SBD/September 6, 2013/NFL Season Preview

EA Sports Sees Sharp First-Week Sales Decline For "Madden" Compared To '12

EA Sports late Thursday said it sold 1 million units of "Madden NFL 25" in its first week of retail release, down 39% from a comparable figure of 1.65 million units for "Madden NFL 13" last year and down 28% from 1.4 million units for "Madden NFL 12" two years ago. The decline arrives despite a high-profile promotional campaign conducted over the past six months designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the popular football video game. Both Sony and Microsoft are scheduled to release their next-generation gaming consoles in November, and some buyers may prefer to wait until then when "Madden NFL 25" will release on those platforms. Amazon and Game Stop both have introduced trade-in programs aimed at enticing consumers to buy "Madden NFL 25" now for the XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 and then exchange it in November for a next-generation version. But the sharp decline in initial "Madden" sales suggests those programs have not had as much success as hoped. The 1 million units sold for "Madden NFL 25" was still good enough to have the game rank as the top-selling video game in North American during August, regardless of genre. Meanwhile, Amazon execs called an exclusive $99 anniversary version of the game that includes a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket this season the best-selling sports game preorder in company history (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

THE MISSING LINK: The AP's Lou Kesten wrote "Madden NFL 25" represents the "culmination of a quarter-century of innovation, taking a victory lap before the franchise moves onto the next generation of higher-definition game machines." There is an "awful lot to do in 'Madden 25,' even if it's missing a certain something -- namely, John Madden." The current game announcers, CBS' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, "don't have his spark." Simms has "turned into the kind of traditionalist blowhard who will berate you for not punting on fourth down, even if you're six points down with less than a minute to play" (AP, 9/5).
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