While the latest title in the Madden NFL franchise has sold more than 1 million units in its first week on sale at retail, the early numbers also indicate that it isn't doing as well as the 2012 edition of the game.
Of course digital sales are likely not being factored into that number. Still, last year's Madden sold 1.65 million units in the comparable launch period, more than Madden NFL 25 managed to move at retail last week. Analyst Colin Sebastian at Baird Equity Research says that the softer numbers are indicative of a "transition year," where old console software is being affected by anticipation by consumers of a whole new generation of systems. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 will launch in November.
"While EA’s F2Q financial guidance already contemplated declining unit sales of Madden, we note that lower reorder volume of Madden through September may limit upside potential to consensus estimates, and serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenging console transition year," wrote Sebastian in a research report this week. "Nonetheless, several factors helping to offset the lower unit sales include a higher ASP (e.g., $100 anniversary edition selling on Amazon.com), strong digital sales (record Ultimate Team revenues), and likely some delays in retail purchases due to the upcoming hardware refresh. In addition, the start of the NFL season this week should help to drive interest and retail sell-through."
Sebastian goes on to say that the firm expects "soft sell-through trends" for all but the most popular video game franchises. The games he believes will not be affected by this trend are GTA V and EA’s next Battlefield game.