The Reason Madden 25 Sold 650k Units Less Than Madden 13

News Robert Bernstein 9/6/2013 at 3:11PM

Why hasn't this year's 'Madden 25' sold more than 'Madden 13', especially with the NFL fandom at an all time high? Let's take a look...

For the NFL's season debut last night between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens (you know, the one where Manning went ham all over your fantasy football team), NBC scored a whopping 23.190 million viewers, which was up nearly 1 million from last year's NFL season debut.  So, there's no denying that the NFL fandom is at an all time high. But, today, Electronic Arts' shares have dropped dramatically after the first week's NPD numbers for Madden 25 were revealed, as the game sold less than last year's Madden 13.

Last year, EA burned through 1.65 million copies of Madden 13 in the first week, but not this year. Madden 25 has only sold 1 million units, according to the company, which is quite a significant difference in sales dollars. So, you're probably left wondering what the hell happened, right?

There's a few factors in play here working against Madden 25 sales. First, and most importantly, let's not forget that there is still a next-gen version of the game to come out for the Xbox One and PS4. That, in itself, is likely the biggest reason for the loss in sales. Let's face it: video games are expensive, so players are going to choose just one version of the game, likely the next gen version which will be the better version to have. I have no doubt in my mind that Madden 25 for next gen will sell tremendously well, especially for the Xbox One because of the NFL hoopla surrounding the console.  

EA can be thankful that it isn't the review scores, though. Madden 25 is holding a generally positive review score on Metacritic, averaging at 80/100 critic rating, even despite the game's major flaws (such as injuries and interceptions). So, that's good news for EA.  

But, there is a second factor at play here at EA should be concerned about: gamer's fatigue--more specifically, sports gamer's fatigue. Gamers are beginning to grow weary of EA (and 2K Sports) spitting out yearly game iterations of their favorite sport without much of a change in the actual game, aside from roster moves. I know more than a few formerly hardcore Madden players that are still refusing to buy Madden 25 simply due to the fact that they still have Madden 13, and not much has changed aside from the rosters. It'd be hard to imagine an August without a new Madden, but maybe it is time for EA to take a 4th quarter timeout and take more time with the next one to see what new additions they can come up with when there is actually time to do so.

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I was really excited for this Madden because they touted it as the legends game iteration. I was expecting to put together an all-time team and wreak havoc. I've played for about 10 hours now, and about the only thing I understand about the legends in the game, is that they can be on your madden ultimate team. Sorry. I didn't buy this game to play offline in ultimate team mode. I wanted a deep franchise mode and the ability to play online with awesome teams against other awesome teams.

Nope, Madden 25 isn't selling because it's the same old crap. Give us something new, a better superstar mode, get us a more realistic franchise mode. Connected careers is too much geared towards online players. I want to see game modes like ps2 madden 2009. Seriously, buying the new madden has become a $60 roster update. Nothing new, nothing ever fixed. Please.

They need to switch to a three year development cycle on their sports titles, and charge a small yearly fee for roster updates (and hopefully continue to patch the games as well.) I love NHL but I'll be damned if I'm going to pump money into EA every year. I did that on the SEGA Genesis, every game I owned was EA, I even bought James Pond! They don't appreciate their customer base, and the multiplayer on their sports titles is more focused on sucking money out of you than it is on fun. I only buy EA sports titles for the single player and they haven't done much at all to step that game up.

I'd really like to see 2K Sports come back with an NHL game and do what they did with NBA2K12 so we can play the '72 Bruins, the 80s Oilers and Islanders and the 94 Rangers, etc. I'm a bargain basement gamer these days, I won't pay more than $30 for a game and I don't need the latest and greatest (okay $40 if its MP and my friends want me to get it) but I would pay $100 for an NHL game like NBA12K...

thanks for the comment. You make some great points. A 3 yr cycle would be agreeable with me too

i do like the new options in movement ie the specific jukes, jumps and trucks. as wells as the ability to put a hand down and balance like real barry sanders would. passing and d are basically the same although on d you get more options to audible.

I agree, but EA will never do this. As long as people still shell out $60 for basically the same game as last year and they sell over a million copies, why would EA not want that money?

I downloaded the demo, have played a few games now. I find the mechanics for running and passing are better than Madden 13. As the RB, the jukes and stiff- arms feel more natural and more effective. The physics engine is a big improvement. Different collisions actually result in different animations now.
The passing game has a better feel to it as well. I like being able to throw "touch" passes by leading my receivers, or being able to throw a low ball or high ball to avoid the CB's. Again, better feel than Madden 13, where your only options as QB was to lob it or rifle it. Nice to be able to put the ball on the left or right shoulder, high or low, etc.
But really, the graphics aren't much better, the presentation, though different, isn't much better, and playing defense still feels like a crap shoot. In fact, that's my biggest gripe with all the Madden releases. Playing D has no touch to it. Not nearly enough control as the CB. Feels like you're always just shadowing your receiver and hoping to swat the ball away at the last second. No reading the QB, or jumping the WR's route, or angling him off to where he can no longer get at the ball. Lots of room for improvement on D.

You're right, I'm curious to see someone run the numbers though. You wouldn't need a full staff working on the game, 2-3 house engineers to tackle bugs and game breaking glitches, and one guy updating the player database. If they charged $20 per game, per year for a season pass to gain access to these updates... I'm wondering if in the end they would actually be making more money.

I only bought it for the Sunday Ticket package since it was cheaper than just getting it by itself. The problem with Madden 25 is that it's the SAME game was Madden 13. Playing it, it feels the exact same. I honestly have no idea what is different or better. The Franchise mode is awful, they killed thing I really bought it for last year. I have no intentions of buying future versions unless they're willing to package things like Sunday Ticket -- honestly they broke the parts of the game I enjoyed with 13. Madden 13 was such a letdown people aren't buying the same game this year.

I have my PS4 version of Madden 25 Pre-Ordered, but it'll sit in the box until the reviews make it clear that's it looks and plays great. I need something to show off the system and play with friends and sports titles are just about the last sole existence of local multiplayer left.

As a player of Madden who is only really interested in the Ultimate Team game play, I am VERY disappointed in 25. As of last year, it became very apparent that all EA cares about is trying to soak it's customers of every dime they have. The packs contain less cards, bundles can only be purchased with real dollars, and coin rewards (and the opportunity to actually win any via solo challenges) have been significantly reduced.
I can only assume that many MUT players saw the writing on the wall last year and decided to skip this season's EA money-grab.
Truth is, I only bought it to get the DirecTV Sunday Ticket Package.

As someone who has (at times foolishly) bought every edition of Madden for well over a decade, I can tell you that game-play wise Madden 25 is much more different from 13 than 11 was from 12 or 12 from 13. The reason? The option game is ridiculously deep, something Madden has resisted for years. The updated physics engine is a huge improvement as well. Madden 25 might not be amazing, but it certainly isn't just the same game as last year's.

Maybe the sold less units because they suck at making madden games, people know they suck at making them, they half ass the games, and the charge 60 bucks for a game that has 1-4 new improvements with a different roster.