Rapid Online Discounting of Madden NFL 11 Raises Eyebrows

In a strange move, online retailers GameStop and Amazon have already instituted dramatic price reductions on Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 11, which has been out for barely over a week.

Michael Comeau, a columnist for Minyanville, noticed the price drops and dubbed the actions “worrisome” due to their timing—according to his recollection, while Amazon typically is a quick discounter, it didn’t adjust the price of last year’s Madden game until 20 days after release.

On Amazon, the 360 version of Madden NFL 11 is now $49.99, a $10 drop, while the Wii version had $3 knocked off to $46.99 and the PlayStation 2 entry received a $7 reduction to $32.99. The PlayStation 3 version is still full price ($59.99).

GameStop matched Amazon’s discounts on the 360, Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of Madden NFL 11 and went two better, knocking $10 off the PlayStation 3 game and $7 off the PSP version, which now sells for $32.99. (GameStop’s discounted prices are applicable online only, not in-store)

Comeau’s take on the discounting:

… if the price is being cut so soon, the marketplace is telling us that this critically acclaimed puppy is almost definitely moving less units than Madden 10, which again, didn’t do as well as Madden 09.

And even if we factor in the weak economy’s impact on video-game industry sales, one must remember that the installed base of gaming consoles has gotten dramatically bigger in recent years — Madden sales just haven’t kept up with that growth.

All this led Comeau to suggest selling EA stock (ERTS) if owned, as “It needs new blockbuster hits to augment its old guard, and that’s not even close to happening.”

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