04:01 PM - November 17, 2010 by MMChrisS
One more nugget from the Cowen and Company piece is that Madden sales are in fact down 18% year over year for the month of October:
If you recall, I predicted in a blog post back in late August ('Are Madden Sales Slipping?') that Madden sales would probably end up down even after initial reports showed the game's sales were up 12% back in August. But an 18% drop was far more than I ever expected, that's nearly a 1/5 cut in top-line revenue from one of EA's biggest franchises on a Y-o-Y basis. If the trend continues, Madden sales could end up down substantially with the all-important Winter Shopping Season approaching.
That's incredibly bad news.
There is a lot of speculation as to why sales have slowed so much so fast, but I believe the reasons are the same now as I initially thought back then: consumers aren't impressed with the direction of the Madden series with so many other options for them to partake in. The longevity of the game is definitely in question and the word of mouth factor seems to be non-existent this year.
This is easily a referendum on the direction of the direction of the series, especially if trends continue to hold through December. I initially thought there wouldn't be much panic from the suits at EA, but this was before the Elite Fiasco hit the world, so now you can never be too careful when trying to prognosticate what EA might do next.
No doubt the decision makers at EA know exactly about the slip in sales of the Madden franchise, which are slowing substantially moreso than previous years after being on store shelves. So whatever panic decisions/reshuffling you would expect have probably already been made in some regards, although some may not be made until the Christmas shopping season is over. There is definitely increasing pressure on the Madden team to perform, and if sales do come in flat to somewhat down there could be some changes to the gameplan going forward.
This is definitely not good news for gamers who have liked the direction of Madden for the past couple of years if this trend holds into the Christmas shopping season. Also just as alarming is Madden's shrinking sales to the hardcore gamers on the top platforms, with sales down between 30% and 40% depending on how you calculate game sales and from whom from it's high in the middle of the last decade.
This is an interesting story we'll continue to follow. In the meantime, do you think we'll see some big changes in the direction for Madden NFL 12?
[ Update ] It's not clear whether Cowen and Company's analyst was commenting on the entire sales volume from Aug-Oct or just in the Month of October. Either way, that would only slightly give the news a bit less negativity for EA -- but it'd still be very negative news. We'll keep on this story.
[ Update #2 ] After analyzing the data and receiving word from a few trusted analysts this is definitely a Monthly drop from last October of 18%. This means after Madden sales started out on a rush, they have plummeted as the product has stayed on store shelves. The real test will be the Christmas shopping season. Roughly 30% of Madden's sales come from Christmas-time sales. If sales are still down substantially in November and then December, things could get ugly for EA. As it is right now though, this is a sharp drop worth watching. Edited the original article to reflect these clarifications.