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Riccitiello: Boom Blox sales have met our expectations

Despite initial sales data, EA's CEO says the game continues to sell well and may follow a flatter, longer casual curve

Responding to May videogame sales data, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that Boom Blox - the company's Wii game developed in collaboration with director Steven Spielberg - has met internal expectations.

GameDaily reported that Boom Blox had sold 60,000 units in the US - good enough to place the game at #25 on the all-formats sales chart and #9 on the Wii sales chart, but surprising considering generally decent review scores.

During a session with investors at the William Blair & Company's 28th Annual Growth Stock Conference, Riccitiello commented upon the difference between core franchises and more casual games such as Boom Blox.

"To be honest, I think everything in casual makes us all challenge our assumptions," he said.

"With a game like Madden, or a game like Bad Company, or any of the other core franchises, the standard in the game industry is to market sometimes for a year prior to release, sometimes - at the bare minimum - six months."

The result, he said, is to drive gamers to retail on day one such that 20 to 30 per cent of the lifetime sales of a game may result during the first week - much like the box office for films.

The casual marketplace is much different, with a "much flatter, much longer curve and one with which, frankly, EA has relatively little experience in," Riccitiello remarked.

"Right now, [Boom Blox] has met our expectations internally based on the model that was put forward by Kathy [Vrabeck] and her team. It has continued to sell well - it did break into the Top Ten for the Wii."

Riccitiello said that the ad-driven sales showed up during the last couple days of the month, which is why we didn't see a lot of it in the May NPD data. In any case, he wasn't ready to declare the game a disappointment just yet.

"A title like this one...Can it do several hundred thousand or a million or more units? Sure, it just has to keep selling."

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Mark Androvich