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EA: Madden NFL 10 sales "discouraging"

John Riccitiello reveals disappointment over early sales

In an internal email sent to Electronic Arts staff, company CEO John Riccitiello has revealed his disappointment over early Madden NFL 10 sales, but he still believes that EA is on track to achieve success this fall and holiday season.

"This week, market research for August will show that year-over-year, the industry was down in North America - and that August sales of Madden NFL 10 are down with that trend. It is discouraging that one of our highest-rated and best-marketed Madden titles in years is facing strong headwinds," Riccitiello said in a memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

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Madden NFL 10 sold close to two million copies in the US during August and took three of the top ten places on the monthly software chart, and Riccitiello praised his staff for the game's quality and marketing, which he said reflected "outstanding teamwork and deep commitment to excellence."

And despite the wider industry's continued downturn, he's still positive about EA's prospects over the coming months, largely thanks to the improved quality rating of the company's product line-up.

"What underpins most everything is the dramatic improvement in our product quality. Back in 2006, we set quality as a top priority and we have increased our average every year since then. Already this year, EA has produced 11 titles with an 80+ Metacritic average."

The titles Riccitiello was referring to were Madden NFL 10, Fight Night Round 4, EA Sports Active, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, NCAA Football 10, Boom Blox Bash Party, The Sims 3, Battlefield 1943, Skate 2, Henry Hatsworth In The Puzzling Adventure and The Beatles: Rock Band.

EA's upcoming line-up of games includes NHL 10, FIFA 10, Need For Speed Shift, Dead Space Extraction, and from EA Partners, Brutal Legend and Left 4 Dead 2.

Riccitiello also said he expects recent console price cuts from Sony and Microsoft to drive EA's software sales. "Our early read on the market is that consumers are responding and console sales are up significantly, particularly for the Sony platform where EA has historically performed well. This is encouraging, as greater hardware sales have historically translated to stronger software sales. We're hopeful that the Madden sales trend will strengthen as more consumers go to retail to pick up their lower-priced consoles.

"Trend lines for the industry present a challenge, but our strategy and execution give me confidence. From here, our focus is on four priorities: great product launches, succeeding on the Nintendo Wii, continued expansion of our direct-to-consumer business, and cost control. In any economy, this is the path to success."

Article supplied by Edge-Online