August Sales In-Depth

August Sales In-Depth

Contents of analysis

Page 1: Madden sales (current page)
Page 2: Pressure’s on PS3 price tag
Page 3: Software top 10
Page 4: A cooling market?

According to the latest NPD Group figures, August 2008 sales were up a modest 9 percent year-on-year, well below the 32 percent growth for the year so far. Madden NFL 09 from EA Sports accounted for nearly 25 percent of the month’s software revenue while the Nintendo DS and Wii led the industry in hardware sales.

Madden HD Sales Up, Wii Fumbles

August is the month of Madden in the videogame industry and 2008 has been no exception. For Electronic Arts, the publisher, the news is almost uniformly good:

  • Madden NFL 09 generated $135.5 million in August according to internal EA data, an increase of 6 percent from last year. The NPD Group’s data on Madden sales appears to confirm this figure.
  • According to Anita Frazier, an analyst for the NPD Group, unit sales for Madden were up 2 percent from last year, with a total of 2.3 million units sold across all platforms.
  • Based on these figures, it would appear that consumers paid around $2 more per copy of Madden NFL 09 than they did for Madden NFL 08.

That last point is an important one for EA, as they no doubt wish to move any Xbox and PlayStation 2 owners off of the older systems and onto the successor systems which generate higher revenue. Fortunately, these are the systems which experienced the most growth in 2008.

Unit sales on the Xbox 360 were up 11.5 percent from the same time in 2007, while unit sales were up 91 percent on the PlayStation 3. Quite interestingly, unit sales were essentially flat for the Wii version of Madden.

As a vast number of users upgrade from the PlayStation 2, it appears that many of them are moving to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In fact, as happened last month with NCAA Football 09, the PS3 is taking over where the PS2 left off. Last year’s Madden for the PS2 sold 643,000 copies in the first month while this year’s Madden for the PS3 sold almost precisely the same number, 643,000 copies.

The sales of the Wii version are unusual, to say the least: one of the industry’s biggest games on the best-selling platform saw zero-percent growth year-on-year. Only one in 100 Nintendo Wii owners purchased Madden this year, compared to one in 10 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. When viewed through the prism of revenue, the Wii version is even less important as a result of its lower retail price, as the following graph demonstrates.

EA Sports does not appear to have scored with the casual-friendly changes in the Wii versions of its key football franchises, at least in the first month.