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SBD/Issue 46/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
EA Sports Ready To Pull Out All Stops To Maintain Position
Published November 16, 2004
|Video Game Price
War Just Heating Up
Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive has sold “more than two million copies of its ESPN NFL 2K5 from its introduction in July through October, compared with more than 2.4 million” copies of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2005, which came out in August, according to NPD Group research cited by Nick Wingfield of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. In the comparable period last year, EA Sports sold over 2.8 million copies of Madden NFL 2004 to 240,000 for the ESPN game. But EA Sports estimates it still has 75-80% of the football videogame market “in terms of money spent by consumers, which reflects the higher price of its game.” Take-Two President Paul Eibeler said, “At least you’re back on the playing field, where these titles were out of the game. Now we’re back in the game.”
PRICE BATTLE: Wingfield notes EA Sports last week “slashed prices on its marquee sports games,” lowering to $29.95 from $49.95 the price on Madden and “significantly discounting other titles.” The cuts “were a direct response to Take-Two’s decision earlier this year” to price ESPN video games at $19.95. Some analysts believe the price battle “could carry over into next year’s football, baseball and basketball games.” American Technology Research analyst P.J. McNealy: “There’s no way Madden, on the current generation of game platforms, can launch at $49 [in ‘05].” EA Sports said that it cut prices “to keep its dominant position in sports games, hoping the low price pulls in cost-conscious shoppers during the holiday season.” While EA Sports has not yet decided “whether to continue the low prices next year,” an EA Sports spokesperson said, “we’ll do whatever it takes to maintain our category leadership and grow the market” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/16).