Madden sales 'discouraging,' says EA CEO

John Riccitiello laments annual football sim's slower-than-last-year opening, despite 1.9-million-unit start; Wii version of Madden NFL 10 sells only 67,000 units, less than half the previous year's total.

Today, the NPD Group released its US retail sales figures for August, reporting a sixth straight month of year-over-year sales declines. Software sales slipped to $470 million, down 15 percent from last year, with EA's Madden NFL 10 on the Xbox 360 topping the chart with 928,000 units sold. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, Madden 10 sold nearly 1.9 million units total during the month, a figure that also includes the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, and Wii editions.

Even on an off day, Madden still performs.

Despite that respectable showing, Madden's sales were well off the mark they set in 2008. According to NPD's August 2008 figures, Madden 09 on the Xbox 360 sold 1 million units, some 75,000 more than this year. PS3-edition sales slipped by about 22,000 units, falling from 665,000 to 643,000. Madden on the PS2 saw a substantial drop, going from 424,500 units in August 2008 to just 162,000 units last month.

Notably, neither the Wii nor the PSP editions of Madden 10 cracked NPD's monthly chart. With the Wii edition of Madden 09 debuting with 115,800 units last year, the 2009 edition sold just 66,600 units on the month. The PSP installment fared worse, shifting just 44,600 units, according to the NPD Group.

Though nearly 2 million units sold in two weeks is hardly worth scoffing at, EA CEO John Riccitiello still expressed disappointment in Madden 10's opening drive. As part of an internal memo obtained by financial news service Bloomberg, Riccitiello acknowledged Madden's sliding sales, saying they slipped along with the overall industry trend.

"It is discouraging that one of our highest-rated and best-marketed Madden titles in years is facing strong headwinds," he said, before noting that the overall retail climate "presents a challenge."

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398 comments
svdbygrce02
svdbygrce02

Madden 12 is no different. EA should be fired

Phased_Endo
Phased_Endo

Maybe it's because people are starting to realize they are buying the same game every year with roster updates and some "new" gang tackle feature. Bring back 2K please.

Czech895
Czech895

@superkoolstud So true So true...

xxscammersxx
xxscammersxx

@superkoolstud Took the words right out of my mouth.

superkoolstud
superkoolstud

Madden is garbage that is why. Make a better game next year or the same thing will happen.

condelirios
condelirios

Also... Anyone else sick to death of the Steelers in the new version? I hate playing them and everyone seems to select them online. Every year, Madden makes one team nearly unbeatable. This year it is the Steelers. Willie Parker is just not that good, or that fast. The DBs on the Steelers are so fast they are like jump cuts... it is like the quick draw scene in the movie Blazing Saddles. UPDATES. Now!

condelirios
condelirios

I just want to say that I bought Madden 08 for the Wii. It had a control scheme that was completely broken and next to unplayable. The Wii was my only console in the current gen at the time... after playing that season on Madden 07 on the PS2 since I didn't want to buy a second copy of 08... in August 09, I bought a PS3 because of the Madden 09 release. No one after playing the 08 version, and I have since played the 09 and 10 versions on the wii at friend's houses, would buy it. The Wii version of this game is just completely AWFUL. Top 10 worst ports ever. I am shocked that they sold 67000 copies, because if you like to play Madden...the wii is not the place. That said, Madden 10 is pretty good. Although a bit glitchy. They REALLY need to put out some service pack downloads. It freezes the PS 3 every once in a while when leaving the online mode, it also has some really annoying cutscenes that are so 1995.

dchase2k8
dchase2k8

I don't know why there isn't more "backlash" from sites like IGN, Operation Sports, Gamespot, etc. on EAs cash-cow football monopoly.. It's like an army of sports gamers in rage/frustration over this EA/NFL monopoly, and none of these sites wants to represent their audience/fellow gamers, and put this terrible game on blast. EA is an industry parasite. Will one of these journalists/major media outlets get our backs and put EA on blast?

Ameotoko
Ameotoko

People still buy these games? I'd only be interested if you could buy updated rosters and whatnot for the game every year for a substantially lower price. Not sure how viable that actually is, but it's the only way I'd throw money at it. Maybe EA needs to realize that minor tweaks every year might not sell as well anymore.

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

To me, it's worth more getting it from Gamefly and just playing the crap out of it until I get sick of it, then I can return it anytime and wait for next year. And if the wait is too long, I can always get it back from Gamefly again, play the crap out of it, etc. Is there a service out on the internet that will just take NFL 2k5 rosters, update them for 2010, create new players/teams, etc., and sell the game save? i would rather play that. I'd keep my old xbox around just to play that.

GangaWolf
GangaWolf

Agree with many of the posters. Maybe EA will finally wake-up and stop charging full-price for what amounts to (usually) minor tweaks and roster updates. Occasionally they add a "new" feature, but it doesn't make it worth charging full-price.

digitalpro
digitalpro

Maybe Gamers are opening their eyes to see that paying full price for a updated games year after year is not a smart idea. I always buy the previous year version of madden when it like 10 bucks or less off Ebay or at Gamestop. To me it what it worth.

atrainvii
atrainvii

Madden is a great game but you need to do more than add a few minor tweeks to the same game every year and expect it to sell the same. I love Madden but haven't bought it since 07. Plus, they only seem to correct the games issues every three years. EA needs a new game plan.

kardon16
kardon16

EA sports games needs to stop being released every year

stain1ess
stain1ess

i played this last night and got owned by the steelers.... polamolu is a big haired monster

Serious
Serious

Without competition to push you to make bigger changes the fans are happy with last year's version or are waiting for a price cut via resell or greatest hits discount.

Cutler06
Cutler06

The running game, passing, and defensive tackles have all improved in this year's version. Worth a buy for any hard core Madden player. Last year's version is probably still good enough for the avid fan.

A_Hayes82
A_Hayes82

Madden 10 is the first football game I have bought in 8 years, but it is definitely the best I have ever played. That's counting Tecmo Bowl, NES Play Action Football, 10 yard fight, and whatever else you wanna throw out there. I don't understand the trashing of a game if you haven't even played it. Just dismissed as a few tweaks and a new feature.

metalzombey
metalzombey

why dont they offer an update every year instead of shipping a full priced game that hardly changed.

Bladescorpion
Bladescorpion

serves them right for putting out games on a yearly basis with nothing more than new rosters and 1 feature

wars45
wars45

the problam is thers no other game to match it .like football has got 2 games out pes and fifa within a few weeks of each other thats wot madden needs

Sydwynder
Sydwynder

I'm thinking that the majority of people who buy Madden year after year don't post on video game website forums........hey, that's just one guy talking.....

marpleman
marpleman

I just can't believe there are 1.9 million people idiotic enough to shell out $50 for this crap year after year, and what's more is the amount EA invest in it, especially since it only has one market

InZane4all
InZane4all

I think it's time for EA to offer two options every other year now. For example, for Madden 2011, EA should offer the full game and the option for owners of Madden 2010 to upgrade their game to 2011 (patches, new skins, etc). Makes more sense. When Madden 2012 comes out, owners of 2010 would not be able to upgrade and would have to purchase the whole game.

AkanniMD
AkanniMD

I understand all of your points about EA's monopoly and the fact that Madden trots out the same game with some minor tweaks here and there. BUT that is not the primary reason for game sales being slow this year. "It's the economy, stupid." Both hardware and software game sales have suffered in the past year because people are prioritizing where they put their money. It's hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on game systems and $60 for a game disc when you have other more pressing needs. I think it's good game sales have slowed, although 2 million copies in a week is still nothing to sneeze at. But I think it will take another year or two of slower sales to expect any major change in how EA does business or produces games. For those hoping for more competition (like from 2K sports), don't hold your breath. EA extended the exclusivity contract with the NFL until 2013.

MajorBrian
MajorBrian

Madden is boring thats why no one wants to buy it.

warriorsq
warriorsq

the original deal between EA and the NFL runs out sometime this year (it was a 5 year deal). Has there been another deal done so only EA can use NFL teams, players and stadiums yet?

Atari_7200
Atari_7200

@masterman280 Do you even know who makes these games? EA advertises there rehashed crap more times then any company in the world. EA advertises so much, that they could have a whole channel just full of commercials.

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

You dump the PC. Where the game was MADE. Madden is Dead!

Supreme4dmira1
Supreme4dmira1

Maybe if it was a full game they would see their full expectancy. Seriously, you have to buy online franchise mode? I was sold on the game when I heard about that but when I saw it had to be bought separately I jumped ship. Madden's fun, but definitely not worth $70 for a regular edition of the game.

badman11226
badman11226

We need competition people, we need 2k football back, competition makes developers think come up with ideas. Look at NBA live 10 look how NBA 2k is pushing NBA live this year. This Nba Live might be the best in the series. EA is selling us the same crap every year. I really hope that 2010 no cap season forces the NFLPA to drop the license from EA. EA has NFL license long enough No more.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Highest rated? I think Madden's score slips every year. Btw why do people keep buying this year over year?

MattVans
MattVans

About time people woke up and realised that doing a few teaks here and there does not justify £40 (or $60, etc). It's the same with the Fifa and Tiger Woods franchise, I think Fifa09 was the only big step up in years in that series and Tiger Woods a new putting system (that not every liked anyway) and they charge £40 for it. I hope Fifa10 flops and EA have to start bring proper sequels out that have been worked from the ground up and justify the price tag for once.

zombified
zombified

Bring back SUPER TECMO BOWL (with updated rosters) as DLC and then gamers can buy a football game worth playing!!!

Kfoss
Kfoss

id rather save my pennies for Modern Warfare 2...but that is just me..

Asemco
Asemco

So...What else New do you guys want for a Football sim?

Arab-man666
Arab-man666

Idiots who think it's worthy getting the same football game yearly keep Madden alive. I boycotted it. Perhaps if their sales dwindle some more, they'll make us a good game, on a new engine, as opposed to the year-in year out crap they feed us now. Madden should DIE and be born again.

mgcrider08
mgcrider08

Is Madden 2010 that much different than Madden '07? I think you should buy a sports franchise no more than every other year if you want to see any difference in the game. I think it's a stretch to say that the CEO "laments" the slow sales...the last time I checked, that meant deep sorrow. He'll be alright.

LeviHarris
LeviHarris

If everyone knows that the game is no good, as most of your are complaining about, how come it's still selling better than most of the games released? Someone's buying the damn thing. What I want to know is who?

tmacman
tmacman

Good, maybe they'll add more features....for once.

mgearhart_basic
mgearhart_basic

so sorry that EA isn't making their money. it isn't enough that the economy sucks right now and now we have to listen to some rich idiot complain that selling 2 million copies just isn't making him enough money. go to hell EA!!

Atari_7200
Atari_7200

I am disappointed in these sales. They should have been much, much lower.

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

well maby there football gamers are rethinking that buying your stupid game from EA every year is pointless because u guys use the same codes every year and treat it like a MMO. and change one little thing about the dang games and ppl only say cool for 10 mins. your stupid sports games EA is not a MMo get that in your head u can't add 5 lines of codes and say done we got are new self new update so lets call it 20??

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

thats what you get for re-hashing your sports games year after year after year.

spetz_naz_basic
spetz_naz_basic

I don't know what's going on with the other EA Sports franchises but with FIFA they've been making great improvements since 08, to the extent that it's taken over PES as the critics' darling. This year's iteration looks to be even better. It's a pity if they're not paying the same attention to Madden.

sonic0491
sonic0491

Suck it EA. Suck it long and suck it hard. I hope they do worse than this in the future. Yearly rehashed sport games. PAH.

YankeeDan345
YankeeDan345

OMG they release the same game every year and complain about not making enough money off it.

chronolzx
chronolzx

@Red122 word! Wait a minute, you sold 1.9 million copies and are still complaining? Greedy!

digitalgawd
digitalgawd

Its because Fifa Futbol is slowly starting to take over. American football is loosing momentum.