Is Madden 12’s Release Date On the Move?

Posted April 8th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

The latest version of Madden generally hits stores on the second Tuesday of every August. There was the special exception of a Friday release for Madden 10 but otherwise it represents the standard schedule of release. Could something be up though with the release of Madden NFL 12? Retailers have removed the August 9th release date from product listings.

Gamestop and Walmart no longer display a release date, Amazon has changed it to 12/31 which represents a placeholder for what is an undetermined 2011 date, and Best Buy lists 8/1 also likely acting as a placeholder. Generally these retailers don’t make changes to listings unless they have received specific reason to do so. That all four no longer list the 8/9 date suggests something might be happening behind the scenes.

The labor strife being faced has been said to have no impact on the release of Madden 12. The game will come out and it will have all the teams and players it normally would. That wouldn’t prohibit the NFL and EA Sports agreeing to shift the release of the game if they believed it would be of benefit to do so, though there have been no indications prior to this that the possibility was on the table. It may have even been something negotiated when the exclusive license was extended.

If the date was changing it would seem on the surface more likely to be pushed back than moved forward where it would infringe on the sales window for NCAA Football 12. Moving its release back though would create other problems, primarily encroaching on the start of the season of which there may be none. By releasing in early August there is still that window of a month where consumers would be purchasing the game without knowing whether an agreement between owners and players will be reached in time.

No season (or even a delay of one) would be a big hit to the appeal of the product and the hope of a season at least would still be there during the initial period where sales are the most critical. That though might give reason to release the game even earlier, keeping in mind that if the lockout is still in tact then rosters wouldn’t be changing anyway. The question is whether eating into sales of NCAA Football would be worth any potential gains in sales to Madden that would be realized by doing so.

At this point EA Sports has yet to make any release date official so comment on a possible shift away from the traditional date is unlikely to come. It is worth monitoring though whether a change might be in the making given the circumstances. Expect an official announcement of the game, including the finalized release date, to come as early as next week.