August 09 Sales Numbers

Posted September 12th, 2009 at 9:10 am


The official sales for August were released yesterday offering the opportunity to analyze the sales of Madden 10. The 360 version sold 928,000 and the PS3 sold 665,000 for a total of 1.59 million copies. Compared to last year sales fell from 1.64 million. So with a drop of 50,000 copies representing 3% Madden held relatively strong compared to other recent releases. The sales aren’t anything to celebrate though as EA would obviously look at the increase in user base as a potential for sales growth. With the state of the economy that may not be a completely viable goal for an annually released franchise as it seems that expanded user base is just going to limit the drop-off rather than build on the fan base.

In many cases when quality increases it can take a year or two in order to build back that trust with consumers. Some lost sales could be attributed to disinterest in the franchise after years of disappointment. However along with the positive response this year it could have stronger legs than the last few Maddens. With the PS3 sales drop and release of the Slim, and with the 360 Elite seeing a price drop there is some additional potential to trend higher than usual as consumers pick up copies of games for their new system in the coming months.

To compare, NCAA Football 10 dropped 5% from the previous year’s opening month but has also seen a sharp decline following the initial results as poor word of mouth spread and consumers looked towards Madden. The 360 version fell all the way from #2 in July to #15 in August and the PS3 didn’t even make the Top 20 meaning NCAA’s drop month over month was 83%. The average seen with yearly sports games falls in the 75-80% range. With the state of the game right now it is in much more dire condition going forward than Madden is. That doesn’t even count all the ongoing lawsuits that threaten the already mediocre authenticity the game offers. You can also look at Fight Night Round 4 which came out of the gates with very disappointing sales and never recovered from consumer backlash.

The Wii version of Madden 10 bombed in astonishing fashion selling just 67,000 copies which is a 42% plummet from 09. Even though the direction they took it this year made a lot of sense there is just complete apathy when it comes to yearly sports titles outside of Tiger Woods on the Wii. With these sales it would not be out of the realm of possibility that EA repackages it as something other than just Madden. That could end up being similar to how they took the Nascar license and used it for Nascar Kart Racing. The Madden name doesn’t do anything for it on the Wii unlike the branding value it has on other platforms.

On the encouraging side as discussed on Thursday Madden 10 released for the iPhone and to overwhelmingly great response. That is a new platform for the series and could prove to be a successful venture for EA this year and beyond.

One other factor to consider in all this is the unknown revenue being produced through downloadable content. We won’t have an idea whether things like extra Teambuilder slots, Online Franchise codes for those with used copies, various downloadable cheats, Madden Elite, and so on drew in enough money to offset the losses in sales. Certainly though that revenue will have helped to soften the blow.