the first blow, but on a message board it’s easier to see who the shit-starter is than it is in real life because you can read it right there.

            The whole approach is garbage. When I posted there, I never got into any trouble, but I just got tired of seeing people get infractions and banned over nothing while shit-starters not only got off but some became mods! I also couldn’t stand the typical idiots that post at that site. At least here at PastaPadre, the discourse is a lot more intelligent and REAL, and shit-starters and morons never last long here because Pasta lets us rip them to shreds, just the way it should be!

          • The Great Leon

            Agree I really don’t like OS. I only went on the site for NCAA rosters, the mods are power hungry. They ban and close threads like crazy and people just go along with it. PP has always been my favorite site for sport video games. Even if I don’t play all the games I like to be able to discuss the news freely.

          • Jeremy J.

            I’m done with this generation of gaming. Between EA and OS among other asshole companies, the genaration has been awful with the exception of like 10 games. Between the amount of bugs and inconsistencies in almost every game, and the general lack of real post-release support, the generation was a complete letdown.

      • Keith.

        Don’t forget, at least 2 former OS mods are now members of the Tiburon football development team. That ain’t no coincidence, my friend.

      • http://www.sportzbro.com/ Sportzbro

        “TROLLING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED HERE! YOU SUCK EA’S DICK AND YOU LIKE IT!”

        • fuckea

          wtf are you guys talking about. I don’t go to OS often, but I went there today, to see if it’s really what you all claim it is. I’d say 85-90% of threads in the forum is complaining, bitching or ranting directed at EA. The biggest thread on the site’s first page is about this same very story.

  • Electradivine

    I just don’t see this as a suprise…. Nba2k and the show have been putting out a superior product at least 3 times better than madden for YEARS

    Even a nfl football junkie is not stupid to shell 60 dollars year after year on a product that is worse than other sport titles by a mile , bugged to hell, and has a nerve to take features out every year, then when you complain to their head guy on twitter ,even politely, about missing features ,he blocks you…. Surprised ? No, just wonder why it took so long for the masses to catch up

  • Gunner

    First time since Madden 93 that myself and two of my best friends didn’t buy Madden!!! And none of us miss it. I tried out the early DL since my subscription carried over from last year (got to try it for free kinda) and it was imo an aweful sports game. I popped in 2k13 after playing M25 and was like no way is EA getting money again for this layup of a game. Look what GTA V gives you vs Madden for the same $60.

    EA has two choices either step their game up significantly for Next Gen or do a bi-annual release with roster updates in between or cut the cost to say $30 which is probably in reality what this years game should have cost.

    • Jackson

      They can’t sell it for $30 even if they wanted to because of the deal with the NFL. I didn’t but it either though and I agree with everything else.

  • Gunner

    Here is the other kicker, with the trade up promo for $10 didn’t the people who are getting it for next gen, “get their copy in Nov. now”? Thats why the whole “people are waiting for next gen speak” is not true

    • Keith.

      Exactly. Let’s assume 250,000 of 1 million next gen consumers end up buying Madden. We’ll also have to assume that a very big chunk of that 250,00 are getting the game for $10. In the end, expect EA to report an even bigger loss than expected this quarter, unless the brain-dead MUT crowd somehow comes around and saves ‘em.

      • Scottyo614

        Keith what’s kinda surprising among all this… (And remember our Madden bet last year where I won) I HATE MUT. I like NCAAs and NHLs but I opened my initial pack and the legacy packs and instantly I felt an anger level rise. I like the other two versions because I can win with credible players/limited money….This, well this Madden Ultimate Team version sucks to me. As did the others

        • Keith.

          I don’t remember losing a bet to you, but glad to hear you’re not feeding EA any $ through MUT.

  • MBird

    I have played the new Madden, and if you know how to control your anger, you can get past the lagging and hard to navigate menus, the gameplay that EASports thinks is better than it is, and the terrible visuals, well, that is if you get it to boot up at all.

    There is something not right with the Madden development team, or whoever oversees them has too much of the wrong input, because there should be no reason that a game, with the resources that Madden has, should be this out of touch with the people who they want to buy their games. It’s beginning to seem like EASports has been riding the coattails of the exclusive NFL license a little too long that it is finally starting to catch up with them in lagging (yes, like the menus) sales.

    If EA released a version of Madden 05 with roster, rules, and stadium updates, I would have no problem purchasing it today. I wouldn’t even care about the graphics, because that was still a vastly more enjoyable game. Also, just get Tony Bruno to record some more fake phone calls with players and you’re done.

  • Alexander

    Does this include digital downloads? Cause most people I know just downloaded madden this year

    • Keith.

      :Yes. The 1 million figure comes from EA, who would know better than anyone the numbe of digital downloads. Any way you look at it, the numbers are WAY down.

  • Joe

    Did I miss something? No new roster update?

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Roster update came out today. You just have to go into the roster area to get it or start up an online game. For whatever reason its not prompting a boot-up like previous years.

      • Joe

        Thank you.

  • lonzell99

    Sony & Microsoft should be allowed to make their own NFL game (If they want). Hopefully that is included in any new deal, especially with the price of the NFL going up.

    • Skopin

      They can. It’s the same deal with Sony making MLB The Show.

      • lonzell99

        no, I think, under the rules, EA is the ONLY one who can put out an NFL game.

  • http://www.sportzbro.com/ Sportzbro

    I got Madden for $10 due to a trade in deal, and still sold it – that terrible.

    • Iown You

      You think that’s bad? I got it for free and I want to return it to the bum who sold it to my brother hot on the street.

  • mikemck09

    LOL @ the Next Gen Scapegoat!!! Give me a break, the reason why the sales are down is because the game is garbage! Call a spade, a spade… For those who think that M25 for Next Gen is going to “Wow” you, please take a video of your initial expressions! EA needs to give up and destroy that contract so we can have some real football games out on the market for the new age systems. I really miss football gaming, I’ve been messing around with so many slider sets and Hex Edited rosters for NCAA that I haven’t even began a Dynasty yet because the game just doesn’t feel like football. EA is so off the mark when it comes down to the nitty gritty of the game, they worry about blades of grass and how Coaches now have RPG elements… O____o Madden and NCAA have been cosmetic games, all about the outside look and nothing about the feel.

  • dhall

    This is what is missing…Terribly: Back in the Genesis days, Madden had an element of engagement. Even in 1993, it was there. That was what it was all about and it was so much fun to play. The problem that we have unleashed, us consumers, is that we’ve pet the beast for so long it has become complacent and content. When you bring your dog attention, love and food it will slowly not start to meet you half way knowing those things shall come to him unwarranted and eventually. Laziness sets in. Money has brought EA to this. Money and power that the community has been giving them for over two decades. They weren’t always like this until they started to lick the hand that fed instead of biting back with aggression and passion for a product that they used to truly love and develop unconditionally. Now, it has become a farse. Nothing more than a twisted, annually forced, back-end, resume filler. But, now they are starting to realize that we are not bringing the “food” to them anymore and we are starting to speak out. NFL video game football will return BACK to what everyone wishes and hopes it shall and can be. An open market of choice, competition, creativity and entertainment. The NFL is not stupid. Their finance and accounting teams are highly aware of lost profits and a brand that just doesn’t represent the quality of the biggest and wealthiest American sport organization. I promise, and I know for a FACT that this will change…You just wait and see. That is all I will say about that. That is ALL I can say.

    • Joe

      “pet the beast for so long…”??? The biggest problem is the ease at which the internet let’s everyone give an opinion…well, that and the movie “Ghost Shark”.

      • dhall

        How do you not understand a simple metaphore? At one point EA was a “beast” at sports video gaming. We put them on a mountain. By us stroking and paying them for so long, “pet the beast…”, they’ve have taken advantage. How do you find that hard to comprehend? I see YOU do have a problem…”let’s everyone…”. What the fuck does that mean? It should be…”the internet HAS LET everyone…”. Moron. Go back to school before you criticize another. How pathetic and poetic.

        • Skopin

          ” they’ve have taken advantage (…) Moron. Go back to school before you criticize another. How pathetic and poetic..”

          I couldn’t resist. :D

          • dhall

            Hahaha! Good one…Nice catch! I feel like a complete douche now…And, dude, I fucking triple checked that motherfucker and made sure I didn’t fuck up, too…DAMN!

        • Joe

          Okay, calm down, your statement on the affairs of EA was well put. I was just having some fun, hence the stupidity of my reply. I apologize if I offended you. But thanks for calling me a moron.

          • dhall

            I do apologize if that was your intention. It is hard to filter the sarcasm at times. Sorry.

  • Keith.

    NBA2k13 cracked 5 million, for I believe the first time ever. So what you’re saying is nonsense.

    • fuckea

      Good for it, the numbers are still down for video games. 19% from the month of july last year, and steady decline since january. How were NBA2k12 sales?

      http://www.pastapadre.com/2011/12/14/nba-2k12-lasts-only-a-single-month-on-top-10-sales-chart

      2k Makes shit games too. NBA2k11 sold well because of Jordan, that game was very flawed. 2k12 was shit. And NBA 2k13 is by no means a perfect game.

      For the record I don’t think Madden 25 is a good game either. And Madden’s had many bad years this gen, Fifa on the other hand has consistently put out the best soccer game. This idea that 2k is somehow the savior of sports games is bullshit, and you sound just as bad as EA dickriders when you ride 2k this hard.

      • Skopin

        It’s a miracle! Someone else who doesn’t think NBA 2k is the most amazing thing since sliced bread!

      • Greg

        2K makes shit basketball games? You gotta be kidding me! 2K makes the best basketball games ever even with the flaws. NBA 2K11 sold well because it was a great game and people loved to play it. Sure, Jordan’s name helped but if they couldn’t nail Jordan in the gameplay department like they did it wouldn’t have mattered. What makes 2K basketball great is the ability to play just like the real players. Madden NEVER does that. All video games have flaws, show me one that doesn’t. But if the gameplay is great then I can overlook the flaws.

  • Keith.

    As of 8/31, there are 66,000 pre-orders for M25 on PS4. On the XBone, M25 didn’t even make the list (which ends at a game with 45,000 pre-orders). Pretty far cry from the 650,000 they’ve lost on PS3/360, I’d say.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/preorders/

    • fuckea

      Riiiight… that’s the pre-orders as of 8/24 3 days prior to actual release on current gen systems and 3 months prior to next gen systems being released. So over 100k just in pre-orders at 8/24. This figure doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of people who DONT EVER PREORDER GAMES. Nor does it include the many more who will pre-order as the next gens come closer to release.

  • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

    I had a forum a few years ago but it wasn’t very active. I shut it down because I felt like traction really couldn’t be gained there – most of the conversations people were trending towards were taking place through social media (and the comment sections of the articles)

  • The Great Leon

    I like the look of Pasta’s site. Not a big fan of OS mainly because the people that run it are douches. They like to ban people for the littlest things. At least Pasta lets people say what they want.

  • The Great Leon

    I love football but don’t need Madden. The game has been nothing special on ps3 and 360. Next gen will just have shiny graphics and that is putting lipstick on a pig. They need competition to make better gameplay and features.

  • LenInFlux

    All good points made in regards to the sales slump.
    For me (a PS3 owner), the fact that the demo was broken with the invisible players and, on top of that, learning that it made it onto the retail version (had to be fixed via a release day patch) was enough to ward me off from this year’s game. I will probably end up buying it but not before there is a substantial price drop.

    I understand that EA has a lot on their plate right now but what happened to games that had a few minor glitches but overall worked properly? Before the current generation consoles every game manufacturer had to get the game right because there was no way to patch it. Why do they expect the consumers to pay $60 for a game with major issues and hope that they get fixed? I don’t get it.

  • Rick

    Any one know for sure if some of the internet rumors are true, about the next – gen version of Madden ? Apparently 2 weeks before Halloween rolls around next-gen madden will be show cased on a yet to be determined Sat. night game on NBC, followed by intense left and right advertising from EA, but only graphics will be touted. The article went on further explaining that no new features will be fixed other than the omission of the Precision Modifier for the next gen version. An even bigger gripe is the early build of this has not been shown due to the internal struggle with EA’s development team that the game isn’t as up to par as the next gen NBA live in terms of physics and realism on the field.. Seems EA is using the current gen engine on the next gen systems.. man does this spell bad news for next gen football never mind the madden series… ugh.. so feed up with EA Tiburon…

    • dhall

      Not true. There are no Saturday Night games on NBC in October or any other month, for that matter, until the playoffs.

      • Rick

        my apologies, that was suppose to be Sunday night, thanks for the correction.

  • Ghoti34

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-09-09-us-game-sales-to-post-first-double-digit-year-on-year-growth-since-april-11

    The US console and handheld games market is expected to have recorded
    year-on-year double-digit growth in August – the first time in almost
    two and a half years.

    That’s according to Cowen & Company,
    which is expecting August NPD data to reveal console and handheld
    software to be up 21 per cent compared to August 2012, with total
    packaged goods sales, including PC games, up 18 per cent.

    The positive comparison is partly being driven by EA’s latest Madden release, which the publisher confirmed last week had sold over 1 million units.

  • Jay (The Truth)

    Not surprised. Sports games are niche now. Becoming increasingly difficult to sell people them on a yearly basis since Call of Duty has swallowed up alot of the casual audience. Dont think next gen has much to do with it here, as much as the fact that many are fatigued. 25 long years. Best days for Madden are far behind.

  • Jay (The Truth)

    Without a doubt. 2K and FIFA have taken up most of it, with the rest playing other multiplayer centered games like COD, Halo, etc.

  • Tired

    just play the current game, i wouldnt recomend it to anyone, sooner or later a bad product has to catch up with u

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